SOMERSET LEVELS 381 – WET MORNING

 

 

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Pulled over by the side of a single track lane, as rain empties from grey overcast at 6.44am.  And vastly appreciating the luxury of engaging in such early morning photography via a car.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Velvia/Vivid profile; Long Drove on Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels south of Wells; 19 July 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 377 – ANIMAL 5

 

 


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Click onto the image above to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Farm cat beside the road at Redlake Farm, on Queen’s Sedge Moor – see this link for the first image in this series, and much context; there are other images from this series here 2 3 4 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral V2 profile; Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 376 – ENTRANCE TO A FIELD OF RECENTLY CUT GRASS

 

 


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This picture is best viewed enlarged, there’s a lot to see – click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

I’m standing on the tiny, grassy bridge across a water-filled ditch – known locally as a rhyne – which allows access of man, beast and machine to the large, open field of recently cut grass to the left.  A period of dry weather is forecast and, almost to a man, everywhere, the farmers have been out cutting their grass.

The actual metal gate to the field is open and out of shot to the left, and such short sections of wooden fencing as the one here are erected on either side of gates everywhere in this flat landscape, to prevent animals trying to squeeze around the gates from either falling into the rhynes, or gaining access to the tiny bridges and actually escaping.

The dead straight rhyne makes off eastwards across the relatively recent landscape of Queen’s Sedge Moor, and just visible up to its right is the tarmac surface of the single track Long Drove, which accompanies the rhyne across this flatland.

In all of this wonderful flatness, two areas of higher ground can just be seen.  Look along the line of the rhyne, and there is a bluish escarpment – the uplands of Launcherly Hill and Worminster Down – and over beyond there, further to the right, well that’s where the Glastonbury Festival is held.  I have never been to the festival (tho watching lots of it on TV) but, quite simply, I think it an absolutely wonderful event, something of a shining light in an often dull world, and I can only hope that it will continue for many, many years to come.

Look over to the left and you will see a long line of more distant high ground topped by a towering TV mast – these are the Mendip Hills, the northern limit of the Levels in this area, and an important part of my early life.

And, as has happened to me many times before when viewing such pictures, the large upstanding tree near the rhyne’s vanishing point resembles nothing more than an exploding artillery shell.  Why I should receive this impression, I cannot imagine.  I’m not sure I believe in the possibility of having lived earlier lives than this one but – who knows?

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 27mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Astia/Soft profile; Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 5 July 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 375 – EARLY MORNING CLOUD

 

 


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A cool and quiet, early morning on Queen’s Sedge Moor: only the sounds of birds, the light breeze, and far off cows. 

And up above, off to the east, soft, slowly drifting clouds.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid v2 profile; Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 5 July 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 371 – LOOKING INTO THE DISTANCE

 

 


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The view into the distance, into another world perhaps.  I say this because, years ago, when I was braver, more reckless and probably more romantic than I am now, I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in very wild places, in Arabia and in Kenya, and to some extent high up in the Western Alps too.  And I remember being totally drawn and excited by the dim twinkling of far off lights seen through the blues of dawn and dusk – both from the ground and from aircraft.  I felt I was looking into another world, seeing something almost magical, with feelings both of excitement and awe.

But of course, in walking, motoring or flying to those twinkling lights, reality reasserted itself, the magical became mundane – and it was only when I looked back behind me, back towards where I had been, that I could see the magic once more … ha! >>> such is life >>> such is the reality of things!

But, even now, all these years later, and when I can infuse enough blood into my alcohol stream, looking deeply into far off blues – the vast calm indigos of John Fowles – still gets to me.  A little bit of the magic is still there, and I am most grateful for that.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Landscape v2 profile; looking east from Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 5 July 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 370 – EARLY MORNING, LOOKING EAST

 

 


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The world above Queen’s Sedge Moor, early in the day.

This image is best viewed enlarged – click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Velvia/Vivid profile; Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 5 July 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 363 – ANIMAL 4

 

 


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Click onto the image above to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – strongly recommended.

Beside the road at Redlake Farm, on Queen’s Sedge Moor – see this link for an earlier image in this series, and much context; there are other images from this little series here 2 3 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral V2 profile; Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 361 – QUEEN’S SEDGE MOOR, MORNING LIGHT 2

 

 


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Driving on the eastern reaches of Queen’s Sedge Moor, heading for the little hamlet of Barrow; and, suddenly, the road overshadowed by a giant – an oak I think – backlit from the east.

And so to standing back as far as the narrow lane permitted, looking up through a very wide angle lens; and to overexposing the scene – avoiding a pure silhouette – to retain some colour in the tree’s leaves and some detail in its trunk, while letting the rising sun’s glare burn out much of the backdrop.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels south of Wells; 24 May 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 359 – LONG DROVE, QUEEN’S SEDGE MOOR (MONO)

 

 


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On Queen’s Sedge Moor, an area of the Levels to the south of the tiny city of Wells, Long Drove makes off towards the sunrise.  This is a single track road with a tarmac surface: there are narrow  raised verges on either side, and beyond them (and unseen here) narrow, water-filled ditches known as rhynes (rhymes with scenes).

The Somerset Levels are a landscape that I love: they are a tremendous source of peace in this time poor, increasingly frenetic age – you won’t see too much multitasking down here! – and they are a place to feel close to Nature, the Natural World – and hence my dalliance with a Sedge Warbler that I wrote about recently.

But, as this long, dead straight road shows, this is not actually a very old landscape, nor is it a natural one: it is land that has been reclaimed relatively recently – within the last 400 years at most I would guess – from the lakes and marshes that formerly covered the area.  And in new landscapes, and especially flat ones, the quickest route between two points is a straight line.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further.

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Orange preset and adding a split tone; Long Drove, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels south of Wells; 26 Apr 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 352 – ANIMAL 3

 

 


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Click onto the image above to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – strongly recommended.

Beside the road at Redlake Farm, on Queen’s Sedge Moor – see this link for an earlier image in this series, and much context; there is another image from this series here 2 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 292mm; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 picture control; Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.

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