SOMERSET LEVELS 431 – WALKING WESTON’S STREETS

 

 

Uncertain destination

(best viewed enlarged – click onto it)

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Weston-super-Mare, my home town, on the coast where the Somerset Levels run down into the Bristol Channel – the local, somewhat muddy, version of the sea.  Following a recent reunion with age-old friends there (here), I’ve been visiting Weston again, and walking streets echoing with things remembered – sometimes only half-remembered –  from over half a century ago.

Weston is a seaside town and, like seaside towns the UK over, it is experiencing something of an economic downturn – the era of the family seaside holiday in uncertain British weather is long past, due to cheap holidays in warmer and far more reliable, foreign climes.  So, there is to Weston something of the cheap and cheerful, a – to me, anyway – rather attractive tattiness at the edges, that makes walking here with a camera a pleasure – a definite feeling of not knowing what will appear next.  The Ghost of FATman Past perhaps?  Well, if he gives me half a chance, I’ll photograph him …

And so in Nov 2019 to pictures taken with an open mind – pictures which are, for better or for worse, in the main quite different from the preceding 400+ that I’ve posted of the Somerset Levels.  Some of them may be a little obscure / far out / radical / unexplained /  I don’t know… but I did mention photographing with an open mind, which means looking, on the spur of the moment, at anything and everything …    But, whatever, warts and all, I hope you’ll like (at least some of) these images.  (Click onto them to enlarge them)

A short history of Weston is here.

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Wet morning

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Cracked and weathered frontage – built of one of the honey-coloured limestones from the Cotswold area, like Bath Stone.  An older house, once genteel.

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OUTER SUBURBS 155 – LOOKING DOWN PAST TREES INTO A PARK (MONO)

 

 


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Trees, leading us downwards, towards light.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: TG-5 at 49mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the B&W 02 profile; south Bristol; 5 Nov 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 153 – THE PHOTOGRAPHER AT THE GATES OF DAWN

 

 


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Car park at sunrise.  On stage: my shadow and an empty bottle … well I mean, dahlings, just how apposite can one possibly get … ? ….. 😉 ….

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 1000 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 5 Sept 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 151 – EARLY MORNING 27

 

 


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Early morning sunshine – and looking down while negotiating obstacles placed along a footpath to prevent four-wheeled motor vehicles entering a public open space.

Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban settings, and from Kenya too – are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 .

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 640 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 23 Jan 2019.
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BIRDS 117 – EGRETS ON THE SOMERSET LEVELS (MONO)

 

 


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Great White (the two larger birds towards the left) and Little Egrets, feeding in the mud and water of old peat workings on Westhay Moor, on the Somerset Levels.  (For info: egrets are in the heron family)

Climate change?  I started birding, not too far from where these pictures were taken, in 1967.  And, as a friend from those far off birding days says, if we had submitted records of such a gathering to the Somerset Ornithological Society in those days, we would have been treated with total derision, with doubts about our honesty / mental health probably being thrown in too.  In 1971, anxious to see a Little Egret, my first in the UK, I had to travel all the way to the far west of Pembrokeshire, in Wales, for the treat.  And the Great White Egret has changed its status from being a rarity in the UK late in the last century, to being quite common now.

So, is this climate change?  I don’t know, is the simple answer; although, equally simply, I do believe that climate change is taking place.  But, from my mapping of the ranges of Kenya’s bird species, I know that factors other than climate change can influence bird distribution.  What is certain though, as my old birding friend said on seeing these pictures, is that this is not the Somerset that we used to know, 50+ years ago.

And of course, although we are seeing dramatically increased number of these egrets, numbers of many, many other UK bird species have fallen dramatically over these 50+ years: climate change may have had an effect here, but intensive farming practices are probably a bigger culprit at the moment.

Other recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 .

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 12,800 ISO; jpegs produced by in-camera processing of raw files, using the Graphite profile; no further processing; Westhay Moor, on the Somerset Levels northwest of Glastonbury; 25 Oct 2019.

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OUTER SUBURBS 149 – SUNRISE, WITH WOODEN FENCE AND THE SHADOWS OF BRAMBLES

 

 


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Walking down a narrow lane in a housing estate, the newly risen sun blazing behind me, and on my right a new wooden fence, caught in the fierce glare and dappled with the shadows of brambles.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 53mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Natural profile; south Bristol; 2 Oct 2019.

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OUTER SUBURBS 148 – EARLY MORNING 26

 

 


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Autumn sets in, the year ages, and early mornings are often a visually enchanting world of soft light and deep shadow.

Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban settings, and from Kenya too – are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 .

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

Technique: TG-5 at 38mm (equiv) >>> and even working at 6400 ISO, the shutter speed was still only 1/20th second;  Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait profile; south Bristol; 24 Oct 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 143 – PARKING FOR CARS (MONO)

 

 


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Parking along a main street.  This is not a wealthy area of the city: note the pawn brokers’ signs – the suspended metallic orbs – above the pavement on the left.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the B&W Blue Filter profile; south Bristol; 29 Jan 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 141 – EARLY MORNING 23

 

 


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Due to my carelessness, this picture is most probably not sharp.  Thinking of other things (Full English Breakfasts … probably …) I loosed off at 1/13th second when using a 100mm equivalent telephoto >>> and later could only hope that the camera image stabilisation would make it all right.  Anyway, whether said stabilisation has done the job or not, this is my only shot of the scene and here it is!

So >>> walking beside a blaring main road and glancing eastwards, I liked the contrasts between the first faint pinks of the sunrise and the various colours of the house lights.  The Outer Suburbs were awake and preparing to take on whatever the day might throw at them!

Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban settings, and from Kenya too – are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 .

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait profile; south Bristol; 3 Oct 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 140 – MODERN HOUSING 10 (MONO)

 

 


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Sunrise glances across a trim front garden in the outer suburbs.  The baby bushes, all in a row, are lit by its welcome radiance. 

And there is a little fence too which, while hopefully not bereft of any hint of the ornamental, is basically the symbolic barrier between two privately owned residences.  The fence casts a long shadow, as well it might in this materialistic world.

There are earlier Modern Housing posts here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 49mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the B&W 03 profile; south Bristol; 18 Sept 2019.

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