SOMERSET LEVELS 354 – AT ROSE FARM, LOOKING EAST 3 (MONO)

 

 


.

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.

The view out across a misty landscape, early in the day.

Silver Efex Pro 2, which I always wholeheartedly recommend for black and white processing, gives the resulting image its take on the look of a Tin Type photograph.

There are earlier shots in this series here: 1 2 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 116mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid v2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Tin Type preset; at Rose Farm, on the Somerset Levels south of Tarnock; 3 May 2019.
.
.
.

SOMERSET LEVELS 351 – QUEEN’S SEDGE MOOR, MORNING LIGHT (MONO)

 

 


.
Morning light on Queen’s Sedge Moor, with the higher, more thickly wooded ground around Launcherley rising in the background.

This picture, well, this picture …  It was a beautiful place on a fine morning and it reminds me of being there, but I just don’t have any deep feelings about it.  To me its getting over a little bit too much towards the picturesque – it could be a postcard.

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 used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Centre Focus preset and adding a split tone; Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.
.
.
.

SOMERSET LEVELS 342 – AT ROSE FARM, LOOKING EAST 2 (MONO)

 

 

.

Mist and spring lambs, early in the day, across the road from Rose Farm.

There is another image from Rose Farm here: 1 .

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 at 300mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset, and adding a split tone; at Rose Farm, on the Somerset Levels south of Tarnock; 3 May 2019.
.
.
.

SOMERSET LEVELS 341 – AT ROSE FARM, LOOKING EAST (MONO)

 

 


.
The days lengthen as spring moves towards summer – the longest day of the year is not that far away – and so to leaving home even earlier than usual for the drives down to the Levels.  I’ve always promised myself I’ll do these even earlier starts – and so to it!  The benefits?  Well, more early morning light, being out more in the (for me) best part of the day – and, more prosaically, (even) less traffic on the roads.  And then afterwards – my version of après ski – returning home totally shattered, and having absolutely no option other than to subside gratefully with several, absolutely delicious, Belgian golden beers – Duvel and Duvel Citra are the names on the bottles, my friends, and long may they blossom and gladden the heart!

And rather than always visiting the Tealham and Tadham Moors as I have done in the past, I’m exploring more on the Levels now, and using a variety of ways into these calm, damp flatlands.  Today’s route went straight down the main A38 road from Bristol, over a low gap in the Mendip Hills, and thence to a turn off to the south, in the little hamlet of Tarnock.

And almost as soon as I’d turned off the main road, low, backlit banks of mist started appearing to my left – I put my foot down, and the car shot towards them.  And so to abandoning the car in the gateway of a field beside Rose Farm and, leaping out with the camera, looking to the east.  There were sheep and lambs in the field beside the road, and the silhouettes of fences and farm implements further away – and behind them a landscape dissolving off into layers of ever increasing invisibility.

Click onto the 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; 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid V2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset; at Rose Farm, on the Somerset Levels south of Tarnock; 3 May 2019.
.
.
.

STANTON DREW 44 – VILLAGE LIFE 11

 

 


.

This is a tiny piece of England and, to me, this is simply wonderful.  We are here in Stanton Drew, beside a large and important Stone Age monument – and these are the only entry formalities!  This is what more of Life should be like!!!

The farmer has attached this box to the gate that takes us into the fields where the prehistoric stones stand, and there is a little hole in the top to receive the one pound entry charge – most people probably pay with a pound coin, a coin that is a little over two centimetres in diameter and which neatly fits through that hole.  There is a little keyhole so that the farmer can collect his pounds.  And that’s more or less it!

In a container on the gate there used to be some single page, printed leaflets that very briefly described the prehistoric site, but there were none there on my latest visit.  And a little further on there is a small, green Ministry of Works sign, informing anyone who damages or defaces these standing stones that the full weight of English Law will descend upon them – the penalties may not quite be on a par with those imposed for setting fire to Her Majesty’s dockyards, but they’ll still be pretty damned unpleasant …

After which you pass through gates which prevent livestock getting out of the fields – and you’re in the fields, and the stones stand, lean and lie wonderfully before you.
.

.

Part of one of the stone circles, with a farm, cattle and sheep up on the hill behind – click onto the image to better see these.

An introduction to this Village Life series can be found here: 1 Further images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .    Each will open in a new window.

Click onto each image to open another version in separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens; Lightroom; Stanton Drew; 6 Nov 2017.
.
.
.

PEOPLE 294 – FARMER (MONO)

 

 


.

Farmer and his sheep, northeast of West Littleton, South Gloucestershire.

Other images from the West Littleton area – the Outlands images – are here: 12, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 89,  1011, 12, 13, 14,  15, 16, 17 Each will open in its own window.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art Process preset; 12 Apr 2017.
.
.
.

OUTLANDS 11 – ANOTHER VISIT TO THE OUTLANDS

 

 

The low valley opening out on my left

(click onto each image to open larger versions in separate windows – and click again to further enlarge each image – recommended)

Last December, I tore myself away from my usual haunts and visited somewhere new, not far northeast of Bristol – and started a new category on this blog – Outlands – for places I’d never visited before.  The rationale and context of that day out can be found here, and some of the resulting images are here: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 89 and 10.

On 12 April, I visited this area once more.  It was an early start, because of Bristol’s traffic and, more so, because the area I was headed for lies beside one of the main arteries between the city and the hurtling, London-bound,  M4 motorway.  It was really a case of leaving early and getting there in reasonable traffic conditions – and then diving down tiny country lanes before the main rush hour got itself into mechanised mayhem.  Anyway I did it, disappeared down a rabbit hole as it were, and left my car beside the common around which cluster the houses of West Littleton, a little Cotswold village.  Then, aiming for somewhere I hadn’t yet explored, there was a long walk up a byway, a kind of unmade, public track that is certainly ok for smaller vehicles.  Along this track, a shallow valley opened up on my left, I took some photographs, and met two people – a farmer and a jogger. And after the walk out, there was the long walk back again, into the teeth of a gusting northwesterly and then, feeling like some self-indulgent reward after all this slog – I was tempted by a wonderful hot English breakfast delivered by a flustered waitress of the old school, after which, a little later, the day ran on into being tempted by some wonderful Belgian beer – all of which did my waistline not the slightest bit of good at all!  But, who cares?  It was all most enjoyable.

.

(certainly an image to click onto and enlarge) 

Down in the valley, there was a farmer on a quad bike, who was out early, looking for lambs that had been born in the night.  He was towing a trailer with two of these lambs and their mothers, who were being taken back to the farm for further care.  He drove up the slope towards me, and we chatted.  Its usually good talking with farmers, usually interesting – and this one had worked down on the Somerset Levels, where he’d found it hard to understand what the locals were saying – haha, wonderful, I can just imagine that!

.

.

And then, although the quad bike was modern, the even more modern of this world appeared –  the jogger, pounding along the byway between the Cotswold dry stone walls that are such a feature of this landscape.  And oil seed rape, blazing yellow in the background.

.

.

And so to the grub, which was not at all bad after a long, chilly walk.  The sausages (which can often be the blander than bland Achilles Heel of breakfasts) were good as was the bacon, and there was a good wedge of tasty Cheddar cheese too.  The tomato sauce was a bit dayglo but then I like colour, but the plate was a little on the cool side – hot food needs a hot plate!  A pot of Assam tea, sans teabags!, was good.

So, two final thoughts.  First, West Littleton is set in this little area of unprettified, working countryside, which is about two miles square, four square miles.  It is bounded on all sides by fast, direct roads, so that, it seems, only locals use the narrower and more wandering country lanes within the square.  Thus there is little traffic on these little roads, which with me is a decided plus, as is the fact that the little lanes have plenty of places where a small car can be pulled off to the side.  So that I may visit and photograph this “little bit of England” some more.

But I shy away from photographing the picturesque and, in many of their parts, the Cotswold Hills are decidedly picturesque – what to do?  Go with the flow???  Just picture “beautiful” (and simple) England?  Probably.  And I have a feeling there might be a lot of black and white images.

Technique: this was my first trial with both the X-T1 and X-T2 cameras, each with its own lens – the telezoom on the X-T2 and the wide angle zoom on the X-T1, so that there was no need to change lenses.  Walking around with two cameras around my neck didn’t really feel right, and (as usual) the telezoom captured the vast majority of the images – its simply how I “see” things.  But the X-T1 and its zoom is light, and carrying it in my rucksack worked well – wide angle shots don’t usually move around too quickly, so there was time to get it out and into action!  And processing?  Well, as is usual now, Lightroom – and Silver Efex Pro 2 for the black and white of course.

.

.

.

OUTLANDS 9 – BESIDE THE ROAD IN WEST LITTLETON 4

 

 

beside-the-road-in-west-littleton-4
.

This picture is best viewed enlarged.  When in my blog, click onto this image to open a larger version in a separate window.  In my browser, clicking again on the image once I’ve opened it enlarges it further.

One of a small flock of sheep grazing beside the road in the village of West Littleton, South Gloucestershire; 7 Dec 2016.

This is a type of composition that I’ve used before with larger animals.  Making very quiet noises made the sheep curious, and as they came in closer to get a better look at me I was able to (virtually) fill the frame using a telephoto.  The animal’s face occupies the right of the frame, with its more softly focused flank constituting most of the backdrop.  I wanted to keep the little hairs sticking up from the top of its head and so was forced to include the negative space above its back, which I’ve slightly darkened to remove any hint of distraction.

There is another photo of one of these animals here.

The context for these Outlands photos can be found here, and other images from West Littleton are here and here.

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO.
.
.
.

OUTLANDS 4 – BESIDE THE ROAD IN WEST LITTLETON

 

 

beside-the-road-in-west-littleton
.
Later on the same day (see context here),  I drove southwards into South Gloucestershire, and a side road – Rushmead Lane –  led me down into the little village of West Littleton.  Opposite Home Farm, several sheep were grazing on a little roped-off area of grass beside the road.  They looked at me, I looked at them.  And then I made very soft clicking and whispering noises and, their curiosity aroused, they came for a closer look.

Earlier images from this day can be found here and here.

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

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; 7 Dec 2016.
.
.
.

SOMERSET LEVELS 274 – SHEEP, EARLY IN THE DAY, UPPER GODNEY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 

sheep-early-in-the-day-upper-godney-mono
.
Rising at 0430 yesterday, I drove on quiet, early morning roads through the valley of the River Chew and up over the Mendip Hills, and fetched up a couple of hours later beside the river, near the Somerset Levels village of Upper Godney.  And, as I backed the car off the narrow road, next to a little bridge, I found myself next to a field with sheep and their lambs.

I’d reversed the car quietly and slowly and, although regarding it with curiosity, the sheep had made no attempt to move.  But, thanks to a fence and vegetation, photographs from within the car were an impossibility and I knew that, once I emerged from the car, I’d be in a very different ball park indeed – the sheep would in all probability disappear over the horizon!

So everything was done very, very quietly and in extreme slow motion.   The car door was edged open a little and then a little more.  And then, the camera set up and ready, I inched – literally – out of the door, my eyes constantly searching the animals for the slightest sign of alarm.  Luckily it was an overcast but still and humid morning, and mild enough to walk around without a coat or sweater – it was a delight just being there.

The sheep glanced at me, stirred a little, and I froze.  Moving into a shooting position, a matter of a few feet, took over 10 minutes.  And I started very carefully taking pictures – wishing that the D800’s shutter didn’t make so much noise!

And here’s a first interpretation, heavily cropped, of one of the pictures.  As always, I like getting in close for animal portraits, but my 300mm telephoto didn’t get me right in there.  So I used the D800’s facility for producing APS-C sized images from its full frame sensor, a process which magnifies the focal length of lenses by 1.5 .  Nikon calls this DX format, as opposed to FX, which is full (35mm) frame size.

Click onto this image to open an enlarged version in a separate window.

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor used in DX format to give a focal length of 450mm; 3200 ISO; Capture NX2; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Triste 2 preset, selectively restoring colour to the eye, and adding a heavy cyanotype tone; 8 July 2016.
.
.
.

%d bloggers like this: