SOMERSET LEVELS PICTURE GALLERY 7 – POSTS 61-70

SOMERSET LEVELS PICTURE GALLERIES

I’m currently posting images from my large archive of photos from the Somerset Levels, an area not far from where I grew up that holds particular meaning and attraction for me.  These photos are being posted singly, with full text.

To make viewing of these images easier for those with little time to spare, I’m also posting groups of these images with minimal titles.  This is the 7th gallery – you can find the earlier galleries here: 1 2 3 4 5 6

Clicking onto each image will open a larger version in a separate window: doing this often enhances the image.

61: Fantasy in infrared, 2015: what is out there, beyond those last two trees? (For Tolkien fans, the desolation of the dragon Smaug …?..).

 

62: Early morning, Tealham Moor; 2015.

 

63: Looking in amongst a grove of bulrushes, Walton Moor; 2016.

 

64: Before sunrise, on a frosty morning; Tealham Moor; 2017.

 

65: Roe Deer; a female on Westhay Moor, 2019.

 

66: The North Drain; looking west through an extreme wide angle lens; 2020.

 

67: Morning sky, looking north, again through an extreme wide angle lens; Queen’s Sedge Moor, 2019.

 

68: Hillside with sheep; Barrow Hill, 2015.

 

69: Painted Lady, Shapwick Heath, 2009.

 

70: Close in with a long telephoto; Walton Moor, 2016.



ARCHIVE: LEVELS 70 – WALTON MOOR (MONO)


My penchant for getting in close for an animal portrait, in this case via a telephoto; having the beast looming large and filling – if not bursting out of – the frame.

As well as this creature’s great, shaggy presence, I like all the lengths of loose straw hanging from its thick woolly coat – it has recently been led down, probably beside the winter feed put out by the farmer.

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

Technique: D800 used in DX format with a 70-300 Nikkor lens to give a 450mm telephoto; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Wet Rocks preset; Walton Moor, south of the Polden Hills; 13 Jan 2016.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.



ARCHIVE: LEVELS 68 – HILLSIDE WITH SHEEP AND TREE (MONO)


The eastern slopes of Barrow Hill, Panborough, to the north of Godney Moor; 11 May 2015.

A Minimal image, with little detail; and almost entirely – apart from that woolly beast –  a silhouette.  And did I imagine it ending up this way when I took it?  Yes, that it might look like this did come to mind.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared Low Contrast preset; further processing with Capture NX2.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.



SOMERSET LEVELS PICTURE GALLERY 5 – POSTS 41-50

SOMERSET LEVELS PICTURE GALLERIES

I’m currently posting images from my large archive of photos from the Somerset Levels, an area not far from where I grew up that holds particular meaning and attraction for me.  These photos are being posted singly, with full text.

To make viewing of these images easier for those with little time to spare, I’m also posting groups of these images with minimal titles.  This is the fifth gallery – you can find the earlier galleries here: 1 2 3 4 .

Clicking onto each image will open a larger version in a separate window: doing this often enhances the image.

41: As the rain poured down, the view through my car window, towards a nearby tree; Tadham Moor 2013.

42: Skylark in songflight; Tadham Moor 2013.

43: A little piece of magic: charms over running water at Whitelake Bridge; 2019.

44: Godney Moor; 2014.

45: The shadow of The FATman, as he looks at the world through a fisheye; Tadham Moor, 2013.

46: New fence, rotated, or three people in a procession, however you see it; Westhay Garden Centre, 2005.

47: Looking into the distance as a day begins; Hay Moor, 2019.

48: The first shafts of sunlight light up the mists of early morning; Swanshard Lane, 2019.

49: Crow on fallen tree; Tadham Moor, 2014.

50: Sunrise, Glastonbury Tor, 2012.

ARCHIVE: LEVELS 44 – GODNEY MOOR, 2014 (MONO)


In a field on Godney Moor; 27 Nov 2014.

There are those who like ample space around the subject of an image in that it gives the composition “room to breathe” – everything is not compressed and hemmed in.

And there is the equally valid point that room should be left around a composition at the point of capture, in case adjustments (e.g. correction of tilting horizons) need to be made post-capture.

There was room left around this creature in the original image, but in the end result I want this glorious beast filling the frame, up close and personal, and with its woolly coat of curls amply on display.  And, in dark surroundings, its the only pale thing on the menu.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.



ARCHIVE: LEVELS 27 – AT ROSE FARM, LOOKING EAST (MONO)


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

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

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: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.

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

 

 


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

 

 


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

 

 

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

 

 


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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.
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