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

 

 

sheep-early-in-the-day-upper-godney-mono
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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.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 256 – WALTON MOOR (MONO)

 

 

walton-moor-mono
This image is best viewed enlarged – click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window.

Walton Moor, south of the Polden Hills; 13 Jan 2016.

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 woollen coat – it has recently been led down, probably beside the winter feed put out by the farmer.

D800 used in DX format with a 70-300 Nikkor to give a 450mm telephoto; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Wet Rocks preset.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 231 – HILLSIDE WITH SHEEP AND TREE (MONO)

 

 

Hillside with sheep and tree

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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.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared Low Contrast preset; further processing with Capture NX2.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 192 – PORTRAIT OF A SHEEP (MONO)

 

 

Portrait of a sheep
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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.

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