ARCHIVE 391 – DARK, BROODING GIANT ALONG CHASEY’S DROVE

 

 


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A misty early morning along Chasey’s Drove, Common Moor, just north of Glastonbury, on the Somerset Levels; 10 Aug 2003.

I have an ongoing love affair with the big, bold, black silhouettes of trees.  I probably find them very powerfully graphic, I don’t know, but I do know that they never cease punching me right in the eye – I can’t get enough of them – as witness some of the Mendip Hills posts.

I like this one particularly – the tree’s black bulk rises just about on the left vertical third and to the right of its vast trunk is a glimpse of misty, early morning countryside which, compared to this brooding, masterful giant, is insignificant, blurry backdrop, a pale contextual glimmer.

Technique: tripod-mounted OM-4 with 85mm-250mm Zuiko lens; Fuji Velvia 50 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO.

UPDATE: an image from what seems a long, long time ago, when I was using film – and when I was determined NEVER, EVER to change to make the change to digital.  How times change!  The appearance of Nikon’s “budget” full-frame D700 DSLR brought me over to digital at a stroke, and it is a change I have never, ever (those two words again!) regretted. Indeed, I feel incredibly fortunate, after 45+ years of film photography, including wet darkroom use, to be still photographing during the advent of the digital age: for me, the creative potential of photography has simply mushroomed. 

But now, having used optical viewfinders on Nikon’s superb D700 and D800, but then started using the really very good electronic viewfinders on Fujifilm’s X-T1 and X-T2 compact system cameras, I have a feeling that its electronic viewfinders that I want to continue with – and so to Nikon’s new Z series.  The 45MP of the Z7 are really far, far more than I need, and (with the experience of using the high MP D800) I know that using such high megapixel cameras need very careful camera technique – such cameras show ever little mistake you make!!!  So the 24MP Z6 might be far more my style – and then there’s just the “minor” problem of raising the necessary cash!!! 🙂

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ARCHIVE 390 – TAKING FLIGHT

 

 


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Another early bus ride into the city, another second breakfast at first light in Hart’s Bakery (context is here) – and as I lurched out of that warm, friendly and bustling establishment, the tints of sunrise were above and, looking up, I saw this.

The bird is a gull (aka seagull), and just about to leap off into the air to scavenge the city’s no doubt enticing refuse.  I have Hart’s Bakery, (s)he has Bristol.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; beside Temple Meads railway station; 9 Dec 2016.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 314 – LOOKING EAST, TOTNEY DROVE (MONO)

 

 


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Looking eastwards along Totney Drove, a single track, tarmac road on Tadham Moor.  Tall Willows are silhouetted by the sunrise, and water-filled rhynes (ditches) flank the road on either side.  The distance is shrouded in fog, but the ghosts of cattle can just be made out in the background on the left.

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

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Tin Type preset; Totney Drove, Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 309 – LOOKING EASTWARDS, THROUGH A TELEPHOTO

 

 


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I’ve always enjoyed looking into the distance, looking out to the horizon.  Two of the beauties of modern (i.e. digital) photography are that even moderate telephotos not only allow me to do just that, but also allow me to see exactly (via electronic viewfinders) the result that the camera is going to record.

Here I was driving westwards in the early morning across Tadham Moor on the Somerset Levels, with the sun rising through shifting mist banks behind me.  As I drove, I kept looking in the mirror at the glowing landscape behind me and, on seeing this scene, I pulled off sharply into the open gateway of a field.

Jumping out of the car (well, as much as I can jump out of anywhere these days) I looked back, and the whole landscape to the east seemed ablaze with glowing, shifting colour.  My camera had a 305mm (equivalent) telephoto mounted on it, and I simply pointed it into the mist, started picking out details, and started firing.

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again – recommended.  Can you see the perched bird (top left!)?

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 37 – LOOKING UP IN THE MODERN WORLD

 

 


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Looking up: streetlight with contrails and cloud.  The side of the light is just catching the glare of the sunrise.  The square structure below the light is a shield to prevent it shining into houses.

Looking up: something that, as photographers, we should all keep in mind >>> indeed, keeping looking every which way is the thing.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 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 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 640 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 2 Oct 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 36 – AUTUMN 7

 

 


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Autumn sunrise over the outer suburbs.  South Bristol wakens.  People are walking their dogs, people are driving to work.  And people, the older ones mostly, are wishing “Good morning!” to friends – and to strangers – alike.  Mine is a generation more at ease with such warm, general greetings, whereas many from younger generations walk past with heads bowed, staring fixedly at the ground or into their mobile phones.

But many is the time that the cheerful uttering of these simple words – along with however brief a moment of eye contact – has raised a smile and reply from an otherwise downcast or introspective countenance – and that, to me, is something certainly worthwhile.

And, as a backdrop to all this human activity below, Our Star edges up towards the horizon.  The clouds to the east are already radiant in its glare, whereas some of those closer overhead remain – for just a little while longer – within Our Planet’s shadow.

There are earlier autumn posts here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 .  Each will open in a separate window.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 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 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 .  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 enlarge it further.

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 250 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 31 Oct 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 32 – AUTUMN 5 (MONO)

 

 


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This photo 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.

Walking in south Bristol, walking in the autumn, with the flocking of Starlings a sure sign of the season.  A small flock were up on top of a telegraph pole, quite a way off, and only carrying the little Olympus TG-5 there was no chance of a reasonable shot at that distance – but I took some just in case they were all I was going to get – insurance!  Of a sort …

And then I  started walking slowly towards the birds.  Starlings are often around people, and I thought I might have some chance of a closer shot.  Shooting as I went, I did get some closer shots, and two of those are here .

Moving very slowly, I was almost at the bottom of the pole before the birds started shifting uneasily (as my friends will tell you, I can have that effect …. ).  But I could see – I could feel – the explosion coming and readying the TG-5 for one last blast, I held it up in front of me, looked up into its screen and took two or three last small steps forward before … well … what you see above.  They circled, and promptly came down onto a neighbouring rooftop – as ever, as always, on the lookout for food, and for predators too.

There are earlier autumn posts here: 1 2 3 4 .

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 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 27 28 29 30 31 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: TG-5 at 46mm (equiv); 320 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Monotone film simulation; south Bristol; 29 Oct 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 30 – AUTUMN 4 (MONO)

 

 


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These birds are Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), perched on phone wires, and their flocking together is a sure sign of the arrival of autumn.  They breed in solitary pairs and are then seen in the company of their noisy, begging young.  But as soon as the chills of autumn set in, larger flocks appear – which is a good survival tactic, since a flock has more eyes to spot danger, and an individual within a flock stands more chance of surviving an attack from say, a Sparrowhawk, than a bird on its own – the explosion of a flock into flight can confuse the predator visually, and whereas the predator may take another individual from the flock,  a bird alone is a single, sure target.

Starlings are very common here and I like them – but, then again, is there a bird that I don’t like???  Well, Ostrich was a bit over the top, certainly could be a bit pushy at times, and certainly not to be trifled with, but all other feathered friends are just that.  Starlings are very garrulous and sociable, always busy bustling around – for me, they are an inextricable part of “here”, I suppose.

There are earlier autumn posts here: 1 2 3 .

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 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 27 28 29 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 320 ISO; Lightroom, using the Monochrome film simulation; Capture NX2 (for when the Monochrome simulation needed help – I knew I should have used Silver Efex Pro 2!!!); south Bristol; 29 Oct 2018.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 307 – THE POPLARS AT GODNEY

 

 


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Sunrise over the group of trees – Poplars, I think – on the outskirts of Godney village.  Sited as they are on a small rise in the ground, these tall and slender trees are something of a landmark in this ultimately flat countryside.

And this small rise in the ground is important too.  For, according to a 1991 book on place names, Godney refers not to a god, but to an Anglo-Saxon named Goda, who presumably had some sort of settlement / farm on this hill, when it was a small island in the vast area of marshes and lakes that occupied the Somerset Levels before they were drained for agriculture – “ney”, in Old English, means island.  In AD 971, a manuscript named this place as Godeneia.

I grew up not far from here and, for most of my life, the place names were just, well, place names.  So that it came as a real revelation to find out that the majority of these names originated in Anglo-Saxon times (c. AD 410-1066) and they in fact actually mean something, as in Goda’s island.  It helps to bring this simple but intriguing landscape to life.  There are newer names too, which result from the Norman invasion in 1066.  And, more fascinating to me, there are also older, Celtic names, ie pre-dating the Anglo-Saxons: eg river names like Avon and Severn.

The pure naturalness of this image may be reduced by the telephone wire, which I may have been able to remove post-capture but, really, my aim is to show this area as it is, rather than as some manicured ideal.

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 5 .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Godney, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 306 – RHYNE BESIDE TOTNEY DROVE (MONO)

 

 


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Looking eastwards along the water-filled ditch, the rhyne (rhymes with seen), that runs along the northern side of Totney Drove, the single track road that can just be glimpsed to the right of the tree’s trunk.  The rhyne’s surface is mostly covered in water weed.  A very peaceful scene, yes, but there’s danger here too.  First, the tree (a Willow) is leaning slightly to the left, and the more this tilt increases, the more difficulty the tree’s roots will have in preventing its huge bulk from toppling right over.  The soils here are damp and loose, and should they become waterlogged or actually submerged, as may happen in the approaching winter months, then the roots’ grip will loosen and the giant will fall.  Second, a somewhat spindly wire fence at the rhyne’s edge aims to keep the cattle away from the rhyne: a cow falling into the deep water and ooze would certainly require a tractor to get it out again.

In the background to the left, cattle seen as ghostly shapes in the mist, with woodland further back.

And in the background to the right, there are several trees which are thick and heavy near the ground, but thinner further up.  These trees have been pollarded, they are pollards, which means that, one or more times in their lives, they have had the wood from their upper parts removed, for firewood, woodwork etc, while their lower parts are left unaffected.  Pollarding is an ancient practice, and more about it can be found here .

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 101mm; 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Dramatic preset and adding a light Coffee tone; Totney Drove, Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.
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