STANTON DREW 59 – WINTER SUNRISE 2

 

 


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Blackbird in winter branches, at sunrise.

Earlier images from this early morning shoot are here: 1 (with context) 2 3 4 5 .  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: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.
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ARCHIVE 395 – CANDLESTICKS IN A FLOATING RESTAURANT

 

 

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Silhouetted candlesticks in The Three Brothers Burgers floating restaurant; Welsh Back, central Bristol; 5 August 2016.

A second early morning foray into Bristol city centre, on another day that promised a lot of sunshine.  The 0608 bus got me down there earlier than more sensible souls, the sun kept promising to rise above a low cloud bank, and I went walkabout, looking at anything and everything – while hoping for blazing, low angle, early morning sunlight.  Years ago I read that our legs are amongst our most useful photographic tools – always keep moving, keep looking with an aware, open and receptive mind, keep altering viewpoint – this simple plan of action has very often worked for me.

So later I found myself meandering along the side of the Floating Harbour, heading up towards Bristol Bridge.  To my right was the water, with three floating restaurants that were broadside on to the now blazing sun.

I drew abreast the middle boat, The Three Brothers Burgers restaurant, and the sun was pouring into its dining room, throwing two large candlesticks into sharp silhouette.  The atmosphere in that dining room looked dusty and hazy, the whole place reminded me of a painting, and the camera caught the feel of the place exactly.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 168mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom.

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ARCHIVE 394 – CARRION CROW (MONO)

 

 


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Carrion Crow over our back garden, not long after dawn; 27 Nov 2011.

This has been converted into mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, and I’ve used the one of the Film Noire presets to instil drama – the powerful, jet black crow diving through a patch of clear sky in an angry, boiling cloudscape.

Technique: D700 with 70mm-300 Nikkor lens at 200mm; 800 ISO.

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OUTER SUBURBS 57 – STREETLIGHT

 

 


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Streetlight, and the cold blues of dawn.

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 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 53a 55 56 .  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 yet again.

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film simulation; south Bristol; 5 Jan 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 55 – WINTER MORNING

 

 


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Dawn: cold, clear.

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 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 53a .  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 100mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom; south Bristol; 28 Dec 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 53 – VENUS, AND WHAT IMPRESSES ME THESE DAYS: UPDATE

 

 


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I recently posted a shot of the planet Venus taken during one of my early morning walks around Bristol’s outer suburbs – and then got immoderately excited about the approach of NASA’s New Horizons space probe to the most remote object so far explored by Man, Ultima Thule – that post, with other links, are here .

And here is another of the TG-5’s images from my early morning walks: a clear (and cold!) sky at dawn, with (what I think is) the planet Venus and a beautiful crescent Moon.

Well, as I expect you may know by now, the New Horizons flypast of the 23 miles wide Ultima Thule (which was only discovered in 2014) went to plan – and now there is the long wait to see the images it captured. There is more info here .

I’m posting about this event again because it has really brought home to me just how vast space is – there are some startling statistics, a few of which I’d like to mention.  As regular readers of this blog will know, I’m an enthusiast for the Natural World in general – and these Ultima Thule events are still in the natural world, they just happen to be in the vast bulk of that world that is not on our planet.  And as some regular readers may also know, one of my backgrounds is in geology, and so I’m quite at home with vast timespans, for example the age of the Earth, which is around 4,500,000,000 years.  However, given that, I’ve found some of the facts and stats that I’ve recently discovered quite startling, and so am giving a very few of them for you, here.

DESTRUCTION BY A GRAIN OF RICE

During the flyby, the New Horizons probe was travelling at 20,000mph.  Flying at that speed, a collision with a solid particle the size of a grain of rice would have been sufficient to destroy the spacecraft’s internal systems and so terminate the mission.  But, well, space is just that I suppose; in the main it is empty.

THE VASTNESS OF SPACE

Ultima Thule is around 4,000,000,000 miles distant from the Earth, and that may seem like a truly vast distance.  But, in astronomical terms, it is not.  Astronomical distances are measured in light-years, one of which is the distance that light travels in one year.  Although Ultima Thule seems so distant, if I’ve got my maths right, its only about 0.00068 light-years away from us – its radio transmissions, travelling at the speed of light, take 6 hours to reach us – which is why its notification of the successful flyby was so delayed.

But then compare that with the distance from the Earth of the nearest stars.  Our Sun, around 93,000,000 miles away, is of course our nearest star – and far, far closer to us than Ultima Thule.  But if we look outside our solar system, then the nearest stars are over 4 light-years distant – ie far, far further away than Ultima Thule –  which I think puts things very much into perspective.  If a probe were ever to reach those stars, and if technology stays as it is now, any message from the probe would take 4 years to get here – ET would phone home, but would have to wait a long time for a response!

THE TECHNOLOGY

I’m not really a technology buff, except possibly in terms of cameras.  But I am truly astounded at the technology that has enabled such a diminutive world to be accurately encountered at such a vast distance.  And the more so, when the signal from the spacecraft that it had successfully carried out the flyby was expected by 3.28pm our time – and then was expected by “about 3.30 pm” – and it happened on schedule!  In summary, many human achievements in the modern world do not impress me much, but this has quite possibly been one of the most astounding events that I’ve witnessed in my 68 years.

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 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 316 – LOOKING EAST, TOTNEY DROVE 2

 

 


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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.

Looking eastwards along Totney Drove, a single track, tarmacked lane, as the sun rose through the mists on this autumn morning.

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.
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STANTON DREW 57 – WINTER SUNRISE

 

 


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Winter’s sunrise and winter’s branches.  

Cold light, hard, bright, dazzling, raw.

 And the branches too: cold and hard,

and dark – dark, piercing, sharp. 

Light arrives, darkness recedes, yes.

But at this season, with barely

a hint of warmth or comfort.

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Earlier images from this early morning shoot are here: 1 (with context) 2 3 .  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 further.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.
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STANTON DREW 55 – BEFORE THE SUN ROSE

 

 


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I arrived in the little village of Stanton Drew just before dawn, waited for the eastern horizon to start lightening, and stayed to watch the sunrise.

There is more context, and another image from this early morning shoot, here .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 1,000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.
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STANTON DREW 54 – THE DAY BEGINS

 

 


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Up early on a clear and very cold, frosty morning.  Scrape the frost off the car and, in the darkness, get into the main road’s already busy traffic – in which the urge to get to the workstation asap turns everyone – I mean, you know, ordinary, mature, otherwise common sensical people – into wannabe racing drivers.  This is the bit I dislike most about such early morning sorties, barrelling down a main road in the darkness, with a lemming, cliffbound, almost touching my rear bumper, and other lemmings coming at me with blazing headlights and a far, far too optimistic opinion of what constitutes a safe overtaking distance, into the face of oncoming traffic, in the dark.

But, mercifully, I’m soon at the turn, breathing a sigh of relief and driving carefully down a fairly narrow, country lane.  On the other hand, I’ve certainly not left the race track behind, as those coming into Bristol from the countryside to work in the early mornings can drive even faster than in the denser traffic on the main roads, but at least these drivers are more used to the narrow lanes and, at least for the most part, mercifully aware that it really is best to slow down when the gap between cars travelling in opposite directions is only a matter of a few inches.

And then distinctly greater solace: I reached the turn off into the little village of Stanton Drew, and the few cars coming at me are moving/driving more slowly still.  I drove through the village, got to the car park beyond the pub and – it was still dark!  Over enthusiastic I may be, but even I could see that, as a photographer, there was little point in going out into the darkness!  And I was parked below a small rise, another part of the car park, that would give a view of the eastern horizon when dawn got its thing going.  I sat, huddled for warmth, in the car.

And then that magical time, the eastern sky started to faintly lighten, and I was out of the car, pulling on Wellington boots, and muffling myself in layers of warm clothing.  I walked up to look at the horizon, quite quickly lost all feeling in my frozen feet –  and found not one but two beginnings.  For, as well as the dawn, across a field from me, the occupants of a large house were also readying to meet the day: several windows were ablaze with warm, welcoming light.

And so to this scene.  The first colours of sunrise bathe the sky while below, in the still dark countryside, the house wakes up.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm.  The scene was dark.  I used the spot meter to take an exposure reading from the house’s illuminated windows but, even at 12,800 ISO, I only managed 1/150th at f4.8.  Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.
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