MENDIP HILLS 40 – LANDSCAPES FOR A DEAD WIFE (MONO)

 

 

Occasional, dazzling sun as dark clouds stream overhead

Many years ago, and newly arrived from equatorial climes, my wife and I were on the Somerset coast, desperately seeking a hot lunch on a bitterly cold day in the middle of winter.  However, in that distinctly non-tourist season, nowhere could oblige us.  At long last, we were saved by the Blue Anchor Hotel, between Watchet and Minehead, which, at no notice, produced delicious hot food, almost more than we could eat in fact and – as if that were not enough – wonderful warm hospitality too.  Coastal erosion will soon cause that hotel to collapse into the sea, and this fact, combined with my memories of that far off winter day, has served to bring my wife very powerfully back to me.

And so to a sentimental journey, to a place nearer home where I used to walk with Juliet, my first wife, my now long dead first wife.  A journey to walk where we walked and – if only within myself – to talk where we talked.

But, when I got there, the Natural World had other ideas, with high winds, driving rain and dark clouds rolling in across this open, upland landscape – this landscape, on the top of Mendip Hills, that was the roof of the world in my childhood, sixty years ago.

And so to thoughts and memories – very many of them – and to a flask of hot coffee within the car’s warmth and shelter.  And to looking out at, and then photographing – through the car’s streaming windows – some of the frenetic and blasting natural energy that swirled around me.  Was I afraid of the raging elements?  No, because the Natural World in all its moods enthrals me – but having my valued camera gear saturated and ruined is quite another matter!  But I knew that, Julie, the daughter of a farmer, would have enjoyed the weather’s energy too; that’s how she was.

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Main road; early morning

Two things to mention.  First, these images (which will be presented in three posts) may be a little dark, but this really has no significance beyond my penchant for dark black and white, and the fact that it was a dark day.

But, second, this post’s stark title may come as something of a shock to some.  But, while not especially looking forward to it, I feel more or less at ease with death, not least I suppose because I know that it is an inevitable reality.  But I know too that some in our advanced and civilised societies avoid mentioning The Big D, that some regard allusions to it as being in poor taste, and that some even regard it as some sort of taboo subject.  And I suppose that I find it strange that with all the imagined realities and social constructs with which we fill our heads and in which we so ardently believe, that some of us remain averse to contemplating and discussing all Life’s single, solid, and only too real destination.

Anyway, these are photos of a stormy day, taken with Julie on my mind.

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Dead trees, rolling clouds, ghostly skyline

.If you would like to see enlarged versions of these pictures, click onto each one to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it: recommended.

Technique: all pictures were taken with a Fujifilm X-T2 camera and 55-200 Fujinon lens.  All were processed in Lightroom, and then converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2.  On the edge of Priddy Mineries Nature Reserve, east of Priddy, on the top of the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 20 Sept 2018.

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ARCHIVE 377 – CORN GROWING IN BLACK PEAT SOIL (MONO)

 

 


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Corn sprouting in the black peat soils of Westhay Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 3 June 2016.

There is another “pylon-scape” here.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 113mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2.

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STANTON DREW 53 – JACKDAW AROUND THE CHURCH

 

 


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A Jackdaw, the smallest of our crows, flying around the church’s decorative architecture.  A lucky grab shot.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Stanton Drew, south of Bristol; 6 July 2018.
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ARCHIVE 375 – MIST LIFTING, HERONS GREEN

 

 

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A pair of Tufted Ducks in Herons Green Bay, Chew Valley Lake, as the mist lifts.

The male (drake) Tufted Duck is on the left; his little tuft or crest can just be seen sticking out from the back of his head if you click onto this image to enlarge it.

I rarely use software presets with images if the presets take everything out of my control and just produce “a look”.  But I like the look of this “look”, if I can put it like that 🙂 , and so here it is.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; +0.7 stops overexposure at capture; Color Efex Pro 4‘s Bleach Bypass preset; Herons Green Bay, Chew Valley Lake, south of Bristol; 6 Apr 2015.

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OUTER SUBURBS 5 – CAR POUND (MONO)

 

 


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The car pound – where cash retrieves your car.

The irony here is that, despite this rather forbidding exterior, if you take the trouble to walk around the corner, all the barbed and razor wire has either fallen or been pulled down, so that climbing in is easy.  But, still, getting your car back over that wall is hardly going to be a walk in the park …

The first image in this series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4Each 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 – recommended.

Technique: TG-5 at 57mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Natural film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared Low Contrast preset; south Bristol; 18 Aug 2018.
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PEOPLE 356 – GOING TO WORK 83 (MONO)

 

 


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Walking to work, early on a summer’s morning.

A silhouette, and an image about shape, form, shadow and texture.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 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 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 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: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Classic Chrome film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Harsh preset; near Bristol Bridge, Baldwin Street, central Bristol; 19 July 2016.
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STILL LIFE 246 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 23: CHAIR BEHIND DIRTY WINDOW

 

 


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A little while back, I decided to bring down the curtain on a series of images that I was doing called Looking At Chairs.  These were mainly more or less graphic studies – because, as with cars, chairs are often visually interesting, depending upon the directions from which they are viewed, in combination with the direction and nature of the light that is falling upon them.  Some said that they’d like to see more such images and, weak-willed pawn that I am, I agreed to further posts, as and when such images surfaced.  Here is one; one or two more are in the pipeline.

Silhouette of a chair on a dirty window.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9  10  11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 .  Each will open in a new window.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 212mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom; Welsh Back, central Bristol; 5 Aug 2016.
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STILL LIFE 244 – JACKDAW 2 (MONO)

 

 


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Jackdaw on a roof at Church Farm.

An earlier image in this series is here: 1 .

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 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Classic Chrome film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Architectural preset; Stanton Drew, near Bristol; 6 July 2018.
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STILL LIFE 242 – JACKDAW

 

 


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Jackdaw on a roof at Church Farm, Stanton Drew.

The smallest of our crows, and attractively busy, bustling, talkative and, often, approachable.

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-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Church Farm, Stanton Drew, near Bristol; 6 July 2018.
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STILL LIFE 236 – FENCE POST (MONO)

 

 


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Beside the road, on the way into the village of Stanton Drew.

The camera was tilted, to bring the post (further) away from the vertical.  The post has a slit through which light can be seen, and it not a pure silhouette: some of its rough, corroded surface texture is just visible.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 105mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared High Contrast preset; Capture NX2; Stanton Drew, near Bristol; 6 July 2018.
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