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 59 – WINTER MORNING 2

 

 


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Peaceful morning.  A slight breeze, and big, fluffy clouds drifting, slowly, as the sun rises.

There is an earlier winter morning image here: 1 .  It 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 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 53a 55 56 57 58 .  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: TG-5 at 49mm (equiv); 320 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film simulation; south Bristol; 17 Dec 2018.
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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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OUTER SUBURBS 53 – VENUS, AND WHAT IMPRESSES ME THESE DAYS

 

 


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This is a poor quality picture of what I think is Venus, the so-called Morning Star, which is the next planet in from the Earth towards the Sun.  It’s been a constant companion on my dawn walks of late.  But trying to photograph it with a lens which has a maximum x2 magnification, and with a camera with a very small sensor (only 6×4.5mm!!!), is at best a little optimistic (ah, great British understatement…) >>> so why am I attempting it?

Well, in the first place, as you may know, I love the Natural World, I am downright enthusiastic about it and, if nothing else, I wanted a record of this aspect of these early morning strolls.  Strolls?  Well, OK, route marches …

But in the second place – and there is a second place – there is something else.  Some years back, a good friend of mine succumbed to cancer, after 10 very difficult years.  Paul was certainly amongst the most talented and intelligent people I’ve ever known, and he had also been my senior manager at work.  As his condition worsened and death loomed ever closer, we talked a lot about Life, the Universe and Everything, and one of the things that he came out with was that most of humanity’s achievements had ceased to enthuse him – with the very notable exception of space exploration.  He was of course highly educated and a talented musician and many things still interested him, but what really excited him were our efforts to reach and explore further and further away from our planet.

And I’m writing this both to remember him – his grave is not far from here – and because I increasingly identify with his attitude.  I’m a naturalist and, after all, space, the planets and the stars are the natural world too, they’re just not on this planet.  I don’t keep any detailed list of which space probes are currently headed where, but I do remember that lander that was recently put down on a comet (what an achievement!), that another lander is currently working on Mars, and that a probe is currently heading towards the Sun.

And, in the Festive Season as we are, we are close to another historic encounter, which will occur on New Year’s Day.  NASA’s New Horizons probe, which flew past the planet Pluto in 2015, will have travelled another billion miles into space to reach the vicinity of Ultima Thule, which is a 23 mile wide space rock: the probe will pass within 2,200 miles of Ultima Thule, far closer than it got to Pluto, and it will be travelling at 20,000 mph.  No question, I am impressed – both with actually managing to get that far out into space, and with being able to plot courses/trajectories at such distances to reach such small objects.  There is more info here and here .

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 .  Each will open in a separate window.

You really want to enlarge this image?????  Not recommended!!! … unless you have a thing for noise, pain and grain …

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film simulation; south Bristol; 12 Dec 2018.

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OUTER SUBURBS 49 – THE DAY BEGINS

 

 


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A decaying contrail, high up above the city’s southern outskirts: the skies above south Bristol are rarely empty.  Nearby is the city’s busy airport, which handles much holiday traffic, and there are also lots of higher flying aircraft, many of them eastbound for London.

Can greenhouse gases and global warming really be brought under control?  And what will be the actual, real impact of the recent climate conference in Poland?  I have no answers, but I do know that governments and others in the Modern Age like to be seen to be doing something, but that being seen to do something does not always actually equate to doing something that is effective.

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 .  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 40mm (equiv); 320 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 1 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 28 – SKYLINE, EARLY MORNING (MONO)

 

 


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Just after dawn, the Moon sets over the outer suburbs.  A green light beckons me on, and a gull, high up on a vantage point in the early light, looks for its first feed of the day.

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 .  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); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Spectrum Inverse preset with a light Coffee tone; south Bristol; 25 Oct 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 303 – LOOKING WEST OVER TEALHAM MOOR, AT SUNRISE (2)

 

 


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I lived in Kenya and loved the huge, towering skies of Africa.  Nearly 30 years ago (time flies!!!), I returned to the UK and have become (more of less) used to living here once more, although not subscribing to or believing in some of the things that seem to make modern Britain tick.

But I’ve never lost my memories of those tall African skies,  and the wide open skies above the Somerset Levels always remind me of them – and especially those over the Tadham and Tealham Moors, which I never tire of visiting.

This picture looks west over the rough and often untidy pasture of Tealham Moor at sunrise.  The cattle are grazing, there are clouds in the tall sky above, but the horizon is hidden behind a bank of mist at ground level.

There is another image from this early morning shoot here: 1 .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 302 – LOOKING WEST OVER TEALHAM MOOR, AT SUNRISE

 

 


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Having taken so many pictures of the Somerset Levels, thousands probably over the years, finding further photographic inspiration there is often not easy – and especially so when the light conditions are unexciting.  But on Friday, starting from home early, I got down there at the start of the day and instantly found myself in a visually mobile world of shifting mist and fog banks, with the sun rising behind them.

This is actually a shot from towards the end of the spectacle, looking westwards over Tealham Moor.  The sun was rising from behind thick banks of cloud along the eastern horizon, which had the effect of reducing the full force of its brilliance.  Here, looking westwards, the upper band of cloud is illuminated by the first of the sun’s rays as it emerged from the thick cloudbanks, while the thin ribbon of cloud below, and the misty surface of the moor, had yet to be fully illuminated.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.
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