ARCHIVE 527 – SWANS, GRAZING (MONO)

 

 


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Swans grazing on pastureland; Westhay Moor, south of Wedmore; 2 April 2015.

Some see swans purely as waterbirds, and on or beside water is where they’re usually encountered, reaching down into the water’s depths with their long necks to feed on aquatic vegetation.  But they are often seen out on the fields of the Somerset Levels, quite at home grazing on short grass.

These are Mute Swans, the UK’s common and often tame, resident bird.  But in the winter they may be joined here by a few Bewick’s and Whooper Swans that have come south to avoid the Arctic’s bitter freeze.

And the pylon?  Well, 15 miles or so west of here, and in stark contrast to the Levels’ rural reaches, there is the Hinkley Point atomic power station, which sends lines of such gaunt metal towers snaking out across the surrounding countryside.  The two reactors there are ageing now, but a third is proposed and construction is underway.

And  – hot question! – am I in favour of nuclear power and especially, in this instance, so close to my favourite haunts?  Well, the jury’s out on nuclear, I guess, my only certainty being that we need to get power from somewhere – news stories talk of our electricity supplies being only just sufficient to cover winter demands.  

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 2,000 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Dramatic preset.

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ARCHIVE 524 – TWO TREES, IVY AND BRAMBLES (MONO)

 

 


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View between two tree trunks – two trees, ivy and brambles –  beside North Chine Drove, on the Somerset Levels southeast of Wedmore; 19 Mar 2012.

I have a thing for stark tree silhouettes, and here my larger telezoom pulled this image right in, to make it frame-filling.  Use of the long focal length also has the benefit of small depth of field, so that the landscape seen through this gap registered as sufficiently hazy and low contrast for SEP2 to block it out completely, leaving the ivy and brambles against a plain backdrop.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: D700 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 400mm; 800 ISO; conversion to mono, and toning, with Silver Efex Pro 2.

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ARCHIVE 521 – FLY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Fly on a horse’s forehead, south of Catcott Burtle, on the Somerset Levels; 3 June 2014.

My penchants for getting up close and personal, and for keeping things simple.  To me, the fly is the subject here.  I look first at the fly but then realise that something else, something far larger and potentially more menacing, is there too.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Dramatic preset and selectively re-introducing colour.

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ARCHIVE 515 – A FARMER AND HIS WIFE, OFF TO CHECK THEIR CATTLE AS THE DAWN BREAKS

 

 


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A farmer and his wife, off in their Land Rover to check on their cattle out on Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels, after the long, late November night; 27 Nov 2014.

I was having a second breakfast of hot coffee and thick, bitter marmalade sandwiches in the Magic Carpark, when this old couple drove by, waving and smiling in a very friendly way, and made off down the foggy track to make sure that all was well with their cattle after the long, cold night.

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 86mm; 6400 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

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ARCHIVE 514 – RAINY DAY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Rainy day on Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 14 May 2013.

As the rain poured down, the view through the window of my car, towards a nearby Willow.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – certainly recommended.

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot at 140mm (35mm equiv); 200 ISO; conversion to mono, selective colour restoration and toning in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset.

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ARCHIVE 510 – THE ESTUARY OF THE RIVER BRUE (MONO)

 

 


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The estuary of the River Brue, south of Burnham-On-Sea, on the Somerset coast; 20 Mar 2013.

The Brue is the river meandering in from the left.  Its travel across the very flat lands of the Somerset Levels is extremely slow – I could probably walk to the coast faster!

The Brue is flowing out into the estuary of the River Parrett, the water upper right, which stretches off to the horizon.

All of the Levels’ rivers except the Parrett have clyses (sluices) which help stop the seawater of the Bristol Channel flooding inland.  When the tide is out, the weight of fresh water building up behind the gates pushes them open, and the fresh water flows away to the sea.  When the tide comes in, the weight of the rapidly rising salt water pushes against the gates, forcing them shut, and the seawater is unable to flow further inland.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – highly recommended.

Technique: D700 with 16-35 Nikkor lens at 35mm; 200 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Low Key 2 preset.

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ARCHIVE 505 – TIN SHED, ROTATED

 

 


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Corrugated iron shed (its roof on the right) at the former Willows Garden Centre, near Westhay, on the Somerset Levels; 15 Jul 2005.

Minimal colour, not far from monochrome.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: F6 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 400mm; Fuji Provia 400 colour slide film rated at 400 ISO; image rotated 90 degrees clockwise.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 467 – FOGGY MORNING (MONO)

 

 


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Pollarded willow appearing out of the mist, early in the morning, beside Swanahard Lane.  Pollarding of trees is a common practice on the Levels; I discussed it recently here .  Its shown well in this tree, which has a really thick trunk, with large numbers of much thinner branches emanating from it: pollarding has been carried out sometime back, possibly more than once, but then discontinued, so that the cut stumps of the branches have grown to great lengths.  The problem here is that the thick, original trunk is leaning slightly so that, as the weight of the thinner branched above it increases, there is the danger that the whole tree will topple over.

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Graphite profile; Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 23 Aug 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 466 – EARLY MORNING LANDSCAPE 2

 

 


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Misty morning, just after sunrise.

The first of these images is here .

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – definitely recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Capture NX2; looking out towards Hay Moor from Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 2 Aug 2019.
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ARCHIVE 498 – THE VIEW WEST AT SUNRISE

 

 


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Looking west along the North Drain from the Jack’s Drove bridge on Tealham Moor, at sunrise; 22 Nov 2013.

I’d raced to Tealham Moor to catch the sunrise, and just before the scene was blasted by the light of the rapidly rising sun (see this image), there was this beautiful soft light, with clouds that were faintly tinged pink, off to the west. 

A group of three Mute Swans are on the water at lower left, and I’m pleased because this whole scene is just as I remember it. 

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: D800 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

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