ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 9 – SELFIE WITH BLUE LORRY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Self-portrait with blue lorry, near Peacock Farm, Westhay Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 Jul 2012.

I’m sitting very upright in the driving seat of my car, using a wideangle zoom to record both the scene in the rear view mirror, and the road ahead as seen through the windscreen.  Back home, I’ve converted the shot to mono using Capture NX2, but retained original colour – and added some brightness too – for the scene in the mirror.

The rows of small dots above the mirror are a device to help prevent dazzle when looking up at the mirror.

The Looking at Cars series: looking back through the nine years of the FATman Photos archives (and some new images too), I’m posting pictures of cars in various contexts and styles.  Earlier Looking at Cars posts are here: 1 (with context); 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 .  

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

Technique: D700 with 16-35 Nikkor lens at 24mm; 800 ISO; manipulated with Capture NX2.

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ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 5 – SPORTS CAR IN WELLS

 

 


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Sports car in Wells, Somerset; 28 June 2009.

An abstract of red, silver and black. The plain red of the door shows the reflected image of the curb and pavement, and the silver door handle points towards another silver fitting near top center in the frame.

The slight gap between the door and the car’s body makes a strong feature dipping steeply left, which contrasts with the the dark and curving reflections of the running board’s structures in the door, which dip steeply right.

The Looking at Cars series: looking back through the nine years of the FATman Photos archives (and some new images too), I’m posting pictures of cars in various contexts and styles.  Earlier Looking at Cars posts are here: 1 (with context); 2 3 4 .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.
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ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 2 – RAINY MORNING (MONO)

 

 


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On the Somerset Levels: Liberty Moor, east of East Huntspill, looking north to the slightly higher ground around the village of Mark; 29 Apr 2016.

A major road is temporarily closed, so commuters speed down the Levels’ back lanes to get around the blockage.

The Looking at Cars series: looking back through the nine years of the FATman Photos archives, I’m posting pictures of cars in various contexts and styles.  Earlier Looking at Cars posts are here: 1 (with context).

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset.

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ARCHIVE 555 – CROW ON A FALLEN TREE (MONO)

 

 


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Carrion Crow perched on a fallen tree; Tadham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 31 Mar 2014.

Early in the day, I pulled bleary eyed into the Magic Carpark, stumbled out of the car – and saw this crow.  Praying that it wouldn’t move, and all fingers and thumbs, I readied the camera, turned and – it was still there!  In fact it stayed there for sometime.

The tree is a casualty of the recent severe flooding.  It was probably not standing vertically before, but then its roots had been able to find sufficient purchase in the soil.  But, saturate that soil with floodwater for many weeks and turn it into something like blancmange or wet rice pudding, and the roots were simply not up to the task of keeping the great bulk of trunk and branches above them upright.

I went for a pure silhouette, with the sky completely burnt out, for simplicity – a Minimalist approach.  To me, the few branches entering the frame at upper right serve to balance the composition.  The adding of a blue tone takes the scene further away from reality.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Classic Portrait preset, and adding a Cyanotype tone.

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ARCHIVE 548 – A WONDERFUL SURPRISE (MONO)

 

 


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I had a wonderful surprise yesterday (8 Apr 2015).  I was out early in thick mist on Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels, seeing not a lot through the viewfinder but firing off frames into the murk regardless, knowing that the pictures would be better seen and comprehended on my PC’s screen.  (As a side note, I kept the camera on +2/3 stops exposure compensation to better capture the mist’s delicate nuances).

Anyway, I took two pictures of a metal gate and its wooden side rails next to a water-filled ditch and, in the first picture, looking at it on the PC at home, that’s what I got – the gate, the ditch and the mist.

But in the second picture (shown above), which was taken only moments after the first, there is a diminutive but very distinctive silhouette on the gate’s wooden side rails – sometime in the 13 seconds between the first and second shots, a Kingfisher had landed on the fence, to use it as a vantage point for spotting fish in the waters below >>> and, busy taking the picture, I had been quite unaware of it!

Wow, bring it on, Nature simply never fails to get to me!  I am of course an ex-birder with a vast regard for birds, but a Natural event like this is to me something fundamentally simple – as well as being something priceless, something quite beyond value, which certainly lifts my quality of life.

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

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Dfine 2; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Darken Contrast Vignette preset.

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ARCHIVE 547 – TADHAM MOOR (MONO)

 

 

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Floods on Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 23 Nov 2012.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, using the High Key 2 preset as a starting point.

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ARCHIVE 546 – RED STRING IN THE MORNING (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Tadham Moor, looking east on a summer’s morning; 27 Aug 2014.  LOL! >>> I still remember when first posting this, that it was pointed out that its not string at all, it is in fact baler twine >>> but the title still appeals, so I’m going to stand corrected, retain the post’s original title but make corrections in the text below!!!  

Crouching down low, just above the tops of the grass, and seeing the world through a 12mm lens – seeing far more at one time than the unaided human eye can ever see sharply.

I’m  at the southern end of Jack’s Drove, where it meets another little back road, which is just out of view behind the tall grasses on the right – this other road, Totney Drove, runs on eastwards, between the two tall trees in the distance.

Instead of using fences, the damp fields around here are bounded by water-filled ditches.  Covered in floating water plants, the ditch bordering Totney Drove catches the light as it heads towards the two trees, while the one bordering Jack’s Drove is in shadow, at bottom left.

The soil here is very loose and wet and, on the corner of these two little back roads, there have been worries that the roads’ thin tarmac may give way under the weight of passing vehicles and slide down into the wet ditches, and so sheets of corrugated iron (visible lower right) have been driven into the soft ground, to try to prevent this.

To further warn passersby of the danger, a line of little sticks with red baler twine tied around them has been set up, but these have been ravaged by the elements and the twine hangs loose.

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

Technique: D800 with 12-24 Sigma lens at 12mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Contrast and Structure preset and selectively restoring colour.

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ARCHIVE 531 – FANTASY IN INFRARED

 

 


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Mist on Tadham Moor, and the road past the Magic Carpark given the look of colour infrared film, courtesy of Nik’s excellent Color Efex Pro 4 image editing software.

One of my aims with this blog is to present a variety of imagery.  This is both to stimulate and perhaps even enthral those looking at these posts – and also to keep myself on my toes in terms of imagination and creativity.  Producing a blog with a constant theme might be a way to attract a large and loyal number of viewers who enjoy that theme, but I have to hold up my hands and admit to not being able to resist going here and there, following where my imagination takes me, and here is an example.

Its a core belief of mine that its always worth looking long and hard at images – and I (and many others too) have found that returning to an image weeks, months or even years after it was captured can and does inspire new ideas and new ways of looking at it.  Indeed, some photographers make a point of never working on their images soon after they have been taken but, instead, of always coming back to them some days or even weeks after the event – with fresh minds and well rested eyes.

I am not returning to this particular image long after it was taken, but I have subjected it to another of my core routines, which is to look at it long and hard before deciding upon what, if anything, to do with it.  What sorts of things to I think about in this situation? – well, colour/mono/both, possible types of crop, potential for rotation/flipping, effects of various software edits, etc.

And experimenting (which is another way of saying “playing around”!) in Color Efex Pro 4 I came upon this infrared colour film filter, and was instantly attracted by its effect here.  There are of course the mysterious silhouettes and the warm orange glow, but this is not like simply using some kind of orange filter because the colours of the tarmac road and its grass verges are still faintly visible.  Whether this image will stand the test of time – whether I’ll still like it in a month’s or year’s time – is another matter but, for now, here it is.

Other thoughts.  Does it represent reality?  No, of course not but, as I say, I like the look of it, and if I like the look of it – its in! 🙂  

And fantasy – well, ok, what’s out there beyond those “last two trees”?  If you’re a TOLKIEN fan, are we standing on the edge of the desolation wrought by the dragon SMAUG, looking out on a land ravaged by his fire and covered by rolling clouds of glowing smoke?  I’ll go along with that.  And who, or what, is going to appear in all that smoke, dimly seen at first but growing ever more stark, as they trudge up this road trying to escape a vast and monstrous foe that, for all of their lives, has just been an old and half-forgotten legend, the stuff of childhood nightmares, the stuff of fireside tales?

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 230mm; 200 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4; the Somerset Levels; 8 Apr 2015.

UPDATE 2020: well, its considerably more than a year after this image was posted, and yes I certainly do still like it >>> and I am certainly still a fan of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings!

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ARCHIVE 530 – SUNRISE, TADHAM MOOR

 

 


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Sunrise over Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 9 Jan 2015.

A very quiet and simple scene.  Totney Drove, a single track, metalled lane, passes through a small group of tall willows that, as so frequently happens with such silhouettes, reminds me of an exploding artillery shell.  The trees are reflected in the still waters of the rhyne (rhymes with seen), the water-filled ditch which borders the road and which acts as a field boundary.

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 – highly recommended.

Technique: D700 with 16-35 Nikkor lens at 31mm; 1000 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.
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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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