ARCHIVE 581 – FISHEYE LENS MEETS IRON AGE HOUSE

 

 

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This is not some huge mushroom, although that’s what it reminds me of every time I see it.  It is in fact a side view of a house in a reconstructed Iron Age village, near Westhay on the Somerset Levels.

The house is round, with walls made of wattle and daub, which is a building technique over 6,000 years old where straw mixed with wet clay, dung, etc is plastered (daubed) onto a wooden frame (the wattle) and left to harden and dry.  The roof of the hut is thatched, and it overhangs the walls quite a lot, to help keep them dry in bad weather.

The photo was taken looking at the hut side-on, using a full frame fisheye lens.  The extremely wide angle view of this lens encompasses the full diameter of the hut, as well as some of the thatched roof.  But the thing which really baffles my eyes here is that cut logs – firewood – have been stacked around the house’s wall, to dry more speedily beneath the overhanging roof.  The pale, cut ends of these logs catch the eye and – for me at least – provide a distraction that prevents identification of what otherwise might be a reasonably straightforward structure.  The faintly bluish grey wall of the house can just be glimpsed between the tops of the logs and the gloom of the overhanging thatch.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended, for greater clarity.

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ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 22 – DRIVING WESTWARDS, TADHAM MOOR

 

 


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Moving cautiously westwards across Tadham Moor on the Somerset Levels, through fog turned incandescent by the rising sun.

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 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

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: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Totney Drove, Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.

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ARCHIVE 578 – MALLARD ON THE RHYNE BESIDE JACK’S DROVE (MONO)

 

 


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Mallard on the rhyne beside Jack’s Drove, on Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 31 Mar 2015.

Springtime, and a pair of Mallards swim up the water-filled ditch or rhyne (rhymes with “seen”)  beside the little road known as Jack’s Drove.  These ducks will breed on this backwater, the more brightly patterned male (on the left) more prominent on his territory while the darker, drabber and more camouflaged female sits undetected on their nest, somewhere in the dense waterside vegetation.

In contrast to these two quietly swimming beings, I see the bare tree on the right as a mass of writhing snakes or sinuous fingers, reaching up, furiously grasping, skywards.  And in fact on this extremely windy day, while the ducks were relatively sheltered on their little waterway, the tree was twisting and writhing as it took the full force of a westerly howling in from the Bristol Channel.

Click onto this image to see a larger and far more detailed image that opens in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset.

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ARCHIVE 575 – WOOL, AND THE DEATH OF A SOCIAL CENTRE

 

 


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Wool on a sheep’s flank, photographed during a shearing demonstration at the former Willows Garden Centre, at Westhay, on the Somerset Levels; 28 May 2006.

The light and textures here get to me.  The dab of blue is presumably an identifying or ownership mark – it provides something of a focus in what appears to be a sea of softness – although wool on a sheep is of course a far cry from the soft material of our cosy clothes!

The Willows Garden Centre was a wonderful local social centre and hub, employing disabled staff, producing wonderful homemade food – oh the cakes, the breakfasts, the faggots and pies!!! – selling local produce including cider and plants, used for meetings of local groups and societies >>> only to be closed down and left empty for years by Somerset County Council, before becoming – of all things –  an arts and craft gallery.  Does that make my blood boil?  Yes it *************** does, as hot as the water in the ************ kettle!

And people in Somerset had their own local District Councils – which were conversant with local issues and needs, more in tune with them.  But Somerset County Council wanted to close those down too, to bring everything under its centralised, monolithic control – but that was thankfully stopped by sheer force of people power!

Somerset is my homeland.  I don’t live there any more, I haven’t done so for a very long time, but it is and always will be my spiritual home, and I am very grateful for that.  Hopefully some of these feelings come out in my Levels photography.

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

Technique: F6 with 80mm-200mm Nikkor lens at 200mm; Velvia 100 colour slide film rated at 125 ISO; given a slightly warm tone in Capture NX2.

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ARCHIVE 573 – MORNING SKY, LOOKING NORTH (MONO)

 

 


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Looking up, looking to the north, early on a spring morning.

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: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Landscape preset and adding a Split Tone; Bourtonbridge Drove, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 26 April 2019.

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ARCHIVE 572 – A LITTLE PIECE OF MAGIC

 

 


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Crossing the little Whitelake Bridge on Hearty Moor, on the Somerset Levels, and there on the bridge’s guard rail were flowers – I assumed in memory of some victim of a road accident, or even someone drowned in the river.

But looking more closely at them, they were accompanied by no words of mourning, and they looked more like charms, not memorials.  And then I remembered where I was – not far from Glastonbury, and also not far from Worthy Farm, at Pilton, which hosts the world famous Glastonbury Festival.  There are many around here, especially in Glastonbury, who hold Pagan and other, non-mainstream beliefs, and here were what appeared to be charms above moving water, above a river.

I have dabbled with Paganism, and found it far, far more attractive than the monotheistic mainstream religions of the UK.  But I’m now at the conclusion that although I have a deep love and regard for the Natural World, this is not for me anything religious, but rather something that invokes feelings of great love and wonder.   I don’t worship the Natural World, but I respect it – and the more so because, unlike us, it manages to exist and thrive without the aid of all the made up stories – the imagined realities – which appear necessary to keep human societies –  and human minds too – in order and intact.

And so here then, deep in the Somerset countryside, because of the way they see the world, because of what they believe in, someone has placed these simple objects above moving water.  And to me, in so doing, they have added a little piece of beautiful magic – and diversity too – to this world.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Standard V2 picture control; on the Whitelake Bridge, northeast of Glastonbury, on the Somerset Levels; 5 Apr 2019.

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ARCHIVE: LOOKING AT CARS 13 – EARLY MORNING, TEALHAM MOOR

 

 


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Early morning mist, Tealham Moor, south of Wedmore; 8 Apr 2015.

The old and the new.  A smart new vehicle coming south down the tarmac of Jack’s Drove at a good pace and, next to it,  the water-filled ditch (rhyne) which has been here for a century or two, well back into the times when the only vehicles along here were horse drawn.

The rhyne acts as the fence around the field of pasture visible on the right, the gate of which is accessed from the drove via the little bridge.  The metal gate, which is hardly visible on the right, has wooden rails at its sides to stop ever venturesome cattle from trying to squeeze around it and escape.  The droves are tracks between the fields which allow farmers to access their land without crossing that of others.

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 9 10 11 12 .

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 270mm; 400 ISO.

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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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