ARCHIVE 538 – THE VIEW EASTWARDS, ACROSS HERONS GREEN BAY (MONO)

 

 


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Looking out eastwards across Herons Green Bay, to the low hills that surround Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 27 July 2011.

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, probably.

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ARCHIVE 535 – CRUMPLED TABLE CLOTH

 

 


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Crumpled table cloth in the Cottage Cafe, Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset; 29 Aug 2011.

Whenever we go down to Burnham we never miss visiting the Cottage Cafe, which continues to serve up good food.  This time, as we were demolishing toasted teacakes and a pot of tea, my eyes were drawn to window light flowing down over a discarded table cloth – and the Nikkor telezoom, that most useful of lenses, reached out and got the image.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO.

UPDATE: now, nine years later, the Cottage Cafe has long since closed down – what a loss! 😦 

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ARCHIVE 534 – MALLARD DUCKS (MONO)

 

 


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Mallard ducks on the edge of Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 6 Apr 2015.

A pair of these common and often very tame ducks, at Herons Green. 

On the left, the male stands immobile on one leg.   On the right, his mate’s busy preening sends great numbers of ripples out into the shallows.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 200mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Low Key 2 preset.

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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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ARCHIVE 526 – TREE TRUNK AND LEAF (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Tree in the grounds of Chew Valley Lake, a reservoir in Somerset; 14 Sept 2009.

I’ve taken this image into SEP2, added lots of contrast and structure, and then re-introduced colour into the leaf.  Converting an image to mono and then re-introducing colour to selected elements of it is very easily done in SEP2 and, of course, most easily done where, as in this image, one part of the composition is of a very different colour to the rest.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 210mm; 6400 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, with selective restoration of colour.

 

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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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