SOMERSET LEVELS 325 – LONG MOOR DROVE, LOOKING WEST (MONO)

 

 


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A dull, dark morning, and Long Moor Drove makes off westwards across Liberty Moor.

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Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared Low Contrast preset and adding a split tone; Liberty Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 22 Mar 2019.
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ARCHIVE 405 – THE VIEW SOUTHEAST FROM EASTWATER LANE (MONO)

 

 


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Looking southeast from Eastwater Lane, high up on the Mendip plateau in Somerset; 4 Feb 2014.

In their central and western reaches, the Mendip Hills are a steep sided and formidable, west-east barrier of hard, old (Palaeozoic) rocks.  They have the Old Red Sandstone of the Devonian period in their cores, and the Carboniferous Limestone all around.  But especially in their central area, these precipitous slopes give up onto a flattish or gently undulating plateau, with sturdy farms huddling amongst windbreaks, and pubs with evocative names – names that recall my youth and things that have always been a part of my life – the Castle of Comfort, the Miner’s Arms and Hunters Lodge.

Wondering about floods, I drove up onto Mendip yesterday, and spent some time in Eastwater Lane – a favourite place because it is a dead end and so has no through traffic.  I was also around the village of Priddy.  It was a cold, damp day, initially lit by pale, glinting sun, but with dark clouds and spitting rain all too soon coming up on the gusting southerly.  There were flood warnings in several places, but the waters had either subsided, or were only thinly masking the little roads – although all of that may have changed with the storm that hit us later yesterday afternoon and overnight – and today too.

I walked along Eastwater Lane, enjoying  the sight and atmosphere of the Bronze Age round barrows on the hill crests, and seeing where streams running down from the sandstone hilltops disappear underground into caverns as soon as they encounter the far more soluble limestone.

Here was Eastwater Cavern, that I descended as a plump, pudgy teenager, and I tried to recall if I’d become stuck in it or not.  Yes, is the probable answer, as I had to be helped through many a difficult cave by my school friends – but the vast Swildons Hole, from which the Mendip Cave Rescue had to come out and extricate me, is off towards Priddy.  I made the local papers – I think I was 16 at the time.

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Technique: D800 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 400mm; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Film Noir 3 preset.

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BIRDS 109 – MALE BLACKBIRD

 

 


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Gazing at agricultural rubbish on the western edges of Tealham Moor, and loving it, loving the real, bare, unembroidered, what-you-see-is-what-you-get nature and feel of the place – when a male Blackbird appeared on top of a hedge and looked at me.  Well, this is the breeding season and the fierce and fiery hormones of territoriality were coursing through his veins.  He was disinclined to move – I was on his territory, and that was that.

The new Z 6 was in my hand, with the lens I’m married to – the 70-300 zoom – attached, and it was the work of an instant to change the camera to APS-C format – so that my telephoto expanded from 300mm to a more far reaching 450mm – and, very carefully and slowly, I raised the camera to my eye.  The light was dreadful and I needed a high shutter speed to ensure sharpness at the x9 telephoto magnification, and so to wide open at 1/1600th and 3200 ISO – and to very gently squeezing the trigger.  This is a cropped version of one of the photos – 1521×1079 pixels.

Here he is.  The Z 6’s shutter is not loud, and very carefully I took a series of shots, he and I both like statues, eyeing each other.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format at 450mm; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 picture control; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 12 Apr 2019.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 324 – FLOODED ROAD (MONO)

 

 


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Exploring out on Queen’s Sedge Moor, not far south of the tiny city of Wells, in filthy conditions – rain falling from grey overcast, lots of surface water and simply heroic amounts of mud.  And then onto this little single track road heading for the tiny village of Barrow – when a van, obviously driven by a local, someone who knows the place – rounded a corner and came straight at me at speed.  There was no danger, this image was taken with a 450mm telephoto, which gives x9 magnification, and so it was still quite far off – but it put on speed through the surface water and spray flew everywhere.

Lots of familiarisation with this new camera paid off: I just had time to engage Continuous Autofocus, focus onto the number plate, hold down AF-ON and start firing – three frames and then the vehicle was on me and I was off into the (very soggy) roadside grass.  But, as is often the case down there, a cheery wave from the driver – after all, if I choose to stand in the road, its my lookout!

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 Picture Control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Dramatic preset; Queen’s Sedge Moor, south of Wells, on the Somerset Levels; 5 Apr 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 323 – LOOKING SOUTH DOWN KID GATE DROVE (MONO)

 

 


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

Kid Gate Drove, on the western edge of Tealham Moor, surfaced with tarmac and making off to the south – one of my main access roads onto the Levels.

On the left, the stumps of two old pollarded willows, mostly dead now but still with a few new twigs, and with their bark peeling off to expose the pale, dead wood underneath.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Sepia Landscape preset; Kid Gate Drove, west of Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 22 Mar 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 322 – FARM ANIMAL (MONO)

 

 


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Leaning on a farm gate along River Bridge Drove, on the western edges of Tealham Moor, and – inevitably – becoming the centre of attention.

I’ve processed this to bring out detail, and can’t help but see some traces of bewilderment – and perhaps despair too –  in this face.  But then, I eat meat, and it would certainly be wrong to pretend otherwise.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Contrast and Structure preset and adding a light coffee tone; River Bridge Drove, southwest of Westham, on the Somerset Levels; 22 March 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 321 – JACK’S DROVE (MONO)

 

 


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An unreal landscape.  Just a single track road, its verges and, standing up on either side, the precipitous, abrupt lines of machine-cut trees – that are either columns along the nave of some vast, natural, outdoor cathedral or, equally fancifully, sombre beings – Ents perhaps! – standing obediently aside to let us pass through. 

But pass through to where, that is the question. 

The mist is down, and beyond this road and these trees there lies only uncertainty.

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 .  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: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 101mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Plate 1 preset; Jack’s Drove, on the Somerset Levels south of Wedmore; 19 Oct 2018.
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ARCHIVE 404 – EARLY MORNING, TADHAM MOOR (MONO)

 

 

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Beside the single track road across Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels, quite early in the day; 8 Apr 2015.

Three trees, willows I think, fade gradually into the morning mist.

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Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 320 – SUNRISE, TADHAM MOOR

 

 


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Looking east, Tadham Moor: the day begins.

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 .  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 – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels south of Wedmore; 19 Oct 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 319 – WINTER SCENE (MONO)

 

 


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If you want to be standing on Jack’s Drove, looking up its length on this cold morning, this image is best viewed enlarged >>> click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended.

The view northwards up Jack’s Drove on Tadham Moor, in winter.  Mud and water on the road, the flat sides of the bare, machine-cut trees on either side, and in the distance (best seen with the image enlarged), the small, black metal upper works of the little bridge over the North Drain. 

And behind that, the higher ground around Wedmore, which was formerly an island when, not long ago, this drove and all the country around was covered by lakes and swamp.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Warm Tone Paper preset and adding a split tone; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 11 Jan 2019.
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