ARCHIVE 452 – GREY SEAL, ST IVES

 

 


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Grey Seal off the end of Smeatons Pier, St Ives, Cornwall; 21 Sept 2016.

We’ve just spent a few days in Hayle, down near the southwestern tip of Cornwall – and the English weather, always an uncertainty, has been good to us.  When in this part of the world, a visit to beautiful St Ives is always a treat, and especially so on a bright sunny day with the tide in – the colours and light are simply out of this world – maybe because St Ives is surrounded on two or three sides by the bright sea.

Good things about this image?  Well, it was the first time my wife had seen this creature in the wild, which was a huge plus.  We’ve never seen seals there before, and the newly erected warnings about feeding them may mean that, like gulls, crows, Foxes and many others, these denizens of wild coasts have also developed a liking for Man’s tasty titbits.  Certainly an incoming fishing boat threw him some welcome morsels, which were hastily gobbled up – but maybe a Cornish pasty might send him sinking down to the bottom!

And also, just look at the colour of that seawater – for someone brought up along the muddy shores of the Bristol Channel, these clear, emerald waters are beautiful beyond belief.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 438 – YOUNG GULL, YAWNING

 

 


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Gull yawning; St Ives, Cornwall; 20 Oct 2016.

This is most probably a Herring Gull.  The brown speckling on its plumage shows it to be a young bird, probably now just about to enter its first winter – it hatched from its egg this summer.

It was perched on the wall of the West Pier at St Ives, “loafing” as birdwatchers say.  Which means that it had had some food, that it wasn’t desperately hungry, so that it was just hanging around – while still no doubt keeping an eye out for any chance meal that might present itself.

I leant against the wall and, very gradually, inched my way towards it, keeping silent, compact and low.  It shuffled a little, it wasn’t quite sure about me (sensible bird!), but then it relaxed, and I started gradually capturing images.  I could have wished that the D800’s shutter was quieter but, on the plus side, its reliable autofocus did its usual excellent job, and I was able to concentrate on the images, rather than on whether they were sharp or not.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 437 – ON HOLIDAY, TOGETHER

 

 


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A couple strolling over the rocks at St Ives, Cornwall; 27 Sept 2012.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO;  this picture was produced by dragging the midpoint tab on Levels & Curves quite radically to the right, which has had the effect of darkening the image’s darker tones – in fact it has reduced them to black. The paler tones are relatively unaffected – and I’ve given them a lot of warmth in Capture NX2, to boost their colours.

Reality?  Definitely not!  But do I like it? Yes!
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ARCHIVE 414 – THE COLOUR OF THE SEA BENEATH A SMALL BOAT

 

 


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A small, blue boat rides at anchor – a very simple image, that’s really all there is to see.

The only solid facts are the simple, elegantly curving lines of the boat.  Beyond them, the sea’s surface takes on a silvery hue where the light catches it. But in the craft’s brief shadow, this paleness disintegrates and fragments as, approaching closer to the graceful blues of that wooden hull, the emerald greens of the sea deepen and, gently but firmly, draw us further in and deeper down.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO;  St Ives, Cornwall; 21 Sept 2016.

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ARCHIVE 403 – TURNSTONE, ST IVES

 

 


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Turnstone in winter plumage, on the West Pier at St Ives, Cornwall; 21 Sept 2016.

The Turnstone is a small wader (aka shorebird) that derives its name from its habit of turning over stones on beaches in the hope of finding things to eat underneath.

Its usually a bird seen at a distance, small and brown on the foreshore.  But at St Ives in Cornwall, especially when the tide is up, small groups dart about on this seaside resort’s promenade, often literally around the feet of holidaymakers.

And so, being on holiday and carefree(!), I bought a pasty as a second breakfast and sat on a seat munching the golden beast and staring out to sea, when several of these little birds swarmed around my feet.  Well, I can take a hint, and as small pasty morsels were scattered around, these little creatures went into super-speed mode and downed the lot in an instant – for an ex-birder like me, almost a surreal moment!

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO.

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ARCHIVE 396 – PEOPLE DRINKING TEA (MONO)

 

 

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A couple having a hot drink beside the beach in the harbour at St Ives, Cornwall; 10 Oct 2013.

The man is hunched over towards the right, sipping his cuppa, while the woman is inclined towards the left, intent on screwing shut her bottle of milk.  Their two shapes tend to come together somewhat, in the shape of an arch or dome, an effect heightened by her inclined hair bun.  I’ve tried to enhance this impression of togetherness by adding a slight, pale, circular vignette.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Full Dynamic Smooth preset; mild copper toning.

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ARCHIVE 388 – YOUNG GULL AT ST IVES (MONO)

 

 


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Juvenile Herring Gull in the harbour at St Ives, Cornwall; 27 Sept 2012.

I have a liking for photos that appear more like the products of other media and here is something certainly heading that way – perhaps more like a pencil drawing?  I’ve used a Soft Portrait preset, which includes pale vignetting, and the bird appears to be emerging from dense mist, with even its left wing nebulous and obscure.

Using this preset has also almost completely obscured details of the sea below the bird – and this all makes for an artificially isolated vignette of the creature – a sketch in a notebook perhaps.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; conversion to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Classic Portrait preset, and giving the image the look of Ilford Delta 400 mono print film.

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ARCHIVE 383 – THE TIDE COMING IN

 

 


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The tide coming in, seen from the end of Western Pier at St Ives, Cornwall; 27 Sept 2012.

This is a picture of the shallow wavelets of the incoming tide moving over the clean sand in St Ives Harbour – it was taken at the same time as another(!) The Tide Coming In.

I like the dark purple-blues here, the black lines of the incoming wavelets, and golden brown of the submerged sand.  The picture is starting to look more like a painting and, as always, I’m happy with that.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; manipulated in Capture NX2.

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BIRDS 94 – HERRING GULL (MONO)

 

 


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Adult Herring Gull, in winter plumage, beside the harbour in St Ives, Cornwall; 20 Oct 2016.

A piercing stare – (s)he was sitting on top of a car parked on the harbourside, and I eased forwards, taking little steps, often pausing, and making a diagonal rather than head-on approach.  The D800 was set for APS-C format, and so I had 450mm – 9x magnification – to play with.  I made some very low clicking noises with my tongue, and (s)he looked at me.

How I love gulls!  They were all around during my childhood, they are all over Bristol now, and their wild calls are just that – a very welcome reminder of the wild across the city’s skyline.  They fly in to the city very early each morning, while its still dark – because its ok to get lost when the day is just starting.  But they leave before dusk, because getting lost at night is another matter entirely.

Click onto the image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens, used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art High Key preset.
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BIRDS 93 – YOUNG GULL

 

 

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Young gull beside the harbour in St Ives, Cornwall; 20 Oct 2016.

My guess is that this is a young Herring Gull, because the breast streaking is rather diffuse, but it could be a Lesser Black-backed Gull.  Either way, it hatched from its egg in the summer, and is now well on the way towards its first taste of winter.

It is standing by the harbour, it is “loafing” as birders say – it has eaten, it is not starving but, as is often the case with gulls, it is alert to all that is going on around it, and ever ready to dive opportunistically upon anything that presents itself – like your fish and chips!

Click onto the image to open it in another winsow, and click onto that image to enlarge it.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom.
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