SOMERSET LEVELS 318 – LOOKING TOWARDS GLASTONBURY TOR

 

 


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A very muted winter sunrise, and the view from Tealham Moor towards the iconic landmark of Glastonbury Tor, topped by its ruined church tower.

What can we see?  The water-filled ditch in the foreground is known locally as a rhyne (rhymes with seen); rhynes pervade this wet landscape, and act as liquid fences to the fields.  Follow the line of the rhyne off into the distance and, just right of where it disappears, are two Mute Swans, visible only as two white dots, and these great white birds pervade this landscape too.

And, as already mentioned, off at top right is Glastonbury, instantly recognisable by its Tor.  When these wet flatlands were actually lakes and marshes, the high ground of Glastonbury was an island.  The Romans had a harbour there: Glastonbury is 14 or more miles inland now, but in those far off times seagoing ships could still reach it.  And in addition to its world famous pop music festival, it is the centre of a vast mythology which, amongst other things, encompasses King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, the Holy Grail, the Isle of Avalon and other medieval stories.  I dearly wish that each and every one of the Glastonbury legends were true, that would truly be wonderful, and so it saddens me that I cannot find it within myself to believe them.  That said, this small town really is a unique place, and I feel very fortunate in not living far from it.

And finally, if you look very carefully, you’ll see a line of tall electricity pylons marching across the horizon, on either side of Glastonbury’s high ground – evidence that, here, we are not that far from the Hinkley Point nuclear power station, which is something somehow highly incongruous in this flat, quiet, peaceful landscape.

Composition: the bright line of the rhyne takes my eye straight up to the top left of the frame, and less prominent pale and dark, horizontal lines come across the frame (just below the Tor) from the right margin to meet the rhyne’s vanishing point.  Hence everything drags my eye to upper left, but the Tor is such a strong feature (to me, a local, at least) that my eye swings to upper right too, so that there is a dynamic here.

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 143mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 11 Jan 2019.
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STANTON DREW 59 – WINTER SUNRISE 2

 

 


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Blackbird in winter branches, at sunrise.

Earlier images from this early morning shoot are here: 1 (with context) 2 3 4 5 .  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 further enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 59 – WINTER MORNING 2

 

 


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Peaceful morning.  A slight breeze, and big, fluffy clouds drifting, slowly, as the sun rises.

There is an earlier winter morning image here: 1 .  It will open in a separate window.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 53a 55 56 57 58 .  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 further enlarge it.

Technique: TG-5 at 49mm (equiv); 320 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film simulation; south Bristol; 17 Dec 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 316 – LOOKING EAST, TOTNEY DROVE 2

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged – click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Looking eastwards along Totney Drove, a single track, tarmacked lane, as the sun rose through the mists on this autumn morning.

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.
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STANTON DREW 57 – WINTER SUNRISE

 

 


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Winter’s sunrise and winter’s branches.  

Cold light, hard, bright, dazzling, raw.

 And the branches too: cold and hard,

and dark – dark, piercing, sharp. 

Light arrives, darkness recedes, yes.

But at this season, with barely

a hint of warmth or comfort.

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Earlier images from this early morning shoot are here: 1 (with context) 2 3 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.
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STANTON DREW 55 – BEFORE THE SUN ROSE

 

 


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I arrived in the little village of Stanton Drew just before dawn, waited for the eastern horizon to start lightening, and stayed to watch the sunrise.

There is more context, and another image from this early morning shoot, here .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 1,000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.
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STANTON DREW 54 – THE DAY BEGINS

 

 


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Up early on a clear and very cold, frosty morning.  Scrape the frost off the car and, in the darkness, get into the main road’s already busy traffic – in which the urge to get to the workstation asap turns everyone – I mean, you know, ordinary, mature, otherwise common sensical people – into wannabe racing drivers.  This is the bit I dislike most about such early morning sorties, barrelling down a main road in the darkness, with a lemming, cliffbound, almost touching my rear bumper, and other lemmings coming at me with blazing headlights and a far, far too optimistic opinion of what constitutes a safe overtaking distance, into the face of oncoming traffic, in the dark.

But, mercifully, I’m soon at the turn, breathing a sigh of relief and driving carefully down a fairly narrow, country lane.  On the other hand, I’ve certainly not left the race track behind, as those coming into Bristol from the countryside to work in the early mornings can drive even faster than in the denser traffic on the main roads, but at least these drivers are more used to the narrow lanes and, at least for the most part, mercifully aware that it really is best to slow down when the gap between cars travelling in opposite directions is only a matter of a few inches.

And then distinctly greater solace: I reached the turn off into the little village of Stanton Drew, and the few cars coming at me are moving/driving more slowly still.  I drove through the village, got to the car park beyond the pub and – it was still dark!  Over enthusiastic I may be, but even I could see that, as a photographer, there was little point in going out into the darkness!  And I was parked below a small rise, another part of the car park, that would give a view of the eastern horizon when dawn got its thing going.  I sat, huddled for warmth, in the car.

And then that magical time, the eastern sky started to faintly lighten, and I was out of the car, pulling on Wellington boots, and muffling myself in layers of warm clothing.  I walked up to look at the horizon, quite quickly lost all feeling in my frozen feet –  and found not one but two beginnings.  For, as well as the dawn, across a field from me, the occupants of a large house were also readying to meet the day: several windows were ablaze with warm, welcoming light.

And so to this scene.  The first colours of sunrise bathe the sky while below, in the still dark countryside, the house wakes up.

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 300mm.  The scene was dark.  I used the spot meter to take an exposure reading from the house’s illuminated windows but, even at 12,800 ISO, I only managed 1/150th at f4.8.  Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.
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ARCHIVE 390 – TAKING FLIGHT

 

 


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Another early bus ride into the city, another second breakfast at first light in Hart’s Bakery (context is here) – and as I lurched out of that warm, friendly and bustling establishment, the tints of sunrise were above and, looking up, I saw this.

The bird is a gull (aka seagull), and just about to leap off into the air to scavenge the city’s no doubt enticing refuse.  I have Hart’s Bakery, (s)he has Bristol.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; beside Temple Meads railway station; 9 Dec 2016.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 314 – LOOKING EAST, TOTNEY DROVE (MONO)

 

 


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Looking eastwards along Totney Drove, a single track, tarmac road on Tadham Moor.  Tall Willows are silhouetted by the sunrise, and water-filled rhynes (ditches) flank the road on either side.  The distance is shrouded in fog, but the ghosts of cattle can just be made out in the background on the left.

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.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Tin Type preset; Totney Drove, Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 312 – SUNRISE BEGINS, ALLERTON MOOR (MONO)

 

 


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Driving south across the flatlands towards the village of Mark, in the early morning.

The landscape is low and dark, the night seeming unwilling to relinquish its grip.

But to my left, still below the horizon, the sun starts to light the clouds.

This picture is best seen enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm; 800 ISO; spot metering;  Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Sepia Landscape preset; Allerton Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 30 Nov 2018.
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