SOMERSET LEVELS PICTURE GALLERY 6 – POSTS 51-60

SOMERSET LEVELS PICTURE GALLERIES

I’m currently posting images from my large archive of photos from the Somerset Levels, an area not far from where I grew up that holds particular meaning and attraction for me.  These photos are being posted singly, with full text.

To make viewing of these images easier for those with little time to spare, I’m also posting groups of these images with minimal titles.  This is the 6th gallery – you can find the earlier galleries here: 1 2 3 4 5

Clicking onto each image will open a larger version in a separate window: doing this often enhances the image.

51: Water Lilies in the North Drain, Tealham Moor; 2009.

52: Sunrise, Totney Drove; 2018.

53: Early morning, Ash Moor; 2019.

54: Looking south, Tadham Moor; 2019.

55: The poplars at Godney; 2018.

56: In the undergrowth, Swanshard Lane; 2019.

57: Teasel along Tripps Drove; 2012.

58: The road south across Tealham Moor; 2014.

59: Trees in mist, Tadham Moor; 2011.

60: Sugar cubes in Baillies’ Cafe, Burnham-On-Sea; 2012.



ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 26 – CLOUD, BLASTED BY THE SUNRISE


This is amongst my favourite pictures, from long ago: cloud caught in the rays of the rising sun, over our garden; 5am, 7 Jul 2005.

This picture shows a pure, powerful, raw, Minimal, natural beauty that blows me apart – if I’m looking for worthwhile things in life, here is one, one of my favourite pictures!

I like the blue and pale orange colour palette. And to increase the picture’s effect I’ve rotated it 90 degrees anticlockwise, so that the left hand edge of the strikingly linear, now vertical cloud appears blasted by the sun’s rays and, perhaps as a result of this solar barrage, to be shedding shattered cloudlets from its right hand edge.

Technique: OM-4 with 150mm Zuiko lens; Fuji Provia 400 colour slide film push processed to 3200 ISO, giving wonderful grain; rotated.

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE

This is a new category on this blog – Archive Still Life studies.  The Still Life definition will certainly be followed loosely – e.g. some studies may only have been made “still” by the split second opening of the camera’s shutter – and my objective will be to use as many different types / genres of subject matter as possible.  Some images will be Minimalist and, in general, I try to make simpler images, rather than cramming them with visual content.

Some new Still Life studies will (hopefully!) continue to appear.



ARCHIVE: LEVELS 55 – THE POPLARS AT GODNEY


Sunrise over the group of trees – Poplars, I think – on the outskirts of Godney village.  Sited as they are on a small rise in the ground, these tall and slender trees are something of a landmark in this ultimately flat countryside.

And this small rise in the ground is important too.  For, according to a 1991 book on place names, Godney refers not to a god, but to an Anglo-Saxon named Goda, who presumably had some sort of settlement / farm on this hill, when it was a small island in the vast area of marshes and lakes that occupied the Somerset Levels before they were drained for agriculture – “ney”, in Old English, means island.  In AD 971, a manuscript named this place as Godeneia.

I grew up not far from here and, for most of my life, the place names were just, well, place names.  So that it came as a real revelation to find out that the majority of these names originated in Anglo-Saxon times (c. AD 410-1066) and they in fact actually mean something, as in Goda’s island.  It helps to bring this simple but intriguing landscape to life.  There are newer names too, which result from the Norman invasion in 1066.  And, more fascinating to me, there are also older, Celtic names, ie pre-dating the Anglo-Saxons: eg river names like Avon and Severn.

The pure naturalness of this image may be reduced by the telephone wire, which I may have been able to remove post-capture but, really, my aim is to show this area as it is, rather than as some manicured ideal.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Godney, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.



ARCHIVE: LEVELS 52 – SUNRISE, TOTNEY DROVE


 

A misty morning on the Somerset Levels: Totney Drove, a single track, tarmac lane makes off eastwards across Tadham Moor.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 181mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera ASTIA/Soft profile; Totney Drove, Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 19 Oct 2018.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.



STILL LIFE 261 – THE VIEW INTO A FISH AND CHIP SHOP DURING THE PANDEMIC


Looking in through the windows of a fish and chip shop during the pandemic, just as the sun was rising.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 320 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Modern 01 profile; south Bristol; 1 June 2021.



ARCHIVE: LEVELS 50 – GLASTONBURY TOR


Sunrise over Glastonbury Tor; 23 Nov 2012.

As I’ve most probably made clear by now, the Somerset Levels are just that – level.  The areas that I frequent have hills on the horizon –  the Mendips to the north, the Poldens to the south – but essentially they are flatlands.  And usually damp or downright wet flatlands at that.

But, that said, there are isolated small hills in this area which were islands when these flats were marshlands and open water.  And at the eastern end of the Levels that I visit most frequently, there is one hill that is truly iconic, Glastonbury Tor.

Why iconic?  Well, it is a real landmark, visible from far around, and the ruined church tower on its summit, seen here, makes it instantly recognisable, even from far away.   And it has a vast and intriguing history, certainly going far back into the Anglo-Saxon era.  At the time that King Henry VIII destroyed the Catholic monasteries and founded the Church of England, the monastery at Glastonbury was second in terms of power and prestige only to the church’s spiritual centre, Canterbury.

And, in addition to all of this solid history, Glastonbury has a vast swathe of associated myths and legends – as the last resting place of the little known King Arthur, for example.  And then the supposed associations with Joseph of Aramathea and the Holy Grail.  And there is of course its current status as a centre for spirituality and New Age beliefs and, as the site (not far from the town) of Britain’s most famous music festival.

I feel truly grateful to live not distant from this enigmatic and fascinating place.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.



ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 3 – MEGALITH 1 (MONO)


 

Standing ritual stone – or megalith – erected in prehistoric times at Stanton Drew, south of Bristol.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 200 ISO; LightroomSilver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art Process preset, and giving the image the look of Kodak Tri-X 400 TX Pro black and white film; Stanton Drew; 6 Nov 2017.

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE

This is a new category on this blog – Archive Still Life studies.  The Still Life definition will certainly be followed loosely – e.g. some studies may only have been made “still” by the split second opening of the camera’s shutter – and my objective will be to use as many different types / genres of subject matter as possible.  Some images will be Minimalist and, in general, I try to make simpler images, rather than cramming them with visual content.

Some new Still Life studies will (hopefully!) continue to appear.



STILL LIFE 258 – PACKET OF PARACETAMOL, PARTLY USED, AT SUNRISE (MONO)


The rising sun shines in through the kitchen window, lighting up a partly used packet of pills on the granite worktop.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 30mm (equiv) in Microscope mode; 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the B&W 08 profile; in our kitchen; 18 May 2021.



STILL LIFE 255 – BUS SHELTER, BACKLIT BY THE SUNRISE


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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 160 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 9 Mar 2021.



STILL LIFE 254 – RED STRIPE

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Walking at sunrise and looking down.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 40mm (equiv); 200 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 9 Mar 2021.

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