SOMERSET LEVELS 467 – FOGGY MORNING (MONO)

 

 


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Pollarded willow appearing out of the mist, early in the morning, beside Swanahard Lane.  Pollarding of trees is a common practice on the Levels; I discussed it recently here .  Its shown well in this tree, which has a really thick trunk, with large numbers of much thinner branches emanating from it: pollarding has been carried out sometime back, possibly more than once, but then discontinued, so that the cut stumps of the branches have grown to great lengths.  The problem here is that the thick, original trunk is leaning slightly so that, as the weight of the thinner branched above it increases, there is the danger that the whole tree will topple over.

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: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Graphite profile; Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 23 Aug 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 464 – EARLY MORNING MIST, SWANSHARD COTTAGES

 

 


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Early morning, and I was in Swanshard Lane, a small, meandering back road on the Somerset Levels north of Glastonbury.  It was misty, and most of my photographs were of the flat landscape – I love taking pictures in murk!  But by the little bridge over the River Sheppey there are a couple of old houses and, as I looked back at them, the rising sun broke weakly through the mist and provided some weak side lighting on their old walls and their tiled, mossy roofs.

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: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 2 Aug 2019.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 463 – EARLY MORNING MIST, HAY MOOR

 

 


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Just before sunrise on a calm morning, looking out towards mists on Hay Moor.  The scene is silent save for a few bird calls, the gentle sounds of running water, and the soft shuffling and grumbling of some nearby cattle.

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: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; looking out towards Hay Moor from Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 2 Aug 2019.
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ARCHIVE 490 – DOWN AN ENGLISH COUNTRY LANE, EARLY ON A MORNING IN SPRING (MONO)

 

 


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Male Blackbird on telephone wires, along Swanshard Lane, southwest of Wells, on the Somerset Levels; 21 Mar 2012.

I was out on the Somerset Levels again early this morning, toting my ungainly Nikkor telezoom once more.  My first stop, to try and get awake after the not too long drive via large infusions of hot coffee and marmalade sandwiches, was along Swanshard Lane, which is a little, winding back road north of Polsham.  This lane just allows two cars to drive past each other in places, but in other places it really is a better idea if one vehicle stops and gets up close and personal with the hedge, while the other vehicle moves carefully past.

And, of course, this is spring and the birdlife is really going for it.  Wonderfully active rookeries were dotted around, and a veritable crescendo of calls included Buzzards, Wrens, Green Woodpeckers, Pheasants and Blue Tits.  And the first Chiffchaffs, little, unobtrusive warblers, are back from sub-Saharan Africa – having flown across the world, they are very probably nesting in the same tree or bush they used last summer.

And as I turned a corner, there was a male Blackbird – all black with a bright yellow bill – sitting on wires and singing his head off.  As he caught sight of me he stopped singing >>> but he didn’t move – he was on his territory and he didn’t feel like being shifted!  So, very carefully, in slow motion, I brought up the 400mm, took a spot meter reading from the sky to produce a silhouette, and started carefully firing frames.

I might have been able to get him larger in the frame, either at or post-capture, but just left of him there was this big, shaggy tree trunk, a very exciting silhouette, and I knew at once that I wanted that in the picture too.  So here it is: down an English country lane, early on a morning in spring.

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 80-400 Nikkor lens at 400mm; 800 ISO; converted into mono with Silver Efex Pro 2.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 421 – IN THE UNDERGROWTH, SWANSHARD LANE

 

 


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

Moving through early morning’s wet undergrowth in Swanshard Lane, and chancing upon this: motionless within an object of natural beauty that it has itself created, a predator waits.

There are other recent spider pictures here: 1 2 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Landscape v2 profile; in the bushes beside Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 23 Aug 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 417 – WILLOW 4 (MONO)

 

 


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These images are certainly best viewed enlarged – click onto each of them to open a larger version in a separate window and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Pollarded willow, old and leaning precariously, beside the River Sheppey in Swanshard Lane.  These are mono versions of a previously posted colour image – see 3 below.

Technique:  these images, both captured by the Nikon Z 6, have been created in two different ways.  The one above was produced by in-camera processing of a raw file, using the camera’s Graphite picture control, and no further processing in Lightroom.  The one below was via the “traditional route”, i.e. via Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro 2,  using the latter’s Landscape preset.   They’re similar, but I have to say – purely subjectively of course – that I prefer the in-camera processing.  My reasons?  Well I think that the lower one is a bit too grey, with too many of the leaves visible; whereas the upper one has more of the leaves and branches burnt out, so focusing more attention on the gnarled trunk.  Which, if any, do you prefer???
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There are other Willow portraits here: 1 2 3 .

There is more about the ancient practice of pollarding here .

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SOMERSET LEVELS 413 – WILLOW 3

 

 


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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.

Pollarded willow, old and leaning precariously, beside the River Sheppey in Swanshard Lane.

And to me there is something human here, someone leaning with arms outstretched, though whether perhaps performing gracefully in some dance or ballet – or distraughtly in pain, anguish or panic, I cannot say.

There are other Willow portraits here: 1 2 .

There is more about the ancient practice of pollarding here .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 82mm; 6400 ISO; spotmetering for high key effect; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 13 Sept 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 410 – EARLY MORNING 16

 

 


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Early morning, and the first shafts of sunlight penetrate the gloom beneath the thick canopies of willows beside the River Sheppey in Swanshard Lane.

Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban settings, and from Kenya too – are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 .

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 140mm; 3200 ISO; spotmetering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 13 Sept 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 407 – BESIDE SWANSHARD LANE (MONO)

 

 


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A fast drive down from Bristol to the Somerset Levels in the early morning, and then lots of coffee – trying to stay awake and focused – in the little layby in Swanshard Lane.  Inevitably, the cattle in the field on the other side of the River Sheppey are curious, and they come over to stare, shuffle around and murmur.  The only sounds are those of the river, the light breeze, some far off crows, and these inquisitive animals.

The shaded vegetation in the foreground is along the top of the far bank of this diminutive waterway, while the pasture further away, more out in the open, is lighter and slightly misty.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 140mm; 6400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Cool Tones 2 preset and adding a tone; Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 23 Aug 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 405 – EARLY MORNING 11

 

 


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There’s a lot of detail here – this picture 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.

Pollarded Willows beside the River Sheppey, early on a misty morning.  Being top heavy due to the pollarding, all of these trees are leaning in towards the river; ultimately they will topple over  – there is more about the ancient practice of pollarding here .

Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban areas – are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor at 82mm; 6400 ISO; jpeg created and processed in-camera from a Raw file, using the Charcoal profile; further processing in Lightroom, including the use of a split tone; the River Sheppey beside Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 23 Aug 2019.
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