ARCHIVE 555 – CROW ON A FALLEN TREE (MONO)

 

 


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Carrion Crow perched on a fallen tree; Tadham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 31 Mar 2014.

Early in the day, I pulled bleary eyed into the Magic Carpark, stumbled out of the car – and saw this crow.  Praying that it wouldn’t move, and all fingers and thumbs, I readied the camera, turned and – it was still there!  In fact it stayed there for sometime.

The tree is a casualty of the recent severe flooding.  It was probably not standing vertically before, but then its roots had been able to find sufficient purchase in the soil.  But, saturate that soil with floodwater for many weeks and turn it into something like blancmange or wet rice pudding, and the roots were simply not up to the task of keeping the great bulk of trunk and branches above them upright.

I went for a pure silhouette, with the sky completely burnt out, for simplicity – a Minimalist approach.  To me, the few branches entering the frame at upper right serve to balance the composition.  The adding of a blue tone takes the scene further away from reality.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Classic Portrait preset, and adding a Cyanotype tone.

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ARCHIVE 547 – TADHAM MOOR (MONO)

 

 

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Floods on Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 23 Nov 2012.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, using the High Key 2 preset as a starting point.

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ARCHIVE 546 – RED STRING IN THE MORNING (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Tadham Moor, looking east on a summer’s morning; 27 Aug 2014.  LOL! >>> I still remember when first posting this, that it was pointed out that its not string at all, it is in fact baler twine >>> but the title still appeals, so I’m going to stand corrected, retain the post’s original title but make corrections in the text below!!!  

Crouching down low, just above the tops of the grass, and seeing the world through a 12mm lens – seeing far more at one time than the unaided human eye can ever see sharply.

I’m  at the southern end of Jack’s Drove, where it meets another little back road, which is just out of view behind the tall grasses on the right – this other road, Totney Drove, runs on eastwards, between the two tall trees in the distance.

Instead of using fences, the damp fields around here are bounded by water-filled ditches.  Covered in floating water plants, the ditch bordering Totney Drove catches the light as it heads towards the two trees, while the one bordering Jack’s Drove is in shadow, at bottom left.

The soil here is very loose and wet and, on the corner of these two little back roads, there have been worries that the roads’ thin tarmac may give way under the weight of passing vehicles and slide down into the wet ditches, and so sheets of corrugated iron (visible lower right) have been driven into the soft ground, to try to prevent this.

To further warn passersby of the danger, a line of little sticks with red baler twine tied around them has been set up, but these have been ravaged by the elements and the twine hangs loose.

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

Technique: D800 with 12-24 Sigma lens at 12mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Contrast and Structure preset and selectively restoring colour.

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ARCHIVE 531 – FANTASY IN INFRARED

 

 


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Mist on Tadham Moor, and the road past the Magic Carpark given the look of colour infrared film, courtesy of Nik’s excellent Color Efex Pro 4 image editing software.

One of my aims with this blog is to present a variety of imagery.  This is both to stimulate and perhaps even enthral those looking at these posts – and also to keep myself on my toes in terms of imagination and creativity.  Producing a blog with a constant theme might be a way to attract a large and loyal number of viewers who enjoy that theme, but I have to hold up my hands and admit to not being able to resist going here and there, following where my imagination takes me, and here is an example.

Its a core belief of mine that its always worth looking long and hard at images – and I (and many others too) have found that returning to an image weeks, months or even years after it was captured can and does inspire new ideas and new ways of looking at it.  Indeed, some photographers make a point of never working on their images soon after they have been taken but, instead, of always coming back to them some days or even weeks after the event – with fresh minds and well rested eyes.

I am not returning to this particular image long after it was taken, but I have subjected it to another of my core routines, which is to look at it long and hard before deciding upon what, if anything, to do with it.  What sorts of things to I think about in this situation? – well, colour/mono/both, possible types of crop, potential for rotation/flipping, effects of various software edits, etc.

And experimenting (which is another way of saying “playing around”!) in Color Efex Pro 4 I came upon this infrared colour film filter, and was instantly attracted by its effect here.  There are of course the mysterious silhouettes and the warm orange glow, but this is not like simply using some kind of orange filter because the colours of the tarmac road and its grass verges are still faintly visible.  Whether this image will stand the test of time – whether I’ll still like it in a month’s or year’s time – is another matter but, for now, here it is.

Other thoughts.  Does it represent reality?  No, of course not but, as I say, I like the look of it, and if I like the look of it – its in! 🙂  

And fantasy – well, ok, what’s out there beyond those “last two trees”?  If you’re a TOLKIEN fan, are we standing on the edge of the desolation wrought by the dragon SMAUG, looking out on a land ravaged by his fire and covered by rolling clouds of glowing smoke?  I’ll go along with that.  And who, or what, is going to appear in all that smoke, dimly seen at first but growing ever more stark, as they trudge up this road trying to escape a vast and monstrous foe that, for all of their lives, has just been an old and half-forgotten legend, the stuff of childhood nightmares, the stuff of fireside tales?

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 230mm; 200 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4; the Somerset Levels; 8 Apr 2015.

UPDATE 2020: well, its considerably more than a year after this image was posted, and yes I certainly do still like it >>> and I am certainly still a fan of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings!

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ARCHIVE 530 – SUNRISE, TADHAM MOOR

 

 


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Sunrise over Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 9 Jan 2015.

A very quiet and simple scene.  Totney Drove, a single track, metalled lane, passes through a small group of tall willows that, as so frequently happens with such silhouettes, reminds me of an exploding artillery shell.  The trees are reflected in the still waters of the rhyne (rhymes with seen), the water-filled ditch which borders the road and which acts as a field boundary.

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 – highly recommended.

Technique: D700 with 16-35 Nikkor lens at 31mm; 1000 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.
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ARCHIVE 515 – A FARMER AND HIS WIFE, OFF TO CHECK THEIR CATTLE AS THE DAWN BREAKS

 

 


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A farmer and his wife, off in their Land Rover to check on their cattle out on Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels, after the long, late November night; 27 Nov 2014.

I was having a second breakfast of hot coffee and thick, bitter marmalade sandwiches in the Magic Carpark, when this old couple drove by, waving and smiling in a very friendly way, and made off down the foggy track to make sure that all was well with their cattle after the long, cold night.

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 70-300 Nikkor lens at 86mm; 6400 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

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ARCHIVE 514 – RAINY DAY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Rainy day on Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 14 May 2013.

As the rain poured down, the view through the window of my car, towards a nearby Willow.

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

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot at 140mm (35mm equiv); 200 ISO; conversion to mono, selective colour restoration and toning in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 456 – SUNRISE, TOTNEY DROVE

 

 


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

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: 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.
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ARCHIVE 462 – FATman WITH A FISHEYE (MONO)

 

 


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The FATman using a fisheye lens on Tadham Moor on the Somerset Levels; 11 Dec 2013.

The tall, dark but not handsome shadow lower left is me, taking this photo with a full-frame fisheye, which has a 180 degree field of view across the diagonal.  I’m tilting this wild lens slightly downwards, and so the horizon is slightly bowed upwards.

I’m standing at a small crossroads that I know very well and love very much.  To the left, out of view, is the Magic Carpark.  Straight on is Totney Drove, which rolls on westwards towards Rattling Bow and Westham.  And to the right is Jack’s Drove, which I often mention, making off northwards towards Tealham Moor.  Jack’s Drove is flanked by one of the water-filled ditches, the rhynes (rhymes with “scenes”), that are the field boundaries in this very damp area, and pale lengths of corrugated iron have been built into the rhyne’s bank to (try to!) prevent the road from collapsing into the waterway.

Technique: D700 with Sigma 15mm fisheye lens; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Triste2 preset.

UPDATE: to me, this is a very well known and indeed, treasured, spot – very simple and completely real, and I ask little else.  But time moves on.  Back behind my shadow there is a big dark tree with something pale standing up in front of it.  The dark tree is in fact two big dark trees, while the pale object is the dead stump of a third tree.  The three of these trees were standing beside a rhyne (see above).

Well, four points in time.  I have a wonderful book of black and white pictures from the Levels: Wetland – Life in the Somerset Levels.  This book was published in 1986, and it has a picture of this spot, showing all three of these trees alive and in full leaf: that white stump was the largest and hence I imagine the oldest of these three trees.  Then there is this picture from 2013: the largest tree is now a dead, white stump but the other two are still alive.  However, I visited the spot after much flooding on 31 Mar 2014, and one of the other two trees had toppled over, while the other was leaning at a dangerous angle – that is the problem here when flooding saturates the ground, the peat and clay soils are converted to something approaching the consistency of blancmange, so that the roots of any leaning tree are unable to keep it upright, and it topples over – the scene in 2014 is here .  And so to today, 2020: the old white stump still stands here, but the stumps of the other two are barely visible, having been moved around when the farmers dredge out the rhynes every year.

As Dylan Thomas put it, “Time passes.  Listen.  Time passes.”.

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ARCHIVE 459 – EARLY MORNING ON THE MOORS (MONO)

 

 


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Early morning on the Tealham-Tadham Moors, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 28 Aug 2013.

Rhyne (rhymes with scene) is the Somerset term for water-filled ditches that help drain the land and often, as here, act as field boundaries.  This rhyne’s surface is covered in floating waterweed and, in the foreground, are the tall, pointed leaves of wild iris, which love these waterside locations.

The two prominent trees are in the fact the ends of two rows of such trees that line the undulating, single track, tarmac road just visible lower right of them.  The two, pale sheets of corrugated iron set up against the rhyne’s bank on the right of the picture are held there by stout wooden stakes, in an attempt to prevent the road collapsing down into the mud and water. 

The point here being that there is no solid rock supporting this landscape.  Below this countryside are over 60 feet of sodden clays and peat – “rocks” easily demolished by your shovel if not by your bare hands – such that everything is soft, yielding and unstable.  Stand beside this road as a tractor goes by and you are suddenly rising and falling as if on some rural trampoline, which can be quite shocking for those unused to it.

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 Sigma 12-24 lens at 12mm; 400 ISO; conversion to mono and split toning with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Pinhole preset.

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