SOMERSET LEVELS 346 – LANDSCAPE (MONO)

 

 


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Landscape with trees. 

Can you see the birds’ nest, high up in a fork?  From size and position, I’d guess nesting crows.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Harsh preset and adding a split tone; west of Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Westham; 12 April 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 345 – MALLARD ON THE NORTH DRAIN (MONO)

 

 


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A pair of Mallard, a very common duck, on the calm waters of the North Drain, on Tealham Moor.  The more ornate male is on the left, and the far more camouflaged female on the right.

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 used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 500 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Flat V2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Underexpose EV -1 preset and adding a strong coffee tone; the North Drain on Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels, seen from the Jack’s Drove bridge; 12 Apr 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 344 – MORNING LIGHT, LOOKING EAST ACROSS THE NORTH DRAIN

 

 


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Morning light on the North Drain.  This is not a river, it is a totally man-made waterway that helps drain these lush and often wet flatlands.

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 125mm; 500 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Landscape V2 picture control; looking east, early in the day, from the Jack’s Drove Bridge across the North Drain on Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 12 April 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 343 – SWANS ABOVE TEALHAM MOOR (MONO)

 

 


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This image contains a lot of detail and 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 across Tealham Moor at 7am, with the sun risen and mist rising into the cool air.  There are no sounds, save for those of the light breeze and, as is so often the case here, gently running water.

And then the singing of Mute Swans’ wings, and three of them, flying quite low, heading north across the moor.

(And another bird to see: a Rook, one of the crows, perched on the dark fencing at lower right; its looking towards the camera, and can only be seen as a dark bird with a pale face – the latter in fact being the pale grey bill and the bare, pale grey skin on the face – the bird uses its longish (for a crow) bill for probing into turf and earth, looking for worms, insects, etc, and its bare facial skin is presumably less soiled (every pun intended!) by the dirt than facial feathers would be.)

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 640 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid V2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Green Filter preset and adding a medium coffee tone; looking east across Tealham Moor from just south of Westham, on the Somerset Levels; 3 May 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 328 – GLASTONBURY, FAR AWAY TO THE EAST

 

 


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Looking eastwards across Tealham Moor at sunrise.  A rough track is just visible up to the left of the water-filled ditch which, known locally as a rhyne (rhymes with seen), acts as a field’s fence.

The deep water and glutinous ooze in these ditches are notorious for trapping cattle that come down to the edge to drink and, as happened recently near here, for causing road traffic fatalities where these rhynes run beside poorly maintained, single track, tarmac roads that are often driven over at high speeds.

And in the distance, far off at upper right, the distinctive outline of Glastonbury Tor, with the tower of its ruined church on its summit.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 70mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid V2 picture control; Tealham Moor; 12 Apr 2019.
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BIRDS 109 – MALE BLACKBIRD

 

 


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Gazing at agricultural rubbish on the western edges of Tealham Moor, and loving it, loving the real, bare, unembroidered, what-you-see-is-what-you-get nature and feel of the place – when a male Blackbird appeared on top of a hedge and looked at me.  Well, this is the breeding season and the fierce and fiery hormones of territoriality were coursing through his veins.  He was disinclined to move – I was on his territory, and that was that.

The new Z 6 was in my hand, with the lens I’m married to – the 70-300 zoom – attached, and it was the work of an instant to change the camera to APS-C format – so that my telephoto expanded from 300mm to a more far reaching 450mm – and, very carefully and slowly, I raised the camera to my eye.  The light was dreadful and I needed a high shutter speed to ensure sharpness at the x9 telephoto magnification, and so to wide open at 1/1600th and 3200 ISO – and to very gently squeezing the trigger.  This is a cropped version of one of the photos – 1521×1079 pixels.

Here he is.  The Z 6’s shutter is not loud, and very carefully I took a series of shots, he and I both like statues, eyeing each other.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format at 450mm; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 picture control; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 12 Apr 2019.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 323 – LOOKING SOUTH DOWN KID GATE DROVE (MONO)

 

 


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

Kid Gate Drove, on the western edge of Tealham Moor, surfaced with tarmac and making off to the south – one of my main access roads onto the Levels.

On the left, the stumps of two old pollarded willows, mostly dead now but still with a few new twigs, and with their bark peeling off to expose the pale, dead wood underneath.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Sepia Landscape preset; Kid Gate Drove, west of Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 22 Mar 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 322 – FARM ANIMAL (MONO)

 

 


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Leaning on a farm gate along River Bridge Drove, on the western edges of Tealham Moor, and – inevitably – becoming the centre of attention.

I’ve processed this to bring out detail, and can’t help but see some traces of bewilderment – and perhaps despair too –  in this face.  But then, I eat meat, and it would certainly be wrong to pretend otherwise.

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 300mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Contrast and Structure preset and adding a light coffee tone; River Bridge Drove, southwest of Westham, on the Somerset Levels; 22 March 2019.
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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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ARCHIVE 397 – SELFIE WITH ROAD SIGN (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Quite early on a morning in spring, and Jack’s Drove, the road north across the Tadham and Tealham Moors, on the Somerset Levels, is blocked; 10 Apr 2014.

The jet black area that cuts horizontally through my silhouette is the water-filled ditch that separates the rough pasture of the field at the top of the frame from the road on which I’m standing.  These wet ditches do duty as fences hereabouts.

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

Technique: D700 with 16-35 Nikkor lens at 16mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro2, starting at the Dramatic preset, and restoring the sign’s colour.

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