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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SOMERSET LEVELS 317 – FLOODS, TEALHAM MOOR (MONO)

 

 


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Flooding on Tadham Moor.  Early morning, looking northeast, with the much higher ground of the Mendip Hills just glimpsed, far away on the horizon.

Composition: the frame is crossed by paler and darker bands which, apart from that in the foreground, are more or less horizontal – the land, still dark on the early morning; and the paler water and sky.  The more sloping band of water in the foreground adds a dynamic – its almost coming out to meet us – and its animated by its small, bright reflection.  To me, the sky’s bright reflection in this foreground water brings the scene to life: it was moving as the clouds moved and, valuing it, I chased it up the road to get it into the frame.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Dark Sepia preset;  Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 11 Jan 2019.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 313 – LAPWINGS, TEALHAM MOOR

 

 


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Driving westwards across Tealham Moor, and a long line of birds, high up above, caught my eye.  There was no traffic on the narrow road, so I stopped, watched and waited, wondering where they might be headed.  They came lower and wheeled about overhead, and I saw them to be Lapwings (Vanellus vanellus), a type of large plover, that form large flocks in winter.  I started taking pictures.

Here, the flock is flying across in front of a bare, winter tree, and there are a few smaller, darker birds below them, which are Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

Compositionally, the flock is almost “resting on top” of the tree, the combination of the birds and tree making a ‘T’ shape within the image.

Click onto the image 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 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 30 Nov 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 303 – LOOKING WEST OVER TEALHAM MOOR, AT SUNRISE (2)

 

 


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I lived in Kenya and loved the huge, towering skies of Africa.  Nearly 30 years ago (time flies!!!), I returned to the UK and have become (more of less) used to living here once more, although not subscribing to or believing in some of the things that seem to make modern Britain tick.

But I’ve never lost my memories of those tall African skies,  and the wide open skies above the Somerset Levels always remind me of them – and especially those over the Tadham and Tealham Moors, which I never tire of visiting.

This picture looks west over the rough and often untidy pasture of Tealham Moor at sunrise.  The cattle are grazing, there are clouds in the tall sky above, but the horizon is hidden behind a bank of mist at ground level.

There is another image from this early morning shoot here: 1 .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 302 – LOOKING WEST OVER TEALHAM MOOR, AT SUNRISE

 

 


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Having taken so many pictures of the Somerset Levels, thousands probably over the years, finding further photographic inspiration there is often not easy – and especially so when the light conditions are unexciting.  But on Friday, starting from home early, I got down there at the start of the day and instantly found myself in a visually mobile world of shifting mist and fog banks, with the sun rising behind them.

This is actually a shot from towards the end of the spectacle, looking westwards over Tealham Moor.  The sun was rising from behind thick banks of cloud along the eastern horizon, which had the effect of reducing the full force of its brilliance.  Here, looking westwards, the upper band of cloud is illuminated by the first of the sun’s rays as it emerged from the thick cloudbanks, while the thin ribbon of cloud below, and the misty surface of the moor, had yet to be fully illuminated.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.
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ARCHIVE 376 – TEALHAM MOOR, LOOKING WEST (MONO)

 

 


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Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels south of Wedmore: looking west along one of the water-filled ditches that border the rough track that is Tealham Moor Drove; 26 June 2015.

The water-filled ditch or rhyne (rhymes with seen) acts as the boundary between the track (which is unseen on the right) and the fields on the left – I suppose you could call it a liquid fence.  Its surface is covered in waterweed, and should man or beast be crazy enough to venture into it, the water will be at least waist deep, while the thick, oozing, glutinous black mud on the bottom will suck down your legs and not let go.  Cows coming down to drink do lose their footing and fall in, after which a tractor will be needed to haul them out.

The trees on the left – pollarded Willows – have also featured in images here and here.

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

Technique: D700 with 12-24 Sigma lens at 24mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset.

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ARCHIVE 370 – WATER LILIES IN THE NORTH DRAIN

 

 


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Water Lilies in the North Drain, Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 25 July 2009.

I like the Minimalism here – just thin, green plants against a dark background – looking almost as if they are floating up into the air on a dark night! 

And then there is the way the leaves weave a sinuous line back through the picture, and the increasing dimness of the stems of those further away.

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 200 ISO; spotmeter reading taken from the nearest leaf.
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ARCHIVE 369 – THE VIEW WEST AT SUNRISE

 

 


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Looking west along the North Drain from the Jack’s Drove bridge on Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels, at sunrise; 22 Nov 2013.

I’d raced to Tealham Moor to catch the sunrise, and just before the scene was blasted by the light of the rapidly rising sun (see this image), there was this beautiful soft light, with clouds that were faintly tinged pink, off to the west.

A group of three Mute Swans are on the water at lower left, and I’m pleased because this whole scene is just as I remember it.

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

Technique: D800 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 301 – FLOODS: AN OLD COLOUR TRANSPARENCY

 

 


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This picture is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it.

Soon after I started digital photography, I scanned a lot of my colour slides and many of these scans have appeared here.  Just recently I’ve been looking back through these hundreds of scans, searching mainly for unposted images from Kenya, but other images have resurfaced too.  And I’ve also found Lightroom to be adept at processing these scans – and so to some “pictures from the past”.

I take very few pictures on the Somerset Levels these days because, having taken so very many in the past, most subjects feel like I’m “just doing it all over again”.  Instead, the Levels are more for birding and walking now – and for simply being out in calm, quiet, out of the way countryside.  But here is a scan from my film days that I chanced upon, and which instantly caught my eye.  It shows a flooded track (drove) on (I think) Tealham Moor, and I’m attracted by both the colours and the composition.

The colours are a little different from the original, especially in the sky, and I’d guess that this image has already received some processing in Nikon’s Capture NX2.  The composition is dominated by the flooded track which disappears off towards the horizon, and (more so) by its emergent right bank, which starts off up towards upper left, and which then cuts right down across the image into the lower right corner.  This picture has evidently been taken with a strongly wide angle lens.

 

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ARCHIVE 359 – SWANS OVER TEALHAM

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window.

Mute Swans about to land on flooded Tealham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 7 Feb 2014.

Much against good sense, I ventured down onto the Levels recently, to my habitual haunts on Tealham and Tadham Moors.  Not daring to take my usual cross-country route because of the many places where even small amounts of flooding might cut it, I drove down the main A38 road south from Bristol to Highbridge, and then went eastwards into the flatlands along another, relatively large road.  All was well on these main roads, but as soon as I got onto the smaller lanes, problems with water appeared.

Tealham and Tadham were mostly submerged, with just just the roads sticking up above the waters and little traffic about, but the floods in this more northerly part of the Levels are nothing like those further south, south of the Polden Hills, where whole villages are being overwhelmed, main roads have been cut for weeks, cutting edge pumping technology has been brought in from Holland, and the Army has been called in to help the local people.

The image is starting to look rather unphotographic, more like a painting maybe, and I always feel good when this happens.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO.
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