STANTON DREW 43 – VILLAGE LIFE 10

 

 

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Looking out from the village at sunrise, on a cold and very misty day.  Using a telephoto to isolate a small part of the scene.

An introduction to this Village Life series can be found here: 1Further images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   Each will open in a new window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again – certainly recommended >>> can you see the two birds in the tall tree?  Woodpigeons, I think.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Stanton Drew; 6 Nov 2017.
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STILL LIFE 169 – DARK CAR (MONO)

 

 

Dark car

racing from the light,

drawn down by the white line,

drawn down into darkness.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Architectural preset; fast road up over the Mendip Hills, above Compton Martin, Somerset; 24 Nov 2017.
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BIRDS 100 – AN IMAGE CLOSE TO MY HEART (MONO)

 

 


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So, my 100th post on birds, creatures that have in so many ways had a profound influence on my life.  I have many images that might have filled this 100th slot, but here is one, a very simple one, that has a very special place in my heart.  It shows a male Blackbird, a species of thrush, sitting on wires down a little country lane.

I have of course been a lover of birds for a long, long time.  But, beyond that, I am in love with natural things, with Nature itself, and to me this image powerfully evokes Nature’s elemental drama and grandeur.  Why?  Well, when I look at this I see this little creature, sure of himself, perched on his territory and singing powerfully to assert that fact.  And not overawed in the least by the stark and wild vastness of Nature all around, but actually eminently at home in it, a part of it all, and in his way just as wild as all the rest.

The original text for this image is given below:

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, 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 nested in last summer.

And as I turned a corner, there was this 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 image to see a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D700 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 400mm; 800 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2.
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BRISTOL 126 – PARADISE

 

 


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As you open this post, I can hear you thinking “This is Paradise?!  Has FATman finally lost it???”.  Well, to me, in a way, yes it is paradise.  Why do I think this?  Have I finally lost the plot?  And, then again, how can I have lost something I’ve never really found in the first place?

OK, explanations.  This is a little cut through between two back lanes in south Bristol, that I regularly pass through during the 5 mile walks that I use to relax and free my mind and to (hopefully) reduce my waistline.  Its a very simple little place.  Just some grass that is roughly cut by the local council, and a stream flowing through a little culvert – water which, despite the houses close in upon either side, probably explains why this lovely little spot has never been built on.

And then there’s this absolutely beautiful and serene tree, with a canopy like some vast umbrella, which looks just ideal for sitting under on some reflective day, although I have yet to do so.  Add to all this a very friendly little ginger and white cat who has lost most of his tail, and for the brief times that I’m within this quiet little space, I feel uplifted and very much at peace, and so … paradise …

And you’re seeing this delightful little spot perhaps at its best.  The cat’s not there, to be sure, but the grass has been cut, the tree is ablaze with autumn’s hues, and all is shrouded by a soft, autumn mist.

I have for a long time, perhaps for all of my life in fact, hankered after the simple life – I warmly recall my first years in Kenya, without phone, TV or radio, but with geckos chattering back and for to each other across my living room –  and those feelings have only accelerated since my retirement from work four years ago.  Modern life and technology seem only to make things ever more complex and rushed, but I’m after far more simple pleasures and a far more leisurely pace – and maybe this little, unpretentious space goes some way towards symbolising those ideals.

The first image in this series, along with context, can be found here.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 57mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film preset; Whitchurch, south Bristol; 2 Nov 2017.

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ARCHIVE 328 – AUTUMN ON THE HILLS

 

 


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Autumnal colours, lit by early morning sunshine, at the Priddy Mineries Reserve, high up on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 15 Nov 2003.

The picture consists of three distinct layers. A band of golden reeds forms a thin strip across the bottom of the frame; and above this a band of slightly greener reeds, with their reflections in the still pool.

Above this, and occupying the rest of the picture, the black silhouettes of the trees stand up in front of a bright, straw coloured background with strong, greener vegetational elements (bracken) running upper left to lower right.

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

Technique: OM-4 with 300mm Zuiko lens; tripod; Fuji Velvia 50 colour slide rated at 64 ISO.

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STILL LIFE 147 – SHADOWS OF THE NATURAL WORLD

 

 


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A meeting of the Natural and Unnatural worlds; shadows of roadside trees on bland, precise, sterile, retail architecture.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Broadmead shopping centre, Bristol; 11 Aug 2017.
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ARCHIVE 308 – ASH SAPLING

 

 


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Young, red leaves bursting out from an Ash sapling in our back garden; 26 June 2013.

Soft focus versions of this scene have appeared in an earlier post.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO.
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ARCHIVE 307 – HAZEL, A (FOR ONCE!) PLANNED IMAGE

 

 


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Hazel leaves, in our back garden; 25 June 2013.

This was captured with a definite visual plan – the eye enters the frame from the left, very soon hits the brightest component, and then moves rightwards and upwards along the “tail” of darker objects leading to the upper right corner of the frame.  The eye might then exit the frame in the upper right corner: having the final element of the “tail” there might stop it, or it might have been better to have this corner dark.

I never cease to marvel at the beauty of Nature.  What am I looking at here, what is my camera recording?  Well, light that has travelled 93 million miles from Our Star, to partially shine through a small component of one of Earth’s myriad lifeforms.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 250 ISO.

UPDATE: I rather casually mention here that viewers’ eyes will be entering the image from the left – you can find more on this very real phenomenon here.

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ARCHIVE 297 – AUTUMN CARPET (TWO VERSIONS)

 

 


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Our Hazel, dark and massive and still with a few pale leaves, stands proud of its autumn carpet; 18 Nov 2013.

The extreme wideangle lens is pointing downwards, and the leaves in the foreground appear to be close under the camera.  Everything left of centre leans out towards the left, and everything to the right (including our fence, top right) vice versa.

I think I prefer the colour version here, its how it was or, rather, its what I saw through the viewfinder – and I love this garden and its autumn colours.

The mono version is quite different.  Its much darker, its really built around darkness, darkness that is cut / illuminated by those white leaves, both sprinkled across the ground and still hanging from the tree.  Both versions would benefit from larger reproduction I think, the mono version more so.

Which version do you prefer?

Click onto the images to open larger versions in separate windows.

Technique: D800 with Sigma 12-24 lens at 12mm; 800 ISO; the mono version created with Silver Efex Pro 2’s Floral Style preset.

UPDATE: my apologies for not visiting others’ blogs as often as usual, but time is tight at the moment.

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ARCHIVE 296 – TIMBER (MONO)

 

 


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Stack of mangrove poles; Lamu, coastal Kenya; July 1978.

The (Western) human eye scans images from left to right, and from top to bottom. Here, my eye enters the image from the left, and then travels right along the parallel poles, until arrested by the vertical pole and its binding, at the far end – positioning the vertical pole on the right of the picture does not work so well.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO; Silver Efex Pro.
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