KENYA 80 – THE LUSH FARMLANDS OF THE WEST

 

 


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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 enlarge it yet again.

Farms between Kisumu and Kakamega in the lush and fertile, far west of Kenya; April 1979.

This western part of Kenya lies just to the east of Lake Victoria, and benefits from the big storms that form over the lake and then drift eastwards, bringing plentiful rain.  Add all this water to fertile soils and high, year-round temperatures, and this is wonderfully productive farming country.  But on the downside there is malaria here, and this is where it first got its claws into me.

The tall plants in the foreground are bananas – there were many varieties of bananas of all sizes and colours here, including simply delicious ones used for cooking.  It may be more a dish from Uganda, but I simply adored cooked banana – matoke, I think it was called – with groundnut sauce.

Some of the local people can just be seen, up to the left of the two houses with metal roofs in the foreground.

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO; Lightroom.
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STILL LIFE 227 – SPRINGTIME IN CHURCH LANE 4

 

 


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This is probably the last of my pictures from Church Lane in spring, at least for the present.  And, concluding where I started, this is the image that started me off photographing there in the first place.

I was there on a beautiful spring morning, standing below the huge Horse Chestnut tree, and I looked through the viewfinder, saw this scene  – and was instantly hooked on the exploding mass of greenery around me.

Other images from these two springtime morning shoots in Church Lane can be found via these links: with context, here; also here and here and here !

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Pro Neg Hi film simulation; Church Lane, Whitchurch, Bristol; 4 May 2018.
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STILL LIFE 225 – SPRINGTIME IN CHURCH LANE 3 (MONO)

 

 


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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.

Earlier images from these two springtime morning shoots in Church Lane can be found via these links: with context, here; also here and here.

In this picture, I’m in under the Horse Chestnut tree’s canopy, looking up at it with a very wide angle lens, trying to give an idea of the size and spread of this beautiful living being.  The tree is now leaning into the picture, and rather than reproducing the luscious greens of springtime, presentation in toned black and white simplifies things slightly.

Technique: X-T1 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro2, starting at the Soft Orange preset and adding a tone; Church Lane, Whitchurch, Bristol; 7 May 2018.
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STILL LIFE 224 – SPRINGTIME IN CHURCH LANE 2

 

 


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The Natural World’s great springtime outburst of growth and activity along a small lane on the outskirts of Bristol – there are further images, and context, hereThere is another image here.

Above: the vast Horse Chestnut, shot with a 15mm (equiv) wide angle lens on the X-T1, which gives the impression of the tree spreading out – reaching out maybe – above and around the camera.  Its worth clicking onto this image to open another version in a separate window, and then clicking onto that image, to fully get this effect.  400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; 7 May 2018.

Below: another image of this tree’s new leaves, backlit by the rising sun.  X-T2 at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; 4 May 2018.  This image can also be enlarged by clicking onto it, and then clicking onto the larger image that opens: recommended.
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ARCHIVE 355 – LOOKING SOUTHEAST FROM EAST WATER LANE (MONO)

 

 


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Looking southeast from East Water Lane, on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 7 Aug 2014.

The eastern side of the lane, with a line of Hawthorns rising above a dry stone wall of the local limestone.  In the distance, trees line the road that continues on eastwards towards the Hunters Lodge Inn, Green Ore, and the main highway that runs down the Mendips’ steep southern slopes into the tiny city of Wells.

Back beyond the nearest tree, to its left, several other low trees are faintly seen out in the field.

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

Technique: D800 with 12-24 Sigma lens at 12mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Cool Tones 1 preset.

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STILL LIFE 221 – CAR REFLECTING TREES

 

 


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Red car, parked near trees.

Or, then again, a camera … or an eye … looking only at you …

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film preset; rotated; flipped; near Temple Meads, central Bristol; 20 Apr 2018.
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STILL LIFE 219 – SPRINGTIME IN CHURCH LANE

 

 


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I regularly walk around south Bristol, striding out, pounding the pavements and tracks, trying to control my waistline.  And I find that these walks of 5 miles or so positively do me good in two ways – physically, they keep my ageing frame in some sort of condition and stop my weight rocketing as it otherwise would – and mentally they give me plenty of time to think as well as keeping me well informed about what the Natural World is doing, which is something I always value.

Church Lane in Whitchurch is a regular destination because it is a quiet backwater bordering on open countryside, with wildlife that includes Roe Deer, Foxes, Ravens, Long-tailed Tits, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Jackdaws and many more.  And nearby are two friendly cats, Arthur and Fat Ted; and a little deaf and partly blind old dog called Lola, too.

On the plant side there are Snowdrops – and a Horse Chestnut tree that I would guess to be 40 or more years old, and that I often talk to: we watch the seasons go by.  This towering tree has recently put out its leaves, and I can only say that it is vast, impressive and beautiful.

Early one morning I was up in Whitchurch trying out the Full English Breakfast in a newly opened café, and so thought to take a camera along Church Lane, to see if I could photograph the beautiful Roe stag that I’ve seen there recently.  Of the stag there was no trace, but it was a lovely morning, and standing under that towering Horse Chestnut I felt the real burgeoning surge of the plant world in Spring.  I took some pictures.

Above is one of this Horse Chestnut’s new leaves, suspended above a groundswell of other plants that are surging up to meet it from below.

Below is the thick and impressive trunk of this vast plant and – fanciful though this may be – to me this looks very alive, like a huge, proclaiming being with many outstretched arms.  What am I on???

Click onto these images to open versions in separate windows, and click onto those images to enlarge them.

Technique:  X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens; 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Whitchurch, Bristol; 4 May 2018.
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ARCHIVE 347 – POLLARDS AT TEALHAM (MONO)

 

 


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Pollarded willows on Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 30 Oct 2014.

A typical Levels landscape – dead flat countryside,  with water (sometimes a lot of water!) and pollarded trees.  Pollarding is explained here.

The more I look at this, the more these trees resemble knobbly headed beings with huge coiffures, that are coming slowly forwards to look at me – the second and third from the left, in particular, seem to be craning to get a better view.

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

Technique: D700 with 12-24 Sigma lens at 24mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2; Color Efex Pro 4.

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ARCHIVE 346 – KILIMANJARO (MONO)

 

 


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Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, seen from Kenya’s Amboseli Game Reserve; July 1978.

There is another Kilimanjaro image here .

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

Technique: OM-1 with 75mm-150mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2.

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ARCHIVE 343 – BLUE SUNRISE (MONO)

 

 


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Sunrise behind a young Alder on Jack’s Drove, Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 28 Aug 2013.

Alders are wet country trees, they like “to have their feet in the water”.  This one, still a bush really, is up along Jack’s Drove, growing between the road and the water-filled ditch alongside it.

The sun was rising and I got within the young tree’s shadow.  The ultra-wideangle made sure the tree’s branches reached wide in the frame, reaching out to embrace the camera  – and, I hoped, me too –  and I made sure the rising sun was visible through the tree, as a brilliant, star-shaped brightness.

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

Technique: D700 with 12-24 Sigma lens at 12mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Tin Type preset, with heavy Cyanotype tone.

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