STANTON DREW 61 – WINTER SCENE (MONO)

 

 


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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 further enlarge it.

Gull flock amongst the prehistoric standing stones at Stanton Drew.  Such flocks are a common sight on pastureland during the winter: this one consists mostly of Black-headed Gulls (lacking the dark heads of their breeding plumage), but there are a few Common and Lesser Black-backed Gulls in there too.

Tall, dark stones, sombre sentinels (sombre sentinels??? >>> what on earth am I on???) overlook the scene, and bare winter trees form the backdrop.

Already posted images from this early morning shoot are here: 1 (with context) 2 3 4 5 6 7 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting  at the Underexpose EV-1 preset and adding a light Selenium tone; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.
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STANTON DREW 59 – WINTER SUNRISE 2

 

 


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Blackbird in winter branches, at sunrise.

Earlier images from this early morning shoot are here: 1 (with context) 2 3 4 5 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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 300mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 57 – STREETLIGHT

 

 


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Streetlight, and the cold blues of dawn.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 53a 55 56 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film simulation; south Bristol; 5 Jan 2019.
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STANTON DREW 58 – THE VIEW NORTHEAST FROM THE STANDING STONES (MONO)

 

 


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This image is certainly best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended.

A view from the prehistoric standing stones in Stanton Drew .  What can we see?  Two of the standing stones are on the right of the image, with another, now toppled, off to the left.  Behind these are a line of trees and dark undergrowth, along the banks of the little River Chew.  Beyond this, some farm buildings can just be seen, and there is a flock of sheep up on the slopes in the distance.

A very tranquil scene: this is in fact (originally) the biggest prehistoric henge in the country, but it has none of the crowds and commercialism seen at the far better known sites at Stonehenge and Avebury.  This is a wonderful place to come for a quiet walk, in open and relatively unspoilt English countryside – and it is adjacent to the similarly quiet and peaceful churchyard, another wonderful spot for peace and quiet reflection, from which I have posted many images (you can find them under this blog’s Stanton Drew category >>> use the drop down Category list in this blog’s sidebar).

Earlier images from this early morning shoot are here: 1 (with context) 2 3 4 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 111mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared Low Contrast preset and adding a light tone; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 55 – WINTER MORNING

 

 


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Dawn: cold, clear.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 53a .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom; south Bristol; 28 Dec 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 53 – VENUS, AND WHAT IMPRESSES ME THESE DAYS: UPDATE

 

 


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I recently posted a shot of the planet Venus taken during one of my early morning walks around Bristol’s outer suburbs – and then got immoderately excited about the approach of NASA’s New Horizons space probe to the most remote object so far explored by Man, Ultima Thule – that post, with other links, are here .

And here is another of the TG-5’s images from my early morning walks: a clear (and cold!) sky at dawn, with (what I think is) the planet Venus and a beautiful crescent Moon.

Well, as I expect you may know by now, the New Horizons flypast of the 23 miles wide Ultima Thule (which was only discovered in 2014) went to plan – and now there is the long wait to see the images it captured. There is more info here .

I’m posting about this event again because it has really brought home to me just how vast space is – there are some startling statistics, a few of which I’d like to mention.  As regular readers of this blog will know, I’m an enthusiast for the Natural World in general – and these Ultima Thule events are still in the natural world, they just happen to be in the vast bulk of that world that is not on our planet.  And as some regular readers may also know, one of my backgrounds is in geology, and so I’m quite at home with vast timespans, for example the age of the Earth, which is around 4,500,000,000 years.  However, given that, I’ve found some of the facts and stats that I’ve recently discovered quite startling, and so am giving a very few of them for you, here.

DESTRUCTION BY A GRAIN OF RICE

During the flyby, the New Horizons probe was travelling at 20,000mph.  Flying at that speed, a collision with a solid particle the size of a grain of rice would have been sufficient to destroy the spacecraft’s internal systems and so terminate the mission.  But, well, space is just that I suppose; in the main it is empty.

THE VASTNESS OF SPACE

Ultima Thule is around 4,000,000,000 miles distant from the Earth, and that may seem like a truly vast distance.  But, in astronomical terms, it is not.  Astronomical distances are measured in light-years, one of which is the distance that light travels in one year.  Although Ultima Thule seems so distant, if I’ve got my maths right, its only about 0.00068 light-years away from us – its radio transmissions, travelling at the speed of light, take 6 hours to reach us – which is why its notification of the successful flyby was so delayed.

But then compare that with the distance from the Earth of the nearest stars.  Our Sun, around 93,000,000 miles away, is of course our nearest star – and far, far closer to us than Ultima Thule.  But if we look outside our solar system, then the nearest stars are over 4 light-years distant – ie far, far further away than Ultima Thule –  which I think puts things very much into perspective.  If a probe were ever to reach those stars, and if technology stays as it is now, any message from the probe would take 4 years to get here – ET would phone home, but would have to wait a long time for a response!

THE TECHNOLOGY

I’m not really a technology buff, except possibly in terms of cameras.  But I am truly astounded at the technology that has enabled such a diminutive world to be accurately encountered at such a vast distance.  And the more so, when the signal from the spacecraft that it had successfully carried out the flyby was expected by 3.28pm our time – and then was expected by “about 3.30 pm” – and it happened on schedule!  In summary, many human achievements in the modern world do not impress me much, but this has quite possibly been one of the most astounding events that I’ve witnessed in my 68 years.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 316 – LOOKING EAST, TOTNEY DROVE 2

 

 


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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 further enlarge it – recommended.

Looking eastwards along Totney Drove, a single track, tarmacked lane, as the sun rose through the mists on this autumn morning.

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.
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STANTON DREW 57 – WINTER SUNRISE

 

 


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Winter’s sunrise and winter’s branches.  

Cold light, hard, bright, dazzling, raw.

 And the branches too: cold and hard,

and dark – dark, piercing, sharp. 

Light arrives, darkness recedes, yes.

But at this season, with barely

a hint of warmth or comfort.

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Earlier images from this early morning shoot are here: 1 (with context) 2 3 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 315 – TADHAM MOOR, LOOKING SOUTH (MONO)

 

 


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Out on the Somerset Levels, I walked down the single track lane known as Jack’s Drove and, ahead of me, this rough track carried on southwards across Tadham Moor.  In the far distance, the long line of the Polden Hills, which stood high and dry when this whole flat landscape was one of lakes and marshes.  In those days, the Romans kept to the high ground: they built a road along the top of the Poldens, which led westwards to a harbour down on the coast.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Expressive Portrait preset and adding a light Selenium tone; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 30 Nov 2018.
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STANTON DREW 55 – BEFORE THE SUN ROSE

 

 


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I arrived in the little village of Stanton Drew just before dawn, waited for the eastern horizon to start lightening, and stayed to watch the sunrise.

There is more context, and another image from this early morning shoot, here .

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 1,000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol; 14 Dec 2018.
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