SOMERSET LEVELS 418 – THE ROAD BEHIND THE BEACH (MONO)

 

 

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A wet and windy morning, where the Somerset Levels run down to the sea at Sand Bay, just north of Weston-super-Mare.  This is the little road, scarcely wider than my little car, that runs along behind the beach.  There are puddles from the morning’s rain, bright yellow lines along the road’s edge that ban stopping – because any vehicle that stops here immediately blocks the road (its hardly rocket science!) – and there is the tree arched over the road that bears testimony to the strong westerly gales that often batter this low and very exposed coast.  The actual beach is off beyond the large bank on the right, while low, flat farmland stretches inland from the road’s left.

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

This little road appears insignificant, but it has great significance to me.  For it was along here, probably around 1960 or so, that three of us keen amateur geologists rode on our bikes, making our first ever “geological expedition”, to collect samples of the brachiopods, corals and other fossils from Sand Point, the long promontory of Carboniferous Limestone that is behind the camera.

And later, in 1967-8, when birding had infected my very soul, it was along this road that our two highly enthusiastic biology teachers brought us out in the school minibus very early on Saturday mornings, to look at the birdlife.  I remember those two teachers – now long dead of course – with a lot of affection and admiration.  They were enthusiastic, they communicated their enthusiasm to us youngsters, and they contributed their spare time putting us in touch with – and getting us interested in  – the Natural World.  One of us (not me!!!) went on to become a Professor (in the British sense) of Biochemistry and, old as they then were, the surviving member of this biological duo, together with the Prof’s old chemistry teacher, actually attended the professorial inauguration ceremony >>> that everyone should have such dedicated and enthusiastic teachers!

And finally, also, far more recently, Sand Bay was the subject of my very first and rather uncertain post on FATman Photos, on 26 April 2011 – that post can be found here .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 70mm; 3200 ISO; in-camera raw processing and cropping; Beach Road, Sand Bay, north of Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 4 Oct 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 417 – WILLOW 4 (MONO)

 

 


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These images are certainly best viewed enlarged – click onto each of them to open a larger version in a separate window and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Pollarded willow, old and leaning precariously, beside the River Sheppey in Swanshard Lane.  These are mono versions of a previously posted colour image – see 3 below.

Technique:  these images, both captured by the Nikon Z 6, have been created in two different ways.  The one above was produced by in-camera processing of a raw file, using the camera’s Graphite picture control, and no further processing in Lightroom.  The one below was via the “traditional route”, i.e. via Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro 2,  using the latter’s Landscape preset.   They’re similar, but I have to say – purely subjectively of course – that I prefer the in-camera processing.  My reasons?  Well I think that the lower one is a bit too grey, with too many of the leaves visible; whereas the upper one has more of the leaves and branches burnt out, so focusing more attention on the gnarled trunk.  Which, if any, do you prefer???
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There are other Willow portraits here: 1 2 3 .

There is more about the ancient practice of pollarding here .

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ARCHIVE 423 – EARLY MORNING 21

 

 


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Dawn mists rise above Lake Nakuru, central Kenya; January 1978.  The large, white birds with huge bills in the foreground are White Pelicans.  In the lake behind them are the trunks of trees that, flooded by the lake, have been killed by the high concentration of sodium bicarbonate in its waters. Cormorants (the same species as in the UK) perch on these dead trunks, and a nest of sticks is also visible.

This lake is over a mile above sea level and so, particularly after a clear night, the whole place can be pretty chilly by first light – standing around taking pictures, waiting for the sunrise, we were well wrapped up!  At altitudes a little above this – and right on the equator – frosts can occur.

Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban settings, and from Kenya too – are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 .

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

Technique: Vivitar 400mm telephoto on Olympus SLR, mounted on a tripod; colour slide film.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 413 – WILLOW 3

 

 


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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.

Pollarded willow, old and leaning precariously, beside the River Sheppey in Swanshard Lane.

And to me there is something human here, someone leaning with arms outstretched, though whether perhaps performing gracefully in some dance or ballet – or distraughtly in pain, anguish or panic, I cannot say.

There are other Willow portraits here: 1 2 .

There is more about the ancient practice of pollarding here .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 82mm; 6400 ISO; spotmetering for high key effect; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 13 Sept 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 412 – EARLY MORNING 18 (MONO)

 

 


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Early morning light washes across the wooded slopes of Ben Knowle Hill and the flat pastures of Hay Moor.  An idea of scale is given by the field gate and solitary cow in the foreground – best seen with the image enlarged.

Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban settings, and from Kenya too – are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 .

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 260mm; 1600 ISO; jpeg created and processed in-camera from a Raw file, using the Graphite profile; minimal further processing in Lightroom;  Ben Knowle Hill, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 13 Sept 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 411 – EARLY MORNING 17

 

 


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Shott’s Farm on Ash Moor, bathed in the haze and glow of early morning.

Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban settings, and from Kenya too – are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 .

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; 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Shott’s Farm on Ash Moor, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 2 August 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 410 – EARLY MORNING 16

 

 


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Early morning, and the first shafts of sunlight penetrate the gloom beneath the thick canopies of willows beside the River Sheppey in Swanshard Lane.

Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban settings, and from Kenya too – are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 .

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 140mm; 3200 ISO; spotmetering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 13 Sept 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 132 – EARLY MORNING 12

 

 


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The rising sun lights a roadside tree, which has been pollarded (scalped might be a better description) perhaps a little late in the season >>> and so it brightens my mornings to see it sprouting lots of new leaves before autumn really gets itself into gear.

This is the thing really.  While our species is creating havoc with the natural world – while during the Anthropocene we are causing another of the great species extinctions that have occurred in the geological past (think dinosaurs and comet impacts for example)  – given just half a chance Nature never stops >>> LOL! >>> as gardeners who try to impose their will on it will readily testify!

Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban areas – are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 .

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 35mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Natural profile; south Bristol; 27 Aug 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 405 – EARLY MORNING 11

 

 


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There’s a lot of detail here – 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.

Pollarded Willows beside the River Sheppey, early on a misty morning.  Being top heavy due to the pollarding, all of these trees are leaning in towards the river; ultimately they will topple over  – there is more about the ancient practice of pollarding here .

Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban areas – are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor at 82mm; 6400 ISO; jpeg created and processed in-camera from a Raw file, using the Charcoal profile; further processing in Lightroom, including the use of a split tone; the River Sheppey beside Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 23 Aug 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 404 – EARLY MORNING 10 (MONO)

 

 


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Early morning mist: looking north from Yeap’s Drove towards the higher ground around Bleadney.

Technique: continuing my exploration of the Z 6’s in-camera Raw processing, here is another of these jpeg images, which in this case has been given further processing in both Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro 2 (details below).

Other images in this Early Morning series – from both rural and urban areas – are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 .

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 used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 360mm; 1600 ISO; jpeg created and processed in-camera from a Raw file, using the Graphite profile; further processing in Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 1 preset and adding a split tone; looking north from Yeap’s Drove towards the higher ground around Bleadney, on the Somerset Levels west of Wells; 23 Aug 2019.
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