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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ARCHIVE 366 – POLLARD IN FLOODWATER (MONO)

 

 


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Pollarded Willow standing in floodwater on Tadham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 23 Nov 2012.

With its bulky, rounded crown, this tree is top heavy and well on its way to collapse.  The usually wet, peat soils provide little in the way of support.

More about the practice of pollarding can be found in my first Somerset Levels post 

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 165mm; 200 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, using the Yellowed 1 preset as a starting point.
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ARCHIVE 361 – SWAN, PREENING (MONO)

 

 


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This image is best seen at larger scale – click onto to it to see a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended.

Mute Swan at Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, not far south of Bristol; 6 Apr 2015.

The bird is preening, busily rearranging its feathers in a flurry of activity that is sending concentric ripples out across the surrounding water.

There is another photo of this bird, in very different pose and style, here .

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; -0.3EV; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Low Key 2 preset.

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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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ARCHIVE 357 – MORNING DEW (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Field gate on Tealham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 10 Apr 2014.

Early morning along Jack’s Drove, and a world soaked in dew.  The silver cobwebs, with the rising light behind them, are everywhere.  Here three struts in a gate provide the picture’s solid structures, and then the web is strung across the frame, and there are large drops of dew hanging from the gate at upper left.

This is a black and white image with much of its original colour restored, semi-faithfully.  One of the reasons that such colour restorations appeal to me is that, since black and white is already far from reality, I don’t feel that I must necessarily restore the original colours accurately – put another way, since I’m already way out in the realms of unreality, a little more unrealness (is that a word???) won’t matter!

The bar at the top and the diagonal one are casting slim shadows, which is why the silvery web strands fade as they come near them.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Contrast and Structure preset, and selectively restoring colour.

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ARCHIVE 356 – WAVE MEETS MAN (MONO)

 

 


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FANTASY: a wave, furrowed, swelling, dark, and with a thin, foaming apron of silver, rolls in towards the beach and meets a man.  And there is a communion – something passes –  between the moving water and that rigid figure with his dark suit, bowed head and tightly clenched fists.

Is he bowing to the turbulent and rising water, acknowledging it perhaps as a living thing?  Or, in a moment of shock and revelation, is he realising his own inadequacy in the face of this endless, remorseless and energetic swell?  And, equally, in what way is the wave responding to him?  Indifference, perhaps?  Or, however muted and distant, is there some acknowledgement of another feature of this planet’s surface?

And because this is an interpretation that exists only in my mind, I have used a pale vignette to separate this imagined interaction from the solid and all too permanent reality all around – the mist shifts, and we are granted a fleeting glimpse into a daydream.

REALITY: a man, not a young man as I remember, walked down the beach in a dark blue suit, brown shoes and a wide brimmed hat, and remained standing there in the harsh sunlight, apparently transfixed by the sand and pebbles at his feet.

What was he actually doing?  His fists appear to be clenched but, magnifying things substantially, I think that his hands are in fact full of beach pebbles – and fossils too maybe on this famous Jurassic CoastAnd he’s gazing down at the beach’s debris, hoping to add more to his collection.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset; West Bay, Dorset; 21 Apr 2015.

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ARCHIVE 353 – CATTLE BESIDE THE NORTH DRAIN (MONO)

 

 


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A misty morning along the North Drain, looking east from the Jack’s Drove bridge; the Somerset Levels; 28 Aug 2013.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 270mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro’s High Key 2 preset.

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ARCHIVE 349 – IN THE HARBOUR (MONO)

 

 


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In the harbour, West Bay, Dorset; 23 Apr 2015.

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

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Low Key 2 preset.

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