ARCHIVE 502 – SWAN, PREENING (MONO)

 

 


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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.

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

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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ARCHIVE 500 – FISHERMEN (MONO)

 

 


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Fishermen far off across a lake on a misty morning; 17 Oct 2013.

The local water company stocks Chew Valley Lake, near Bristol, with trout, and makes good profits from anglers.  There is also a sailing club, and some barely adequate birdwatching hides – returning from Kenya’s wide open spaces, I was astonished to be restricted to these little huts with their narrow viewing slits – something of a culture change!  I retain the feeling that birding ought to be out in the fresh and open air.

If you love grain >>> click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D800 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 400mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s High Contrast Smooth preset.

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ARCHIVE 498 – THE VIEW WEST AT SUNRISE

 

 


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Looking west along the North Drain from the Jack’s Drove bridge on Tealham Moor, 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 “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: D800 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

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ARCHIVE 497 – MALLARD

 

 


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Mallard in Herons Green Bay, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 6 Apr 2015.

A Minimalist image – just some ripples and a silhouetted duck.

The up-curled tail feathers show this to be a male (drake) Mallard, a very common and often tame waterbird here in the UK.

This is a colour image, albeit one with little colour in it.  And I’ve used CEP4‘s Cross Balance filter to give the effect of Tungsten (i.e. artificial light) film that has been used in daylight, which has resulted in the image’s cool, faintly bluish tints.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4, using the Cross Balance filter.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 17 – DAWN, LAKE NAKURU

 

 


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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.  Vivitar 400mm telephoto on Olympus SLR, mounted on a tripod.

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 15 – LAKE MAGADI

 

 


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View across Lake Magadi, in the rift valley in southern Kenya; October 1978.  The line of hills on the horizon is the Nguruman Escarpment, the western wall of the rift valley.  The vast quantities of volcanic rocks produced during the formation of the rift valley are very rich in sodium, which weathers out of these rocks in solution as sodium bicarbonate.  Lake Magadi is situated at a low altitude in an area of the rift that is one of the hottest and driest parts of Kenya, and it lacks an outflow.

Sodium bicarbonate weathers out from the surrounding volcanic rocks and is transported into the lake in solution via streams and groundwater.  The concentration of sodium bicarbonate in the lake increases as more and more water bicarbonate enters the lake – while more and more of the lake’s water evaporates in the ferociously hot climate.   When the lake’s waters become saturated with the bicarbonate,  sodium carbonate is precipitated as a solid mineral.

This carbonate forms a white crust on the lake’s surface, which is tinged pink by red algae which proliferate in the highly alkaline water.  Hot springs around the lake are sufficiently alkaline to feel soapy to the touch, i.e. as they immediately start dissolving your skin!  The soda is extracted here commercially.

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

Technique: Olympus OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens, and probably a polarising filter; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO.

SUMMARY:  as you may have guessed by now, I was formerly – from the age of about five in fact – a geologist.  As a boy that’s all I ever wanted to be.  And so to university, and six years of geological research in Scotland, the Western Alps and Oman.  But LOL! >>> the best laid plans of mice and men!!!  In 1967 two school friends introduced me to birding, and the (noble!) rot set in.  And so to birds, and to going to Kenya to lecture in geology and to look at birds in a zoogeographical region of the world completely new to me – the Afrotropics.

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Lake Magadi’s pink and white soda crust; October 1977; see previous picture.  This photo was taken with a 28mm wideangle lens, which captures detail from close at hand out to the horizon.  The jagged soda ridge in the foreground is about six inches high where it casts a very black shadow near the center of the shot.  I purposely made this ridge emanate from the picture’s lower right corner so that it would act as a leading line, drawing the viewer’s eyes ever more deeply into the picture and on out towards the horizon.

On the horizon, very slightly to the left of this “six inch cliff”, is the distinctive outline of the Shompole volcano, which is on the border with Tanzania.  Venturing out onto Lake Magadi’s crust is extremely hazardous, because it can give way at any moment, plunging the unwary into a warm and highly caustic mixture of sodium carbonate and bicarbonate that will cause serious burns.

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

Technique: Olympus OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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ARCHIVE 494 – THE VIEW EAST FROM THE JACK’S DROVE BRIDGE (MONO)

 

 


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Looking east along the North Drain, from the Jack’s Drove bridge, on Tealham Moor on the Somerset Levels; 29 Aug 2013.

Jack’s Drove is the single track, tarmac road that runs north-south across one of the loves of my life, Tealham Moor.  This little byway rises over the great east-west waterway of the North Drain on a low bridge – and on this dead flat moor, much of which is at or below mean sea level, this little bridge is a real highpoint.  Its sobering to recall that, standing here, I’m well below the level of the high tides that lap the promenades at nearby Weston-super-Mare and Burnham-On-Sea.  But for the network of sea defences, and also the sluices on the tidal rivers, this area would be open to inundation by the sea.

Here are Water Lilies floating placidly on a still day, in waters alive with the reflections of the sky, and this for all the world looks like a river – except that, of course, it is a little too straight.  Its name is also rather a giveaway.  For this is an entirely artificial water, excavated by human hand to help drain the sodden clay and peat soils hereabouts.  It is part of a great network of manmade waters that cover this area and ensure – for the moment at least – that it doesn’t return to the marshes and brackish waters of not that long ago.

Standing here on this little bridge and looking east towards the lightening sky, I feel a great sense of peace and, after a life of many wanderings, I feel at home.

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

Technique: D700 with 12-24 Sigma zoom lens at 18mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at High Structure Harsh.

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ARCHIVE 491 – RISING SUN WITH FOG, TEALHAM MOOR (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Rising sun behind fog, Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 8 Apr 2015.

The view eastwards from the top of the low bridge over the North Drain (the waterway on the right), on a cool and still, April morning.

What better place to be in this world at this moment?  The occasional vehicle on the narrow tarmac of Jack’s Drove, the little road that passes over this little bridge, but, other than that, just water bubbling, the songs of swans’ wings and larks, swallows that have flown in from Africa, and the distant lowing of cows.

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 70mm; 400 ISO with 1 stop underexposure; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the ND Grad EV-1 preset and selectively restoring colour.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 458 – EARLY MORNING, QUEEN’S SEDGE MOOR (MONO)

 

 


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Early morning, and mist rises from the water-filled ditch (the rhyne) beside Long Drove on Queen’s Sedge Moor.  A little later, the sun rose and the mists disappeared very rapidly.

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 250 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Graphite profile; Long Drove, on Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels south of Wells; 26 Apr 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 457 – TEALHAM MOOR, SUNRISE

 

 


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Sunrise tints the sky above Tealham Moor and, in this landscape of silhouettes, the sky’s colours are reflected by the still waters in a ditch.

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Landscape v2 profile; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 12 Apr 2019.
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