ARCHIVE 271 – FATman WITH A FISHEYE (MONO)

 

 

uio_1715triste2x
.
FATman with a fisheye lens on Tadham Moor; the Somerset Levels, 11 Dec 2013.

The tall, dark but not handsome shadow lower left is me, taking this photo with a full-frame fisheye lens, which has a 180 degree field of view across the diagonal.  I’m tilting this wild lens slightly downwards, and so the horizon is slightly bowed upwards.

I’m standing at a small crossroads that I know very well and love very much.  To the left, out of view, is the Magic Carpark.  Straight on is Totney Drove, which rolls on westwards towards Rattling Bow and Westham.  And to the right is Jack’s Drove, which I often mention and photograph, making off northwards towards Tealham Moor.  Jack’s Drove is flanked by one of the water-filled ditches, the rhynes (rhymes with “scenes”), that are the field boundaries in this very damp area, and pale lengths of corrugated iron have been built into the rhyne’s bank to (try to!) prevent the road from collapsing into the waterway.

Up from my shadow is a large, dark Willow (the largest tree in the frame), and in front of this is a pale Willow stump – which is the subject this other post.

D700 with Sigma 15mm fisheye; 200 ISO; starting at Silver Efex Pro 2’s Triste2 preset.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 267 – POLLARDED WILLOW (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 

split-trunk-of-ancient-willow
.

An ancient, pollarded willow by the side of Godney Road, west of Batch Farm, on the Somerset Levels; 29 May 2014.

Often when selectively restoring colour to a black and white image, I heave the slider all the way over and am in danger of producing what that glorious song terms a “technicolor yawn”.  But here the colours are muted.  The ancient tree is not too far off what it should be colourwise, but the leaves to the right are pale and with low colour saturation.  To the left of the tree there is almost no colour at all.  And thanks to the wideangle lens, the view stretches off across a grassy field to some other low trees, which are no more than faint impressions on the horizon.

This is a Minimalist image, perhaps – not in terms of actual content as it contains masses of intricate detail – but, rather,  in terms of its portrayal of colour.  What do you think?

Another image in this series, along with information on pollarding, is here.

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

D700 with 16-35 Nikkor lens at 16mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Triste 1 preset and restoring colour.

.
.
.

SOMERSET LEVELS 263 – DEATH OF A FRIEND 2 (MONO)

 

 

death-of-a-friend-2-mono
.

Early morning, and a fallen willow lies beside the misty River Sheppey in Upper Godney; 1 Apr 2016.

Another take on this scene, and more context, can be found here.

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

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 6400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Triste 2 preset.
.
.
.

SOMERSET LEVELS 262 – DEATH OF A FRIEND

 

 

death-of-a-friend
.
This image is best viewed enlarged – click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window.

Fallen willow, a casualty of the recent storms, on the banks of the River Sheppey at Upper Godney; 1 Apr 2016.

A cold early morning, the frost still on the grass on the other side of this little river, but only a breath of breeze to make more penetrative the already incisive chill.  And an old tree, one I’ve known well, out for the count as they say.  Well, everything changes, nothing ever stays the same, and we must make the best we can of that “Fact of Life”.

The conventional thing would of course be to have had this image “the right way up”, in portrait orientation, and I have tried that.  But, although this is a picture of (more or less) reality, and a sad reality at that, I prefer it like this, to me it has more feel and impact to it in this orientation – and after all, if I’m going to show a sad event, let’s get something else out of it too – death can have its beauty too.

How do I see this image in my mind’s eye?  Well, if I let my mind go loose, that great, frosty wedge of grass on the opposite bank of the river looks like a sharp fang that is biting down deep into the picture’s heart; it is counterbalanced to some extent by the triangle of dark greenery at bottom right.  And, in this orientation, the tree is really not in too bad a position to be admired, not so flat out and fallen as it is in cold reality.

And finally, that great green fang biting down from the top of the picture has realities on either side, one real, one reflected – there are two cloudy skies and two trees down, and between them that great fang seems to me far nearer and more solid than either – its seems almost to be lifting up out of the image, almost as if it is biting down in front of the image.

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 70mm; 3200 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4; 90 degrees’ anticlockwise rotation.
.
.
.

SOMERSET LEVELS 261 – BROKEN BRANCH (MONO)

 

 

broken-branch-mono
.
Willow beside the Magic Carpark, Tadham Moor; 1 Apr 2016.

A little tree beside a water-filled ditch, in a place I often frequent.  It was most probably planted here to help stabilise the waterway’s soft bank but now, as it gets bigger and heavier, its roots have more and more of a struggle to keep it upright in the soft, black, peaty and ever moist soil.  Its like trying to firmly anchor yourself in wet blancmange and, sooner or later, gravity will – catastrophically – take over.

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

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 800 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art High Key preset and adding a tone.
.
.
.

SOMERSET LEVELS 259 – THE VIEW EASTWARDS, BUTLEIGH MOOR 2 (MONO)

 

 

the-view-eastwards-butleigh-moor-2-mono
.

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

The view eastwards on Butleigh Moor, south of the Polden Hills; 13 Jan 2016.

A bright and freezing morning out on the Somerset Levels given the piercing clarity of a strong infrared image.

A thin tarmac road arrows into the distance, guarded on its southern side by a line of pollarded willow trees.  Placing the sun behind the nearest willow prevents its dazzling brightness from obscuring the rest of the image.

More on pollarding, and the Levels, can be found here.

The other version of (more or less) this view, with more context, can be found here.

D800 with 16-35 Nikkor at 16mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared High Contrast preset.

.
.
.

SOMERSET LEVELS 253 – THE VIEW EASTWARDS, BUTLEIGH MOOR (MONO)

 

 

the-view-eastwards-butleigh-moor
.

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

The view eastwards on Butleigh Moor, south of the Polden Hills; 13 Jan 2016.

Just after sunrise on an icy but (thankfully!) still morning.  Butleigh Drove, a thin strip of uneven tarmac arrowing off eastwards, guarded on its right by a long line of heavily pruned willows which make strong silhouettes against the bright light that angles in low from the southeast.  

Parking even my small car on this single track road would completely block it, and so I edged it into the flooded entrance to a field, got out onto the ice and promptly went through into the freezing water below – thanking Whatever Powers There May Be for the invention of Wellington boots –  gasped at the cold, hit the hot coffee, and then set about crouching down behind this starkly silhouetted being, placing it between my lens and the sun’s dazzling, near horizontal brilliance.

The ice stayed all day and any feeling in my feet was soon lost, but the sun stayed too – and that made everything alright.

D800 with 16-35 Nikkor at 16mm; 100 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Plate 2 preset and adding a tone.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 207 – RECENT POLLARD, WITH IVY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 

sdt_845aX
.
Recently pollarded willow, with ivy, along Swanshard Lane, southwest of Wells, on the Somerset Levels; 21 Mar 2012.

This roadside willow has been recently pollarded – that is, this tree’s upper branches have been cut off –  and its wounds gape white and fresh.  But the pollarder’s blade has passed inches above the ivy that creeps over this tree, which lies undamaged.

I was drawn by the stumps’ startling whiteness, and at once imagined them blazing forth in a low key image.  Seeing the ivy too brought it all together.

This tree is very far from being mortally wounded of course – as spring passes into summer, new twigs will sprout all over this shorn crown – which will be pollarded yet again in several years’ time.  See the Levels 1 post, here , for more on pollarding.

D700 with 80-400 Nikkor at 330mm; 800 ISO; conversion to mono, and toning and selective colour restoration, in Silver Efex Pro 2.

.
.
.

SOMERSET LEVELS 252 – WILLOWS IN THE MIST, TADHAM MOOR (MONO)

 

 

willows-in-the-mist-tadham-moor-mono
.

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

Misty morning, Tadham Moor; 8 Apr 2015.

What can we see?  A line of fence posts angle into the foreground, with their reflections in a water-filled ditch.  And on a horizon which the fog has brought far nearer than usual, a line of bare, pollarded willows (more about pollarding, and the Levels, can be found here).

To the left of the willows is a solid, squat structure that resembles a pillbox, one the concrete strong points left over from World War II that still stand mute guard over these flatlands.  But in fact this structure houses a pump that helps control the water levels in the myriad wet ditches – like the one in the foreground –  that drain this often sodden ground.

And finally, to the right of the willows, the shifting mist grudgingly reveals short fences that mark the point where a small bridge crosses the water-filled ditch, so that the farmer can move his animals to and from his land.

Quintessential Levels – wet ditches,  pollarded trees – and mist.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 116mm; +0.7EV 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset and adding a blue tone.
.
.
.

SOMERSET LEVELS 220 – EARLY MORNING, TADHAM MOOR (MONO)

 

 

Early morning, Tadham Moor
.
Beside the single track road across Tadham Moor, quite early in the day; 8 Apr 2015.

Three trees, willows I think, fade gradually into the morning mist.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset.
.
.
.

%d bloggers like this: