ARCHIVE: LEVELS 9 – MOTORCYCLIST (MONO)

 

 


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Standing on Long Moor Drove, looking at anything and everything, when a motorbike shot past me.  Like many of the little roads (droves) around here, this one has minimal foundations and, because of the wet, unstable clays underlying it, its often prone to adopting convolutions and textures quite of its own choosing – that’s what I like, individuality!!!

The camera’s autofocus caught and stayed with the bike, and I filled the foreground with the characterful road.  The surrounding vegetation was lush with the hues of spring, which are a distraction here; black and white concentrates more on the textures and the bike.

This archive presents some of the pictures that I’ve taken on the Somerset Levels over many years.  More context can be found in the first post in this archive – 1 – and also in my first Somerset Levels post, from 2011 – here .  Further posts in this archive are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 .  All of these links will open in separate windows. 

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid V2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Green Filter preset and adding a moderate coffee tone; looking east along Long Moor Drove, on Liberty Moor, south of Mark, on the Somerset Levels; 3 May 2019.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.
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ARCHIVE 591 – FARM CAT

 

 


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Cat beside the road at Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral V2 profile; Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.

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BIRDS 131 – GREAT WHITE EGRET

 

 


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Great White Egret, a member of the heron family, on the edge of a reed bed in Herons Green Bay, at Chew Valley Lake, a reservoir just south of Bristol.  Two things make this photo rather special to me.  First, this was one of the places where two school friends whom I am still in touch with – one in The States, the other in Australia – got me into birding in 1967.  Herons Green Bay looks much the same as it did all those years ago, and its good to go back there now (less than half and hour’s drive away) and see this part of my birding roots more or less as they were.

The other thing is that the presence of this bird shows just how things can change because, back in the 1960s, this was a very rare bird in the UK, whereas now small numbers breed in the UK and there are usually a few individuals  at Chew Lake.  I imagine this is somehow related to climate change.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 7 Dec 2020.
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HOME 7 – LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW

 

 


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Looking out of the kitchen window, with a long telephoto and some good light.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Landscape v2 profile; the back garden; 26 Nov 2020.
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BIRDS 130 – BLACK-HEADED GULL 3

 

 


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Adult Black-headed Gull in winter plumage.  The dark brown hood of the breeding plumage (see here ) has been replaced by diffuse dark markings on the head and, notably, a dark spot behind the eye.

An agile, small gull, quite common around here at the moment as they scavenge, uttering their shrill screams, over the city and out around the suburbs.

There is another photo of this species here .

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 7 Dec 2020.

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CHEW LAKE 25 – THE VIEW EAST, ACROSS THE LAKE (MONO)

 

 


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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO;  Lightroom, starting at the Camera Graphite profile; Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 7 Dec 2020.
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MENDIP HILLS 43 – TREES BESIDE A LAKE (MONO)

 

 


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Bare winter trees, beside almost still water.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO; jpeg created and processed in-camera from a Raw file, using the Graphite profile; Priddy Mineries Reserve, high on the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 7 Dec 2020.
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ARCHIVE 572 – A LITTLE PIECE OF MAGIC

 

 


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Crossing the little Whitelake Bridge on Hearty Moor, on the Somerset Levels, and there on the bridge’s guard rail were flowers – I assumed in memory of some victim of a road accident, or even someone drowned in the river.

But looking more closely at them, they were accompanied by no words of mourning, and they looked more like charms, not memorials.  And then I remembered where I was – not far from Glastonbury, and also not far from Worthy Farm, at Pilton, which hosts the world famous Glastonbury Festival.  There are many around here, especially in Glastonbury, who hold Pagan and other, non-mainstream beliefs, and here were what appeared to be charms above moving water, above a river.

I have dabbled with Paganism, and found it far, far more attractive than the monotheistic mainstream religions of the UK.  But I’m now at the conclusion that although I have a deep love and regard for the Natural World, this is not for me anything religious, but rather something that invokes feelings of great love and wonder.   I don’t worship the Natural World, but I respect it – and the more so because, unlike us, it manages to exist and thrive without the aid of all the made up stories – the imagined realities – which appear necessary to keep human societies –  and human minds too – in order and intact.

And so here then, deep in the Somerset countryside, because of the way they see the world, because of what they believe in, someone has placed these simple objects above moving water.  And to me, in so doing, they have added a little piece of beautiful magic – and diversity too – to this world.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Standard V2 picture control; on the Whitelake Bridge, northeast of Glastonbury, on the Somerset Levels; 5 Apr 2019.

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GARDEN 73 – A WONDERFUL ENCOUNTER 2

 

 


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Robin in our front garden.  Another image, and the full story of this encounter, are here (opens in a separate window).

The composition here is a little awkward, but I do like those leaves up in the top left corner!

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 3200 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Landscape v2 profile; south Bristol; 22 Sept 2020.
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GARDEN 72 – A WONDERFUL ENCOUNTER

 

 


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Out doing a bit of gardening, cutting our “front lawn” (aka The Dandelion Patch – I like Dandelions!).  And I kept getting the impression out of the corner of my eye of something darting swiftly by – until at last there came a beautifully warm red-orange glow from the bottom of a dense bush, and there was a Robin, a fairly small type of thrush.

And as I raked the grass and so laid bare more and more food items for him, he darted out more and more and dutifully gobbled them all down.  And knowing birds a little, I kept fairly still and started talking to him in much the same way that I talk to cats – quietly, softly and low.  And, looking up at this giant towering over him, he came closer and closer, to within a couple of inches of my feet I suppose, and I did wonder whether he might hop up onto the top of my shoe.

But he hopped away again, though not far away – and I started thinking about a photograph.  So, very quietly and slowly, keeping my eyes on him, I backed away into the house where I knew the Z 6 with a telezoom attached and a charged up battery were ready and waiting.  Creeping back out into the garden again I was sure he’d have disappeared – but no, he was still there, looking me.  So I carefully braced myself against the wall of the house and managed a few pictures.

Trouble was, I’d hardly used the Z 6 since the start of the coronavirus lockdown in March – I’ve been almost entirely photographing with the Olympus TG-5 – and so I’d forgotten exactly how the ***** Z 6 works!!! >>>> and so to several failed shots!

But a couple of the frames came out ok – and so to a record of a really wonderful close encounter, just the thing in fact to lift the spirits in these very sad and trying times.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 3200 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Landscape v2 profile; south Bristol; 22 Sept 2020.

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