W-I-D-E-2

.
.
.
.

A pair of Mallard ducks fly over Swanshard Bridge, on North Moor in the Somerset Levels; 11 Apr 2013.

This is the start of the mating season, and there were pairs of Mallards – and often, threesomes, with two males escorting and / or pursuing a female – all over the place last week.

Although ducks are ducks, the male is known as the Drake, and the female the Duck.  Here, the Drake is flying below,  and the Duck is above.  She has her beak open, calling, and she is the one that that makes the loud, harsh quacking that is often thought of as the noise made by all ducks.

Nikon D800 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikor at 140mm; 1600 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset.

.
.
.

.
SECOND ATTEMPT AT THIS, CROPPING OUT SOME FOREGROUND, after input from Helen Cherry >>> thank you, Helen!  http://hellenjc.wordpress.com/

The estuary of the River Brue, south of Burnham-On-Sea, on the Somerset coast; 20 Mar 2013.

The Brue is the river meandering in from the left.  Its travel across the very flat lands of the Somerset Levels is extremely slow – I could probably walk to the coast faster!

The Brue is flowing out into the estuary of the River Parrett, the water upper right, which stretches off to the horizon. 

All of the Levels’ rivers except the Parrett have clyses (sluices) which help stop the seawater of the Bristol Channel flooding inland.  When the tide is out, the weight of fresh water building up behind the gates pushes them open, and the fresh water flows away to the sea.  When the tide comes in, the weight of the rapidly rising salt water pushes against the gates, forcing them shut, and the seawater is unable to flow further inland.

Nikon D700 with 16mm-35mm VR Nikkor at 35mm; 200 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Low Key 2 preset.

.
.
.
.

cor_397AntiquePlate1X

.

Herring Gull: winter plumaged adult at St Ives, Cornwall; 27 Sept 2012.

This individual is sitting on a wall, but I want to show nothing but the bird and its overcast backdrop and so have cropped the wall out.  Mono simplifies the picture, and gives the impression of  a tough and rugged individual used to enduring the dull, overcast, wintery conditions.

These birds have pure white heads in summer, but this one has the streaked head and neck that appears later in the year. 

I like the detail in the feathering at lower left, especially the single feather sticking up from the rest.

Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 300mm; 800 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting from the Antique Plate 1 preset..
.
.
.  .
.

.
Looking out across the estuary of the River Parrett, from Burnham-On-Sea towards the peninsula of Stert Point; 20 Mar 2013.

The top of the foreshore at Burnham is clean sand but, walking down the beach, treacherous mud is soon encountered – and, despite numerous warning signs, many holidaymakers and their vehicles become stuck in this mud every summer.

Here we can see the lower foreshore – dark mud with numerous pools of water left over from the last tide.  This was an almost windless day, and the waters of the Parrett Estuary are calm.

The dark Stert peninsula is a well known bird reserve – but there is something else less happy going on over there.  The Somerset Levels formerly consisted of vast marshes that were regularly invaded by the sea.  In Roman times, it was possible to take seagoing ships in as far as Glastonbury.

Now, when I enjoy my coffee and sandwiches amongst the fields on Tealham Moor I am 15 feet or so below the level of the high tides that lap the promenades of Burnham and Weston-super-Mare.  The only things that prevent that great mass of seawater flowing on inland and drowning me are the stout flood defences along the coast, and the clyses (sluices) on the rivers, which prevent seawater moving inland via the rivers and then overflowing onto the surrounding countryside.

Flood defences and clyses all cost money and, recently, the decision has been made to abandon land near Stert to the sea, because funds are no longer available to sustain its coastal defences.  This problem is componded by the current rises in sea level.  At some  stage in the future, far larger areas of the Levels may have to be abandoned in this way.

Nikon D700 with 16mm-35mm VR Nikkor at 35mm; 200 ISO; conversion to mono and sepia toning in Silver Efex Pro 2.
.
.
.

.
   .

.
Landscape near Newquay, Cornwall; 23 Oct 2012.

The lines of windblown trees first attracted me to this scene, and then there were the partly seen house and the bold, dark lines of the field boundaries. 

Letterbox is an ideal format here, and I’ve used a pale vignette to suggest mistiness around the frame edges.

Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, using the Full Contrast and Structure preset as a starting point.
.
.
   .
.
.
.


.
Lesser Black-backed Gull, caught in the golden rays of the sunrise as it flies over our garden; 14 Apr 2010.

Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 300mm; 800 ISO.
.
.
.
 .
.

ftg_050b_Polapan

.
Flowering Blackthorn at the bottom of our garden; 14 Apr 2010.

Use of a telephoto close up renders the background completely out of focus, and the siting of the subject in front of a paler part of the background is important.

Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 300mm; 800 ISO; digitally given a blue tint like old Polapan film, using Alien Skin’s Exposure 2.

.
.
  .
.


.
Following on from my first take on the sky that day , here is the same early morning cloud, with sunrise tints starting to appear; near Highbridge, on the Somerset Levels; 23 Nov 2012.

Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 300mm; 1600 ISO.

.
.

.
.cor_104Underexpose 1ev

,

A car park in Penzance, Cornwall; 25 Sept 2012.

Repeating patterns and streamlined surfaces, so attractive to human eyes – and the underlying thought that the machines in these dark ranks have taken over our lives and, for many, have become indispensable.

Rough textures on some of the gleaming surfaces are raindrops.

Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; conversion to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, using the Underexpose 1 EV preset as a jumping off point.

.
.
.

AdNa_140a

.

I don’t have too many good pictures of people and those that I do have I treasure.  Here is one from a wedding reception we attended near Bristol, last year.

I like it very much.  Why?  Well, I suppose its all about Joyous Human Mayhem – they’re all packed in there, like a rugby scrum, aren’t they – and they’re all having a good time!

Three things really hit me.  Going from left to right (and remembering that that’s how us Westerners scan photos), the two young women on the left are giving each other an embrace full of the joy, warmth and pleasure of human friendship.  Was this done for the camera – no it wasn’t – this is the genuine article!  They are really pleased to see each other.

Then, second and center stage, the guy in the dark jacket, his face obscured, and leaning drunkenly over someone, clutching a beer that is certainly – in the spirit of the occasion –  half full rather than half empty.

And, lastly, on the right, the young woman with her face contorted by cheerful hilarity and mirth – wonderful!

17 Aug 2011; Nikon D700 with 24mm-120mm VR Nikkor at 120mm; 1000 ISO..

And here are some of the original words accompanying this post, which may be of interest:

Some good friends invited us to their wedding reception and I took my camera along – and fired off 384 frames!

An interesting photographic issue arose while I was firing off my 384.  With a film camera, if you load a 36 film you’ll get 36 photos, or perhaps 37 or 38 if you push things a little – and risk pulling the film right out of the cassette.  We do of course also have frame counters on digital cameras, but I remember reading somewhere that we should use them in the same way we use the petrol gauges in our cars.  Which is to say, that if we have a full tank of petrol, we’ll use it up quicker if we only drive around town, continually stopping and starting, rather than taking a nice steady drive on a motorway.  Its the same with digital frame counters.  You may start off with 100 frames, but if you pack your pictures with wall to wall detail you might only actually get 90 frames, whereas if you shoot bland, low detail subjects, you might get 120 or more.

I saw this happen at the wedding reception.  The 8Gb card I keep in my D700 always says that I have 310 shots if I’m shooting Raw, which is the only file format that I ever shoot.  So, wallowing in the 310, I fired away with abandon at the guests and, in the end found my frame counter reading 89, and so concluded that I had taken 310 – 89 photos.  However, when I got the photos onto this PC, I found that I’d taken 384 frames – so presumably my frames averaged out containing less detail than the camera had been expecting.  Many of you may know this already but, if not, something to store away in the backs of our minds maybe.

.
.
.

mmm

A flooded fence on Tadham Moor, in the Somerset Levels; 23 Nov 2012.

Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 300mm; 200 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, using the High Key 2 preset as a starting point.
mmm
mmm
mmm

34 Responses to W-I-D-E-2

  1. rezinate says:

    The “flooded fence” is very well executed

    Like

  2. Malin H says:

    I really like your work, my friend (I guess you already know that).
    Great post!

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Malin, thank you again! Yes, my good friend, I know that you like my work – and because of your being the highly talented photographer that you are, this means a great amount to me, it gives me inspiration, motivation and a real lift! Thank you!

      And, once more, good luck tomorrow! I’ll be thinking of you, you can rely on that. Adrian

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love that last image, the really high key one. Very cool.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Hello, Tricia – oh yes, this one – the low lying Somerset Levels, a place I frequent a lot – just at the moment very much under floodwaters – as it was in fact when I took this. Very glad you like it, I’m pleased with it too – I tend to like more Minimalist things.

      And thank you (again) for following my blog – I know I thanked you earlier via Notifications but I’m never quite sure how (if) they work – so here the surer – to me at least – use of a Comment. I’m afraid I can’t return the compliment, must as I’d like to – I’ve ceased following any more blogs, as the numbers of emails arriving became completely unmanageable.

      Thank you again. Adrian

      Like

      • Yes, minimalist images are extremely appealing to me as well.

        And please, no worries at all about not following my blog. I truly don’t care about such things, and often will follow people for a little while in order to remind myself of where I saw something I liked. Later, I bookmark those I really like and come back to them from time to time. I don’t do well with a lot of email notifications either, so sympathize with that! At any rate, it’s lovely to see your work, and I appreciate you looking at mine.

        Like

  4. Sallyann says:

    Like the flowering blackthorn, very nice. 🙂

    Like

  5. bananabatman says:

    It’s all been said Adrian, but I particularly love the barbed wire fence. Happy Christmas.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thank you very much, Dave, much appreciated! If I can find an email address for you, I’ll send you a full quality jpeg.

      A very good Christmas and New Year to you and your wife! Adrian

      Like

  6. icastel says:

    Love that flooded fence shot! Very nice. Seems minimalistic, but rich in detail at the same time.

    Like

  7. Sallyann says:

    Hmmn, dark and brooding again ? The shapes and angles are great but instead of the cars looking like a dark invading army I’m going to use my imagination to put the colour back in. Maybe some reds, blues and possibly a green or yellow one in there to make them feel more like improvised beach huts by the sea ?

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Invading army to improvised beach huts, eh? That’s quite a leap – but your imagination has gone a bit OTT with the colours – in fact they’re mostly dull, rather low key blues and greys – I think there may be a reddish one near the back – oh dear, reality has let us down.

      Someone said to me recently that fantasy is good because it helps us deal with reality, and I think that’s true for me. Hoping to retire soon – and have more time for both fantasy and reality.

      Thanks for your thoughts, Sallyann! Adrian

      Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Well, you either like it or you’ve just sat on something sharp >>> I’m hoping for the former >>> this blog needs all the help it can get! Thank you for all your good thoughts! Adrian

      Like

  8. Graham says:

    Nice work Adrian. Nice composition, and I like the reflections.

    Like

  9. Sallyann says:

    Oooh I like this flooded fence picture, you’ve made it look like a pen and ink sketch. 🙂

    Like

  10. Nicely done, Adrian. Has a sketch feel to it.

    Like

  11. dini says:

    amazing photo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  12. krikitarts says:

    This is really a fascinating image, Adrian. Beautiful lines and subtle angles. And the much-darker post adds a lot of extra interest.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thanks, Gary – glad it hits you! I had a heavy day getting down to the Levels this time, many roads closed by floodwater – and when I eventually got there, more worries ->>> about getting home again! But I got some interesting pictures and that makes it worthwhile.

      Have bought a waterproof camera, a Lumix DMC-FT4, and let’s see what comes out of this – rush hour crowds in the rain, waterscapes when we’re washing the dishes??? Adrian

      Like

  13. Sonali Dalal says:

    Stunning image! Wonderful choice in monochrome here.

    Like

  14. Meanderer says:

    That’s a compelling shot which is stronger for being isolated from its surroundings and also for being converted to a stark monochrome.

    I took some similar photos yesterday but in colour. I was surprised to see so much flooding in places where I hadn’t seen it before.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Glad you like it, M – thank you! Mono is definitely better than colour for this – too many distractions with the colour.

      There has been an unusual amount of flooding. The Somerset Levels are the worst for a long time, with 10 tons of water per minute being pumped and the job taking another month. A

      Like

  15. adrianpym says:

    Great image Adrian

    Like

This blog has two pleasures for me - creating the images and hearing from you - so get your thoughts out to the world!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: