W-I-D-E-1

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The tips of coarse marsh grasses protruding from floodwater on Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 23 Nov 2012.

I’d had thoughts about cropping in more closely on this image, to better show the grasses, but I’m sticking with this version because I think that the surrounding negative space gives the image “room to breathe” – ie it is not cramped, and it gives more of a sense of the isolation and desolation that the floods have brought.

Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 300mm; 200 ISO.

If you have problems seeing the whole of this image, use your F11 key to increase the size of your view.
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Rook near Newquay, Cornwall; 23 Oct 2012.

Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 300mm; 800 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2.
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Red Car 2: bodywork and headlight abstract.

The bodywork and headlight of a car at Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley, south of Bristol; 4 Feb 2012.

This may be my most digitally manipulated image – not sure if that’s a good accolade or not!  As with all my pics, I started off in Nikon’s Capture NX2, and then conversion to mono and some colour restoration in SEP2, and then back into NX2 for more manipulation.

Can’t say I got great satisfaction from all this messing around, but I do rather like the end product!

Red Car 1 is here .

Nikon D700 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 185mm; 1600 ISO..

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Immature Black-headed Gull at Heron’s Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 31 Dec 2011.

There is another Black-headed Gull photo, this time of an adult, in the Birds 11 post.

Nikon D700 with 80mm-400mm VR Nikkor at 400mm; 3200 ISO.
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Countryside at Up Cerne, near Cerne Abbas, Dorset; 4 Jul 2003.

My eye starts in the large trees on the left, and is then taken out along the vague avenue between the more distant trees, up towards the top right corner.

There is another photo of this area, taken on the same day, three photos below here.

Tripod-mounted OM-4 with 85mm-250mm Zuiko; Fulji Velvia 50 colour slide...

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Two more versions of the OLD 8 post – which see here – showing me in our garden .  Which do you prefer – me on the left or me on the right???

Perhaps predictably, I think I prefer me on the right – as my eye enters this wide picture on the left, skids across it but is brought to a halt by my feet – ie my eye stays within the picture – in fact it moves back and fore between my feet and that clump of Cowslips over on the left.  In the lower photo, my eye again enters on the left, and skids across to the Cowslips and just about – but not quite – stops there: my eye exits the frame.

This picture would be better if there were more flowers on the grass in front of my feet, and I imagine this could be achieved with software.

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The church in the trees and a field of oilseed rape, at Up Cerne, near Cerne Abbas, Dorset; 4 Jul 2003.

The church looks old but most of it dates from Victorian times.  It has no dedication.

Tripod-mounted OM-4 with 85mm-250mm Zuiko; Fulji Velvia 50 colour slide.

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The Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay, Cornwall; 13 Sept 2011.  For further details, and another crop of this shot, see the Colour 35 post, here .
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Alleyway just off the main street in Ilfracombe, north Devon; 3 Oct 2007 >>> and see another, less cropped interpretation of this picture in the Colour 22 post, here .

For me, the strong point of this picture is the off-white and green coated roughness of the wall in the center of the shot, and this wide version brings more prominence to that area of wall.  The wall is old and unkempt, mortar has fallen out from between the bricks in places, and rainwater pouring down over the wall from above has coated it in dirty, off-white and green, powdery lime.  This version also gives more prominence to the window and the shrub too, and I think I prefer it to the Colour 22 post’s version.  Which do you prefer?

Nikon F6 with 24mm-85mm Nikkor at 24mm; Fuji Provia 400X slides rated at 1600 ISO..

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Fun, good times and mayhem at the wedding reception. Further info: see People 19.
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Female Mallard and her scrummed down brood of ducklings on the banks of Chew Valley Lake reservoir, at Herons Green near Bristol; 27 Jul 2011.  The mother is keeping a watchful eye on me as the tiny ducklings, less concerned, huddle together for warmth in the cool morning.  Other birds’ moulted feathers lie all around. I don’t think that the mother’s head is quite in focus – it looks more like focus is on her back – my mistake.  Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor; 800 ISO.  See more pictures in the Birds (4) post.

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A walk around Bath with the G11 – 24 July 2011: see the Bath (1) post.
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A walk around Bath with the G11 – 24 July 2011: see the Bath (1) post.
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A walk around Bath with the G11 – 24 July 2011: see the Bath (1) post.
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A severe crop of the Painted Lady butterfly photo from the Somerset Levels (8) post – here the insect’s black, tube-like proboscis can clearly be seen delving down into the flower to suck up nectar.

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The chair from the Abstract 1 post seen in another orientation; 29 Mar 2006.  Nikon F6 with long end of 80mm-200mm Nikkor; Fuji Velvia 100 rated at 200 ISO.

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Steps at Bristol University; 5 Sept 2009. OM-4 with 21mm Zuiko; Ilford HP5+ rated at 1600 ISO; tinted with Silver Efex Pro.  See also the Bristol (4) post.

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Cropped and rotated (90 degrees anticlockwise) version of a tree and its reflection in a lake – now transformed perhaps into a picture of a vertical tree trunk, with small, leafy branches sprouting out from each side???  This picture has been extensively manipulated in Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro, where it has been given the look of antique solarization with copper toning, and a dark vignette.  The complete picture will appear in a post entitled The Mendip Hills (1), which is being compiled.

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Lapwings in a winter sky above  Tadham Moor, in the Brue Valley, Somerset Levels; 31 Dec 2009.  There is an ongoing debate amongst photographers as to how far digital images should be manipulated – in a nutshell, should they always faithfully represent the subject – or be free not to?  The same debate (purists against progressives perhaps?) raged (still rages, maybe)with darkroom manipulation of film.   The picture above is obviously not as I saw it but, sitting here at the computer, I had a vision in my mind as to how the picture should look – and using software I created that look.  As far as I’m concerned that’s fine, and I revel in the creative opportunities that digital photography gives me, both when taking the photo and afterwards.  The one thing that for me is certainly out, is the production of heavily manipulated digital images that purport to be natural, true representations of the subject, that purport to be ‘what the camera saw’.

Here I love the stark graininess, and the fluctuating line of  dark sky that starts in the top right corner and meanders across the composition to exit the frame at center bottom.  And then the birds, pure silhouettes, pressing on through the cold wind – looking at this, I can feel how cold Tadham Moor felt on that New Year’s Eve.   Nikon D700 with long end of 24mm-120mm VR Nikkor; 800 ISO.

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People being photographed on the promenade at Lyme Regis, Dorset; 5 Nov 2009.   I rarely photograph people that I do not know, but here is an exception.  We were lounging in a shelter beside the promenade at Lyme when these people stopped in front of us – and unwittingly offered me a photograph of both the photographed and the photographer  – I had time for one frame.  This is in some ways a strange shot, and much can be surmised from it.  Structurally, it has three distinct planes.  First, the camera is looking out from behind the low wall of the shelter, with a view harshly and uncompromisingly cut through by the shelter’s thick railings, which are in dark silhouette.  Beyond this, the people are standing on the sunny promenade, which is itself bounded by yet more railings, this time lower, gentler and sunlit.  And beyond this second set of railings is the sea, bluish and gentle, with a few wavelets.  The distribution of people in the photo is also odd:  the main subjects of the picture are towards its left and right edges – and, between and below them, an unknown, headless figure walks on the (virtually unseen) shingle of the beach.

Then, much can be surmised about the people themselves.   First, they are having their photo taken in time honoured seaside fashion, squinting into almost painfully bright, low angle sunlight.  The aim here is not to achieve a quality portrait of the group, but rather a quick memento of a happy day out together in the sunshine.  Next, they are relations: the two women are sisters and these are their men / partners / husbands.  The elder sister is nearest the camera, and her man is the photographer (from the photo, this could in fact be a third woman, but I remember that it was a man).  The man standing next to her is with her younger sister, and he has his arm flung over her younger sister’s shoulders.   Because her man is taking the photo, the elder sister feels slightly alone, and so puts her arm through that of her sister’s man, to feel and look more a part of the group.    If you have trouble viewing details in this picture, click onto it to see it much enlarged and press F11 for full screen.  Nikon D700 with long end of 24mm-120mm VR Nikkor; 400 ISO.

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Tiled roof with moss and lichens,  in the village of Catcott Burtle, west of Westhay, Somerset Levels; 19 Feb 2010.  Canon PowerShot G11; 400 ISO.  Across the road from this roof is The Burtle Inn, which puts on excellent Sunday carveries:  http://www.burtleinn.fsnet.co.uk/BurtleHome.htm .

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Mute Swans in peat workings beside Westhay Moor Drove in the Brue Valley, Somerset Levels; 20 Feb 2009.  Peat occurs at the surface in the Brue Valley, and it has been widely extracted for use in garden compost.   After the peat is exhausted, the workings are left as open pits which, soon becoming flooded and colonised by reeds, are very attractive to wildlife.  Here the swans are standing on a ridge of the black peat, within the reed beds.  Nikon F6 with long end of 80mm-400mm VR Nikkor; Fuji Provia 400 slides rated at 500 ISO.

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Reflection of railings in a puddle at Swanage, Dorset; 2 Nov 2010. The railings’ relections are sharp, whereas the railings themselves are out of focus.  Nikon D700 with the long end of a 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor; 400 ISO.   A less cropped version of this shot is in “DORSET (2)”.

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Lioness relaxing in the midday heat, Amboseli National Park, Kenya; July 1978. This photo is also in the “KENYA (4)” post – find more comment there.

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Simple beauty: a cloud caught in the rays of the rising sun, above our back garden; 5am, 7 Jul 2005.  Olympus OM-4 with the long end of a 75mm-150mm Zuiko zoom; Fuji Provia 400 rated at 3,200 ISO.  The push processed slide film gives attractive grain – best appreciated by clicking onto the photo and seeing it at full size.

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Reeds on Shapwick Heath, about a mile south of Westhay, on the Somerset Levels; 15 May 2010.  The wide format here is ideal for this reedbed’s shape – but for me, more than that, the lush greens completely evoke spring on the Levels – and, if you have birds in mind, a time to go there to see Swallows, Cuckoos, Little Egrets, Hobby’s, Whitethroats, Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers – and, more recently, maybe a Bittern too.  Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 140mm; 400 ISO.

Below is the same shot in monochrome – far more stylised and with the pale reeds achieving much greater prominence, and the green lushness quite gone.  Two very different end products – which do you prefer?  – send me a Comment with your views if you like, or vote in the poll above – use the F11 key to view both photos together on fullscreen.

Reeds on Shapwick Heath, about a mile south of Westhay, on the Somerset Levels; 15 May 2010.  See text immediately above this photo for more comment.

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Sheltering during a heavy downpour on the Tealham-Tadham Moors, on the Somerset Levels south of Wedmore: the Canon PowerShot G11 focuses on the rain-lashed window of my car, which is coloured vivid green by the lushness of the surrounding pastures;  9 Aug 2010.

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Mooring post in the harbour at Lyme Regis, Dorset; 6 Nov 2008. This shot has been abstracted from one that shows more of the post – which I prefer – its in the “Dorset (2)” post. But this one relies upon the same technique as the other, i.e. use of a telephoto close in both to throw the background out of focus, and to emphasise the very furrowed and rugged nature of this old post. Using Silver Efex Pro, I’ve given the picture a slight sepia tint, and further roughened the wood’s surface. Nikon F6 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor; Fuji Provia 400X slides rated at 1600 ISO.

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Sunrise with traffic cones: Westhay Moor Drove, Godney Moor, just north of Lower Godney, Somerset Levels; 17 Sept 2010. I’ll write more fully on this in “My Photography” another time, but I must say that I rate the Canon PowerShot G11 very highly – I’m simply astounded at what this (almost) little camera is capable of! Here I was out on The Levels when, quite far up the road, this fleeting scene unfolded – the road, complete with cones, disappearing into rolling mist turned golden by the sunrise. I simply set the G11 on its longest telephoto setting (140mm, in 35mm format terms), looked into its articulated screen and took several shots before the mist moved on. Here is the (cropped) result: not perfect, but not bad either.

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Terraced housing in Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset; 28 May 2010. I always get visually stimulated by the sight of buildings’ facades seen at an angle, i.e. sideways on as here,when perspective turns the windows to slits and compresses them closely together. I’ve often taken photos of such facades but they rarely amount to much. This one works though, probably due (a) to the repetition of the strong vertical elements in the picture that are given stark emphasis by the harsh, midday sunlight, (b) to the variety of rather pastel colours, and (c) to the 300mm (= x6) telephoto, which has abstracted just a fraction of the total scene before me. From the number of pictures in this blog taken with the long end of my 300mm zoom, it seems that this is one of the focal lengths with which my eyes see the world. Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO.

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Hawiian Goose, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, Glos. Nikon D700 and the long end of a 70mm-300mm Nikkor; 400 ISO. I like photographing animals and birds from their own level, i.e. not looking down at them, but rather being down with or alongside them, and photographing from close in, so that they become the sole or at least the predominant subject in the picture.

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Gull flying low over our back garden, towards a large and out of focus conifer; 14 Apr 2010. Fired at, machine gun-like at 5 frames/second, with the Nikon D700’s autofocus tracking the bird as it swept in towards me. Photographed with the long end of a 70mm-300mm Nikkor. The original photo shows the whole bird, but I think that having it entering the right hand edge of the frame, with the out of focus darkness of the conifer on the left, gives the picture a more uncertain, possibly threatening or even surreal feel. This photo is already in Home and Garden (4).

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Flowering Blackthorn at the bottom of our garden; 14 Apr 2010. Nikon D700 and the long end of a 70mm-300mm Nikkor.  Digitally given a blue tint like old Polapan film, using Alien Skin’s Exposure 2.  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.  I’m very pleased with this shot, and particularly so as its from our garden – I wish my pictures could all turn out like this!

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38 Responses to W-I-D-E-1

  1. Rupali says:

    The grass picture has got all my attention.

    Like

  2. paula graham says:

    Interesting stuff, not sure why I have not spotted this before..the one with the red car , up top, I see as a high heeled shoe!

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Well I haven’t done any of these WIDE compositions for sometime, maybe years in fact, and so I haven’t made any posts telling readers of additions to the two pages. Glad you like them – and I hadn’t spotted it before, but I see exactly what you mean re the high heeled shoe! Love that mention you made about you’re being Matchstick Woman – if we ever get to meet, it’ll help me spot you! A 🙂

      Like

  3. Malin H says:

    These are my favourites in this post: Red Car 2, lapwings in a winter sky, mute Swans, reeds on Shapwick Heath (the b&w version), Hawiian Goose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Malin, my friend, thank you very much for looking all though these! You know, I rarely think about these two WIDE pages these days – I ought to repost some of these images in my Archive category. Thank you for listing your favourites – I can certainly see why you like the lapwings and the mono reeds, they’re very much in your style. Thank you very much for your appreciation! Adrian

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely images and I particularly like the very top one. And a great idea to have the polls – it made me think – and it’s good to get feedback like this on what others think.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      David, thank you very much! The polls are a good concept, but in the earlier days of this blog I found that the numbers of people giving their opinions were not large. I haven’t used a poll for ages – things might be different now. Thank you again. Adrian

      Like

  5. bluebrightly says:

    What a wonderful set of images – I can understand how, on the first one, you’re tempted to come in closer because grasses are such interesting subjects, but I agree, the breathing room is lovely here. The two shots of your feet – no doubt in my mind it’s a perfect diptych! Just as it is. I like the complexity of the walk around Bath window reflections. How perfect to follow with the minimalist chair detail. I like both shots of the reeds – they’re too different to compare, somehow. And the rain on the windshield – there, I love the shot and the words, too. Being a bird lover since very early on, I love the way you handled the gull and goose.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Lynn. And – this eerie! – I was an enthusiastic birder and bird lover for decades – see “A Bird Atlas of Kenya” – tho I’m only a bird lover now, having exchanged the birder bit for what I call “conscious photography” (as opposed to the instinctive photography I did since childhood) in 2003 or so.

      Re the grass, I think I can crop too closely sometimes. My mind is by default set on using the viewfinder like (as one photographer hero put it) an “optical machete” to exclude all detail not directly related to the subject, but giving things room to breathe is certainly something to be kept in mind.

      Yes, the reeds are really two different images – as often happens with colour and mono pairs.

      Thank you again! Adrian 🙂

      Like

  6. So many lovely images – I’m really enjoying seeing your work, and look forward to coming back to your site soon.

    Like

  7. Adrian – ii meant to say that the Marsh Grasses above is awesome. Simplicity but not too minimal. The tonal wash bott to top. The secondary grasses, give 3D glues. Was the (duck-egg) blue & overall colouring as seen/captured? Owen

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Hello, Owen. I don’t fully understand your words – eg 3D glues? – and I can’t recall shooting conditions that long ago, not with the volume of images I get through, but I >>>think the colours in the image (the top one on this page) are true. The blue of the water is the reflection of the blue sky. Adrian

      Like

  8. Sonali Dalal says:

    Wow! How come I have not seen any of these photos? They are all lovely. Particularly from the composition point of view. Do more of them!

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thanks, I’m happy you like these! I’ve been lazy (or should that be lazier???) of late, not adding anything to this WIDE page for sometime – as you say, I must add more ->>>> thank you for spurring me along! A

      Like

  9. poppytump says:

    Oh so very … *inspiring* 🙂
    Love to see some places we have visited and loved – in a different light or capture .. Dorset ..Lyme .. Like the Grainy Birds in the Sky .. and even Bristol Uni Steps Somewhere …. am sure have photo of daughter sat with uni friends sat on very same or nearby !

    Like

  10. Sallyann says:

    Some curiously close crops here. I think I like the young seagull best. 🙂

    Like

  11. Dina says:

    Great, my favourites. Your landscapes inspires me to improve my own photographic skills. Nice job!

    Have a great weekend.
    Love
    Dina

    Like

  12. jmnartsy says:

    I like this collection, a fine example of abstractness and colour. You have a good eye. My faves: The swans, the chair from abstract, the railings in the puddle, the monochrome of the reeds, the lioness, the rain in your windshield. Excellent. One suggestion: the roof with lichens, crop more severely from the top to create a real abstract and more interesting viewpoint, I think! 😀

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      jmnartsy, thanks for your comment, I appreciate your words! I see what you mean re the roof with lichens shot – but would you simply remove the blue sky, or remove the ridge tiles altogether? If I were to remove the tiles completely, I could see this working with 90 degrees’ rotation clockwise or anti. Adrian

      Like

  13. What a wonderful collection, the view from your eyes is very appealing as well!

    Like

  14. Love these wide crops and effect of their perspective.

    Like

  15. I like the first picture, of the people in the wedding reception. Captured people individual expressions are always fascinating to see.

    Reeds on Shapwick Heath, I definitely prefer the color version, o yeah. It’s so refreshing and pleasing, love it. The colors makes the composition far more stronger than the B&W version, in my opinion.

    The green pastures and the recurring patterns as seen through your drenched car window, again is very much to my liking.

    Flowering Blackthorn, it’s simply gorgeous. Love it. Even if it is not represented in other format, I think it’s just as beautiful.

    Like

  16. very nice FM! I also like the wide screen …

    Like

  17. I don’t know why I wasn’t subscribed to your blog… I guess I thought I was since I’m always coming across your posts! Love these wide ones as well! Beautiful! I love these detailed, close up views that can be seen in a wider perspective… very cool! 🙂

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thank you very much, Polly, I’m a big fan of your work too – very imaginative stuff, and if there’s one (or more!) things I hugely admire in life its imaginative thought and creativity, things that take thought into new realms. Looking forward to seeing more of your pictures. FATman

      Like

  18. This is an unusual and interesting aspect ratio.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Good, glad you like it, mostlymonochrome! I was a film photographer for years and could never do anything with a format like this, but digitally its easy and I think it often brings new life to pictures presented in more normal shapes. FATman

      Like

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