First light and many of the songsters were in full voice and the sound of Willow Warblers seemed to be everywhere.
There are a few iconic species you hope for when heading to Mull and we were fortunate to see them all. The Otter showed on our last day and the Hen Harriers gave great scope views but were always a little far for photography. Both species of Eagles didn’t disappoint and Red Deer were numerous but better at dawn and late evening.
On the Saturday we arrived, whilst in the hide at Fishnish we got onto a second winter Iceland Gull whilst scanning the 80 or so gulls around the fish farms a couple of hundred meters or so off shore. It gave fine scope views but was far to distant for any photography.
Mull, capricious, at times turbulent and always always changeable. This is an island of light and shade, of brilliance and foreboding often shifting between these extremes within minutes. It is a place that draws you in, holds you and tugs at you as you leave.
Winter in Norfolk brings vast skies and some great birds. I’ve visited the north Norfolk coast on a few occasions in the last year or so sometimes as part of bird race with friends (good company and good birding and if you’re up for a year list, gets you off to a flying start with well over a hundred species possible in a few days) and sometimes on my own.
After reading Adam Nicholson’s love letter to the Shiants, Sea Room, these islands had drawn me to them in a way that islands have a habit of doing. I’d caught sight of them from the Kylebrahn a couple of years ago as we sailed across the Minch from Skye to Lochmaddy. We were now in striking distance having spent some time exploring the area and peninsulas around Gairloch.
A more recent piece has seen us working with the idea of form emerging from space with the aesthetic of splitting the frame in two. ‘Out of focus’ becomes a relative concept in this work as in reality we are imaging the microscopic that is not visible to our sensitivities, thus acknowledging the curious and again relative notion of emptiness.
A very different experience to most of the islands I’ve been to was the trip to Coquet Island off the Northumberland Coast. It’s managed by the RSPB and landing is not permitted. Its lure is the Roseate Terns and of course Puffins.
The work in this post is perhaps less ‘abstract ‘(a concept that we will explore further in later posts and one that sits a little uncomfortably with me) than those in previous posts. The idea of working with Sue’s paintings as ‘backdrops’ (they are much more than this of course) whilst photographing the very plants and flowers that she had depicted in these paintings came about through a wish to begin to further explore the curious notion of space and the illusion that we all deal with in creating depth from a two dimensional surface.
The Farne Islands; a group of between 20 and 30 islands, how many depends on the state of the tide; one and a half to nearly five miles off the mainland; resistant igneous Dolerite; home to over 100,000 seabirds. I’d not visited them since childhood and had very mixed emotions after standing on them for the first time in over 50 years.