Pink-footed Geese and Whooper Swans at Pilling on the North Fylde Coast

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This set of images are beginning to acknowledge the context in which the geese and swans birds are experienced and were all taken at Pilling, Lancashire. Rather than always trying to get closer and closer and thus denying the space that they exist within, the aim is to give over a more holistic experience of being in the landscape with the birds.

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The first image here was taken at last light, around half past four on a bleak late November afternoon. In the region of ten thousand pink-footed geese were already on the Morecombe bay sands and they were joined by a further few thousand that had been feeding in a couple of fields at the back of Pilling. They were sure to move over me soon to roost on the shore.

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An Extraordinary Minute

They rose all together and flew low over me.  A fairly high pitched honking was suddenly everywhere. It was like being wrapped up in an envelope of sound and whilst the image may transport me back to that extraordinary minute it is, by its very nature mute. The experience is thus diluted and memory alone takes over. The whoopers too passed close on a number of occasions and sent a ripple throughout my whole body, both species, harbingers of winter, are synonymous with wild places and wide spaces. Their migration remains almost beyond comprehension and their pair bonding remarkable. It’s not only the calls of both that are so evocative but the sound of their wings as they fly close to you. There has to be a better way to give over a holistic experience of being in such situations and it’s something I’m going to explore over the next year or so.

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The full experience

To begin with I’ve dusted down my old 5×4 MPP and bought some FP4 sheet film. I want to produce similar images to some of these here but with the capacity for them to be enlarged to six feet or more. Size I feel may be important, it ‘s a start to explore how to bring the experience closer to the viewer. Sound needs to be explored as well, and that will take me into completely new areas. Text, memory and layout need to be considered and how to incorporate the vast array of senses and experiences that come together in such a moment is something I’m looking forward to exploring. Where it will take me I’ve no idea but I’m excited!

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