It’s not just the birds that draw me to Islay, it’s also very rich in ancient history and has some of the best preserved Â Christian high crosses anywhere in Britain.
Back to Islay and the geese. The aim was to place them in a wider context and I was fortunate that the weather was with me (seems like it’s not been very good since then). The mornings were superb and straight out of the van I was able to work with a perfect backdrop and the geese coming over the waters of Loch Indal. Trying to work them together is not such an easy task, focusing is all against you and the focusing spot had to be continually adjusted.
The last post from the Mersey looked mainly at the physical power of the water as the high tide reached its peak, but I was very much aware of a developing narrative that involved not just the waves and surges but people and the wider context in which I was experiencing the event.
It seems as if the worst of the last storm was felt very close to home on the south Wales coast ofÂ Porthcawl and the west coast of Aberystwyth, both featuring on the national news. I was away at the time but was aware of the conditions that had been forecast close to my family home a couple of miles from the Mersey estuary in Liverpool.
More to come from Islay later but I managed a few of days down on the Exe estuary last week, again in search of getting some images of geese, dark-bellied brent this time from arctic Russia, in the context of the estuary. It was also an opportunity to witness a spectacle that has to be one of the finest in Britain, the population of avocets that flock in large numbers to this part of the world during the winter.
A recent trip up to Scotland gave an opportunity to visit and experience the Gulf of Corryvreckan from close quarters. It’s somewhere Â I’ve wanted to see properly close up for many a year. I’ve passed it by on a number of occasions, first on family holidays back in the sixties then taking my own kids to have a look as we sailed towards Colonsay.
On a recent trip down to Falmouth to attend my youngest daughter’s graduation (Press and Editorial Photography) Â I was able to grab some time to get out with AK Wildlife Cruises on one of their day long pelagic sea trips.
‘I’ll just leave it for you to see’ were Mike’s words as we were driving through South Shields towards Marsden. He’d mentioned nothing about Kittiwakes, a lift or a pub and as we drove into the car-park none of this trio were evident, but he’d said something about a grotto?
The scheduled August walk had to be cancelled due, would you believe, to bad weather! So a rather quickly arranged date was agreed – we needed and still need to Â compile enough images that place the walks into a context and time is running out.
A trip up to Â RSPB Dinas, and a new CCW reserve for me yesterday,Â proved very productive with regards to the expected species, although the woods did seem a little quiet for this time of year than I remember from previous seasons. Iâ€™m wondering if this has anything to do with the lateness of spring in general?
A run up to Dinas, always a favourite haunt, and a good walk around the â€˜rockâ€™ past Twm Sion Catiâ€™s cave in still very cold conditions produced some really fine icicles and ice sculptures. It was difficult to get a sense of the beauty through photographs and I felt dissatisfied when I left them, never an easy thing to do, and this disappointment was confirmed when I downloaded the images.
The relationship between the cliff top and the sea has always fascinated me. The space that divides the two is somewhere we rarely venture. I’m not a rock climber and even then you’re still grounded, all be it to a near vertical incline.
We woke to rain, nothingÂ unusualÂ about that, but the van wasn’t shaking and it just felt stiller. Looking out to Handa was just too much, we had planned to move back south today but being opposite the island and now with the possibility that today the boat just might run, we had to give it one last shot. We could move down south a little quicker it was a chance we had to take. It had even stopped raining!