Something I’ve noticed about photography at this time of year, is that pretty much the entire day has some decent lighting to take photographs in. Of course the sunrise and sunset times are always the best, but pretty much all day we get a low sun light, and so the shadows are nice and long from the natrual side lighting. Its like we get a really long morning, and when that finishes its almost time for the sunset to roll in!
Today I wanded off into a set of fields that I’ve always thought might hold a decent image of the River Weaver, especially if there was a mist rising from it early morning. I went over at about 8:30am this morning, and although I had the light, the mist wasn’t there today, its just been too warm over night the past few days.
The scene without the mist, wasn’t that spectacular, pretty uninspiring to be honest, however on the way down I did see this gnarly tree being back lit by the low sun light. It looked really cool, and it seemed I’d got my photograph for the day before I’d even arived at my location!
Just before taking these shots, on the way down, I saw something even more amazing, a bird of prey – and as you know I’ve been trying to capture some images of these birds for some time now, with varying degrees of success.
I did think I might see some wildlife on the way to where I was heading, becase its not a public foot path, or anything like that, I just knew of a bend in the river that I knew would be catching the sun in the morning, so thats where I was heading.
I saw a crow in the distance, having just taken off. It circled around a couple of times, and started to come towards me, and I realised it wasn’t a crow, it was a bird of prey!
I literally froze in my tracks so as not to scare it. Knowing I might see some wildlife I’d already got my long lens on, and already dialled in my “birds inflight” settings on my camera, and so I was primed to capture some photographs. I couldn’t beleive my luck!
The bird flew nearer and nearer to me, occasinally circling around and gaining a little height, but it was still clearly going to fly right over me and lower that one has flown over me before whilst I’ve had my camera with me.
It wa all going really well, and I captured a couple of long range shots before I briefly tracked off the bird and sent my lens into a “lost focus” situation. That, was the end of that. My long lens takes what feels like a week to find focus again, and its particularly difficult to re-track a bird flying past. The quickest way is to focus on the tip of a tree roughly the same distance as the bird then track back onto the bird. However, by the time I’d done that the bird had drifted right over my head, low and slow, and disappeared behind the trees to my right.
I have to admit, it was a low point for me, everything had aligned; I’d dropped lucky with a bird of prey flying past me, the light was catching the bird beautifully and from a nice angle, I had my long lens on, settings dialled in and I was ready. However, it wasn’t to be!
Anyway, I trundled on to see if the spot I actually came down here for held a photograph – as I mention earlier it didn’t, but it very well might do if there is a mist one morning. I will almost certainly be down again anyway, now I know birds of prey visit the area!
On the walk back I spotted this sheeps skull, there was quite a bit of debris along the edge of the river, that has clearly been washed down with the floods, the area I was in is very flat and low lying, and when there are heavy rains it often floods.
Anyway, as much as a skull often symbolises death, it did look interesting and it was nicely lit by the sun!
Learnings – so close today to that shot of a bird of prey I’m after, but agonisingly still so far away! Still, the location I was in is again just a stones throw from home, so I can visit it again and maybe I’ll get another chance.
As for todays main photograph, it was a little tricky to capture cleanly being so heavily back lit, but I’m pleased with the outcome. Also, I do think it would look even better with a heavy mist and fog behind it rolling up off the river. Thats one for the future for sure.