Hot from the the run down to Cornwall and back I was eager to get out with the Ebony as a High had settled over the East.
Previously I had reported the sighting of a Kingfisher as I made some large format work on 25th August and as a result had spent several hours getting my eye back in with the digital gear to capture the antics of Charlie as I called him.
One of the parameters for the series on the Stour estuary is that images are made at or about low water. The timing of low water last Tuesday was 17:30 so I got there an hour before and made the costly decision to shoot the remaining 8 sheets of film over the golden hour. Sunset was about 19:30
When I arrived, there was a chap darting about with familiar grey barrelled Canon gear. I had a brief conversation with him and it was indeed Charlie he was after. I never told him that I called the bird Charlie and only you and I know that…
I suggested he squat on his haunches on the boat slip and just let the bird do the rest. Apparently an incapacity prevented his ability to squat and off he trotted back and forth as I set up the Ebony.
Well, I have never seen Charlie so active and there I was looking at a metered scene of F45 at 1/8th second, on Kodak Portra 160 rated at 100, whereas the previous visit had me shooting at 1/1250th second at F8 with an ISO of 3200. I was sure as eggs are eggs that knowing his perches, at some point the yellow and white hulled boat would serve as a rest. It was an absolute joy to stand there waiting and metering as he flew his territorial patrols across the head waters of the creek and then he settled, just as I expected.
The click and whirr of the leaf shutter was indeed a strange sound to capture both Charlie the Kingfisher and an almost static Egret. I could not help but think of ‘The Mill Stream’ by John Constable as I made this image. How often must he have seen the Kingfisher (further up the Stour) as he sketched and prepared cartoons for his oil painting.
Yes, I think I was at a sort of Zen crossroads last Tuesday evening delighting in the light and the life.