Ways of nature

October was a relatively quiet month for me in photographic terms. The large format gear did not see the light of day on account of inconvenient times for low tide and singularly inclement weather. Far too much wind and rain.

A week ago Monday I was up and out before sunrise, much more civilised this time of year, for a very cold shoot at Cattawade. At -1 Celsius is was not that cold but I am glad my motor is garaged overnight otherwise I would have lost the early light due to windscreen scraping. There was plenty of that at Cattawade I can tell you.

The scene that greeted me was quite different to what I was expecting. Yes, the boats were lined up differently and I was a little after dead low water but spreading wide and fast on the opposite side of the creek like some giant delta was a cascade of ebbing water from what had been a hay meadow through a breach in the sea wall.

Now, when I look back, the breach had been there for some while but the creek had silted up and vegetation had got a firm hold. That was before a North Sea surge tide presumably on 28th October broke through and flooded the meadows.

This in part is why I like to revisit the same places time and time again because something has always changed. After the obligatory shots of the boats, one below with two drying out Shags and an ever present Egret, I ventured around to the other side of the creek up to the breach point.

Mud and boats at low tide Cattawade creek

Now, I’ve always liked the detritus of infrastructure marching out from this Suffolk/Essex border but the whole scene takes on a different look and feel with vast swathes of water on a crisp frosty morning.

Flooded hay meadow with power lines
Hay meadow after surge tide


Flooded hay meadow with mud from dyke
Ebbing tide from hay meadow

Time it seems is against me as we approach the darkest days of the year in that the sun rises and sets in an awkward quadrant in relation the scene. Even shooting with the Ebony remote arm holding the protective plate from the ground glass gave a limited timeframe to shoot in. It may be that I have to decamp to the Essex side of the estuary.

In the meantime I will have to try and get down there more often to see how nature will fill the gap.

2 thoughts on “Ways of nature”

  1. Tom it’s one of the reasons I always enjoyed landscape, the ever changing scene and one never knows what will happen next.

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