Saturday, 20 February 2010

What happened to the light?

Friday was one of "those" days. 

A cloudless blue sky persuaded me to take my camera and have a walk along the Pocklington Canal in East Yorkshire. I had a few things to do first and it was lunchtime before I set off - the first few clouds had just appeared. 

As I drove down to the stretch of canal I thought would give me a good chance of seeing some wildlife more clouds filled the sky. As I arrived the wonderful light that had inspired me to go out had gone to be replaced by a grey sky (one day I will learn to forget everything else and rush out when ever decent light appears) . This stretch of the canal is prone to flooding and sure enough the fields had become ponds with the drainage ditches overflowing into the canal - the levels however were lower than my last visit when I was only able to walk a short distance before meeting water too deep to risk wading through -  there was only one problem - I had forgotten to put my wellingtons in the car. I chose to risk slightly wet and muddy feet and walked away from the road only to be met by knee deep water where the water in the fields and ditch ran into the canal. I turned back once but hearing geese further up I decided that as my feet were wet I would carry on as the ground further up was higher and bound to be drier. The water was icy cold but soon I was on better ground and met with the sight of a large flooded field with Mute swans, Canada and Greylag geese, Wigeon, Teal and Pochard on the far side. Passing an Otter spraint I moved on. 

Hiding behind  a raised bank I found a spot with good cover from trees and hid hoping something would come closer. After a while I heard the sound of something moving through the water and wondered if the Otter or some of the swans I had seen further down were coming up the canal but as the noise got louder I saw it was a canoeist who was approaching and he chose where I was to take his canoe out of the canal and drag it along the bank to avoid a lock. I then heard the sound of an engine and was surprised to see two youths attempting to get a motorbike along the towpath - they were defeated by the flooding but had churned the path up and scared anything away for some distance. After this disturbance I moved up and hid behind a tree as a group of Wigeon that had taken flight from the "bikers" approached and flew over one of the flooded fields with their distinctive call filling the air - the light was grey and flat and the sky was reflecting off the water but by increasing the iso I managed to get a shot of them as they came close.

I then moved further up where there was more cover and found a spot with wildlife more within range of my lens. I was very careful to approach but they started to take flight as a light aircraft approached at a low level - oh well some days just don't go as hoped. With the light levels still low I walked further up the canal and then turned around to make my way back pausing to observe 3 Goldfinches in a tree and photographing a Mute swan.

On reaching the flooded section again I once more had to get my feet wet - the water felt even colder this time and a chilly breeze had got up which did not help.

Further along I saw a large flock of birds in the sky as they got closer I realised they were Lapwing. There must have been a few hundred of them. Slowly moving through the air they made a magnificent site.

As I got back to the car the end of the clouds was in sight and on the drive home the sun broke through.

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