Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year's Day

I like to get out on New Year's Day, no matter what the weather, and have a walk and take at least one photograph. It's become a bit of a ritual. Today was one of those days which get as close as possible to raining without actually doing so -- bleak, grey, overcast, misty, damp, and cold. What the Scottish call dreich. Lovely.

As no-one else wanted to leave the house, I thought it would be a good day to look for crows. As these short winter afternoons draw to a close, hundreds of crows gather in the sky above Mottisfont Abbey, preparatory to a mass roost in the tall trees there. I like to photograph them, but bright skies make for bad silhouettes and excessive purple fringing around twigs and branches. A dull day, just as the light is failing, is the perfect time. It's the very opposite of that photographers' cliché, the "golden hour" -- the "dismal ten minutes", maybe.

Before the rooks, crows and jackdaws had begun to mass, however, I spotted this at my feet, which seemed somehow a perfectly liminal New Year's Day scene -- clear water pouring over a threshold into a dark turbulence. Despite the low light, I was lucky enough to get a good shot.

There were plenty of crows, eventually, but today the tracery of the trees against the sky was the standout feature.


sEAN bENTLEY said...

I love a good sluice. There's a great example at Bolton Abbey as well, though I've only captured it in B&W.

Martin H. said...

The skies above where we live are littered with Rooks, as they congregate each daybreak. They wing in from the surrounding rookeries, and a particularly large group always makes its appearance from the Mottisfont direction.

It's a sight I never get tired of. Best viewed when the light is low, the sky grey and the air has enough turbulence to make it fun for the birds...and me.

Mike C. said...

The other thing I spotted you might want to watch out for, Martin, is a large roosting flock of starlings over Romsey by the railway station. Looks like they're bouncing back again.