The sunsets in Suffolk are legendary. Beloved of the painter William Turner, I understand that they are produced by the particular quality of the misty droplets in the air from the North Sea which refracts the light in a certain way. We had some truly spectacular sunsets while we stayed in Suffolk and this one was taken through a window where the foreground was filled with the rooftops of the neighbouring houses and the trees. Once again, a multiple exposure showed the scene off to best advantage. My friend who lives in this house sees these kind of sunsets every day (when there is actual sun…) from her kitchen window! Just imagine.
Still frozen, but bubbling underneath! You know what it’s like when you just can’t do what you want, for whatever reason. It feels a lot like this waterfall that has been stopped by the cold, but you know it’s bubbling underneath as you can see the stopped drama, waiting… then just as soon as it gets warm, all of the energetic vitality that flows beneath will be released in a torrent!
This baby waterfall is in Baxter’s Harbour, not far from where we live. I have photographed it before, but always in the summer. The tide is fairly high here, lapping at the base of the ice, as if trying to coax a thaw. This photo seemed a natural follow-on from my post yesterday of the frozen flowers.
It’s the only place to start. The beginning of the day and the start of the trip back to England, the country of my young womanhood.
I don’t usually sit by the window when we fly together. Towards the end of our flight, Steve had got up to stretch his legs and I picked up my camera and slid across to his seat. I looked out of the window as we flew into the morning, nearing the shores of the British isles. Just then I was startled to see, out of the corner of my eye, a flash, almost like a flame coming from the jet engine under the wing. It was glowing with the reflected sunrise just as if on fire. Such golden promise for the future.
And so the day began, with the rising sun appearing over the blue and white cloud layer beneath. A dawn in the sky has such an immense purity about it, with all of the earthly complexities rolling and tumbling beneath the clarity of the still sky blue yonder. This so well describes our stories as we recall and relate them, with their moments of supreme clarity shining still through the confusion beneath that threatens to suck them under.
My England always has an airplane at the beginning and at the end of it. And I remembered back to where I was many years ago, sitting in an airplane flying from Montreal to London for the very first time. So this return would be a trip for memories and for clarity. I really wanted to cut through to the essence and this dawn was the way to begin, before we started our bumpy descent through the ever present cloud layer lying over England.
One of the best things about our trip to England was finding family waiting for us. This was a really special trip for us as we met our two youngest grandchildren for the first time. In this post I am simply wanting to share with you, my dear readers a couple of photos I took of them. They are absolutely wonderful.
And meet Elsie
… like a pendulum do’ as the song goes. When one of my readers (yes, Jesse, that’s you!) said he wanted to see a pair of Bobbys on bicycles two by two, I had to fix it for him somehow. Well they don’t ride around on bicycles in pairs anymore, and certainly not where we are.
So here’s my laughing policeman! Part of my England!
I lived for 21 years in England in total and have been away from it except for short visits for almost 30. There are some scenes that are uniquely English memories for me (though they might well exist in other places) and I am hoping to find some of them on this trip and share them here. These are two special scenes to start off with.
As you gather from this post, we are back in England for a visit to family and friends. Today we went for a lovely walk along the bank of a river near where Steven’s parents live. There is something so very English about a river in the country, with the weird and wonderful boats moored along a rickety jetty and the ‘Walk here at your own risk’ sign posted there. The path was damp and muddy with blackberries still in the hedgerows which surprised me as ours have been over with long ago, as well as the bright red wild rosehips. The trees still have some leaves and, though they lack the brilliance of the autumn foliage we see, there is a rich depth to their colours of yellow and browns and to the greens and rough black earth of the ploughed fields. This is always intensified by the dampness in the air and on the ground. A lonely horse grazed quietly in a field, hardly bothering to lift his head to watch us go past.
The sun was setting behind the misty paler clouds that were gathering in the distance beneath the darker cloudbanks. It was by no means the most spectacular sunset, as my father-in-law assured me. In a way that made it more special for me, in the understated quiet ending of the day. So very British.
My landscape gallery is here: Landscape Gallery
I Wished For Swans
The river is just by an RAF station and suddenly there were jets screaming deafeningly overhead as they practised whatever manoeuvres they were performing. The sound of the engines ripped through the air and buried itself in my chest so that, with my fingers in my ears I instinctively pulled my elbows in to protect my heart. I can’t see how this noise is permitted in an area where people and wildlife can be so assaulted, but it is. (I felt so sorry for the poor horse grazing nearby who couldn’t put his hooves into his ears.)
And then, just as if they had read my mind and placed themselves where I couldn’t miss them, I saw two swans dabbling in the reeds of a pond on the other side of the river bank. I don’t believe I have seen a swan since I last lived in England. They are the quintessential royal bird, indeed they are the property of the Queen, no matter where they are found in the UK. They never turned their heads when the jets flew over. Their very presence and calm, elegant dignity turned that humble reedy pond at the edge of a muddy field into a place of silent, glowing, pristine beauty. It’s all part of my England.
My gallery of animal photography is here: Animals – they enrich our lives now and fill our futures with wonderful memories.
Almost every time I drive past this scene I want to photograph it. It’s so close to where I live that I pass it several times a week, so I suppose it’s a good thing I don’t give in to this impulse each time or my hard drives would be filled with images of these experimental fields. And you, dear viewers, would be tired of them… But maybe you wouldn’t be bored, but would be as drawn to them as I am. The attraction of this scene is the constantly changing designs, growing over the original hard work of the farmer. In the spring the patches look wonderful with the neatly plowed rows and squares, then come the patterns of the sprouting crops in their straight lines; in the summer the grain varieties grow at different rates, but the overall look still remains crisp and defined in the blocks so carefully arranged by the planter. There is even a little, older tractor that is used to cultivate these as they are too small for the monster vehicles normally used in modern day agriculture (and by the same farmer on different fields).
So although I am pretty sure that I have shared an image of this scene previously, I hope you will indulge my obsession and enjoy an October evening view as the fields are ready for harvest. The foreground is an expanse of soy as a foil to the crops behind. Two days after I took this, the soy was harvested and it all looked different again.
View the full gallery of landscape photography here: Landscapes
When we were out photographing the moon last night, Steven said something that resonated with me when I saw this image. He said “it’s not only about the moon, it’s about what’s around and under it”. And this photo is about the moon, but also about the clouds, the light reflected on the waters and the shining mud of low tide, as well as the tiny lights glimmering on the shore on the other side of the bay.
It’s so much more than just a beautiful big moon. It’s what it’s all about when I’m out with friends, in beautiful surroundings, in the still of a cold night as the moon rises through the clouds over the Minas Basin, in Nova Scotia.
See the rest of my Landscapes gallery here: www.elliekennard.ca/ekgallery/landscapes/
For every photograph that I take, there are far, far more that I miss. They are the pictures stored in my memory, ready for when I plan to go back and spend the time it takes to get it right. They are the ones that got away because the scene is never there again. That first time, the light was just right, the elements all came together in a pattern or shape that was perfect, or something else about it made that moment (as every moment) unique. You can never get it back. As we drove by this scene at the end of the summer, the light and dark lines in the harvested fields, cresting the curving hills really made me want to photograph it. Unfortunately each time we were passing it we were in a hurry to go somewhere and it is right on the main highway, making a sudden stop a dangerous manoeuvre. So every time I had to content myself with looking longingly at the curves of the landscape and the straight paths left by the mower, the big round bales and the smaller squared ones. I knew that soon these would be gathered in and the green growth would blur the clean look of the field, the impression of all the elements flowing like meandering streams down the hill. On this particular weekend we set out specially to catch it. We had to stop on the side of the busy highway, with cars and trucks rushing past and the wind they created making it difficult to be still enough for the photograph. I had a long walk to get to this particular vantage point (sorry on the one hand that I had not brought my tripod, but also glad as it would have been so heavy to haul along the shoulder of the highway) and the day itself was a very blustery one as you see by the sky. I could already feel the shift of the season beginning with the gathering in of the crops. continue reading