It was another cold, dark, damp, and generally pretty miserable day – I think the Scots word ‘dreich’ just about covers it. I spent the morning catching up on some administrative stuff, and then around mid-afternoon decided to go to Stratford for a walk, more for the sake of getting away from my desk and out of the house than because the prospect was actively appealing.
It was so cold down by the Avon that I shuddered to imagine what it must be like out on the water. Certainly there were far fewer birds around than usual – even the normally reliable Black-headed Gulls had totally deserted both the river and the canal basin – and I wondered what on earth I was going to photograph. Luckily just then some skeins of Canada Geese began arriving, flying in from the outlying fields were they would have spent the day grazing, to their overnight roosts on the river bank and the nature reserve islands.
Trying to catch these dark and drab birds in flight in the rapidly failing light was a virtually hopeless task, but you don’t get to spend long, cold, unproductive afternoons waiting around for owls on the top of the Cotswolds scarp without being the kind of idiot who refuses to acknowledge a fools errand when it hits them round the ear – so I gave it a go, and managed this. It was the last shot of a burst – the goose was flying parallel with the Old Tramway Bridge, and was about to disappear from my view behind a floating ticket office moored at the Bancroft wharf – and was the only frame in the whole sequence in which the bird’s eye was sharp. The bridge and its reflection have produced some rather odd bokeh, and the combination of Stygian gloom and sky-high ISO have required me to take a hot iron to the file, but excuses aside, I actually rather like it.