Winter Blues?

Snettisham; Norfolk

Groynes at Snettisham in Norfolk

Winter: Cold, grey and miserable. What do we landscapers do in these darkest of days? We do what we normally do. We wait. But as the rain is falling and the light is absent there’s still plenty to keep us occupied.

There are maps to scan for routes and locations, Google Earth to check for elevations and light directions, (should it make an appearance) and then actually getting out and finding these locations to check them out for photographic suitability. After all, there’s no point going to what seems like a good location if there’s nothing of interest to focus on. And the weather needs constant checking so we’re prepared for when the fleeting light does show itself. If the weather is still being uncooperative we can also spend hours scanning the hard drive for shots that haven’t been processed or checking compositions to see if they can be improved on. Of course all of this depends on whether our ‘other half’ will let us in between the Christmas shopping, present wrapping and other festivities that happen from October to January.

With so much to do I still find myself sat on a deserted beach with the wind howling so much it’s making my eyes stream enough it’s like the tide had come back in? The weather forecast said the cloud may break and it looked like it would be right, for a change. I’m at Snettisham on the West Norfolk coast, the tide is out and there’s no sign of the sea it goes out so far. I came here a couple of years ago when the world froze. I was only learning then but was happy with the shot I got. The tide was out then too. I wonder if it ever comes in. There’s a glow on the horizon below the thicker cloud and I sit in hope. I’ve not seen any light for what seems like weeks but is only really 3 or 4 days since we got to Norfolk but the clouds broke as we came past Hunstanton on a trip around the coast. The car park is about a mile walk from where I’m now sat. I got shin splints on the walk in, I was rushing so much.

The clouds are moving quickly because of the wind. Not what I want as they’re moving towards the glow on the horizon and they’ll shut out the light, which is fading now. I decide to try a long exposure and maybe capture the movement of the clouds. A minute should do it. As I set the shutter off I hear a sound from above and look up. Pink footed geese. Hundreds of them on their way out to roost for the night. It’s a spectacular sight and an added bonus. I may not get any shots but it’s a privilege to be here since they’re not here for long. It takes a good few minutes for them all to leave; about the same time for the last of the light to go. Time to pack up, I think.

On the way back to the car park a small group of stragglers fly low over my head. Low enough that I could hear the wind rushing over their wings; something to tell Caroline when I get to the car. She would’ve liked that. No images made, but a magical moment so not a complete waste. Winter isn’t all grey and miserable.