Northumberland has been clinging to the wreckage of autumn these last few weeks but its all over now. Despite Black Friday, despite the ever sooner onset of Christmas and the tyranny of things, it has been a quiet few weeks in Beaufront Woodhead. It is also a time of inner conflicts. The desire to play golf set against too damp courses and uninviting weather – the solution – head for the coast. The impatient need to be out on two wheels set against slippery surfaces, biting winds and too much salt on the roads – the solution – sit tight and polish the hardware.
For now, the priority is the much delayed task of writing the follow-up to Golf in the Wild. My modest ambitions for the first version have been met – the production costs have been recovered and 800+ copies shipped. The sequel is progressing at a glacial pace – I am currently researching Loch Eriboll, just a few miles down the road from the return journey’s place of departure, Durness. Eriboll has some fascinating history, not least that in May 1945, this was the location for the surrender of thirty three U-boats, the pride of Germany’s Wolfpack. I could be stuck in these waters for weeks, but no matter, the days are short and the nights long.
In the meantime, this is Northumberland as autumn falls into winter:
We have been hidden beneath a blanket of damp misty days, not a breath of wind to ease the leaves from the trees. Then, this afternoon the skies cleared, a wind rose from the west and they fell like rain on the lanes that run up the hill to Hadrian’s Wall. We were fortunate to be out in this brief respite, the camera set to emulate the slightly saturated world of Fujifilm Velvia:
Wanting to go,
all the leaves want to go
though they have achieved
their kingly robes.
Weary of colours
they think of black earth,
they think of
Norman MacCaig – Autumn – 1982
Many years ago, long before the advent of scanners and digital photography, a good friend asked me to reproduce a set of postcards. As a reward for this task I was given one of these – a PZO Warszawa UR 9711 Copy Stand – a device so rare that Google has never heard of it. This is a large and serious piece of Polish engineering which seems designed to withstand nuclear attack; it is built to last. Originally intended as a ‘flatbed’ copier, it is also very good at lighting 3 dimensional objects – maybe the pros still use similar things. Once assembled I grabbed the first thing I could find and started experimenting; by happy coincidence they are autumn colours:
I have been cooped up for too many days and in danger of developing cabin fever (and digging more antiques out of the loft – I will not be popular). Late afternoon I was urgently in need of some fresh air so I tramped across the adjacent field, hopeful of some spectacular light; it was not to be as a bank of cloud rolled in across the setting sun. The wind has compensated by providing a solid blanket of leaves – more autumn colours:(click on the images to enlarge)
Just messing with a macro lens and then just messing with Photoshop and OnOne – can’t help myself :-). I think I prefer the original version, as nature intended:
And then, messing some more:
Finally, from close-up to 24mm wide-angle – the evening light along the lanes towards Fawcett Hill:
(click on the images to enlarge)