Carrying a camera everywhere is sensible for photographers, and bloggers. There are few more disappointing moments for a photographer, than missing a great opportunity; recording special moments is what they live for. For that reason my Samsung compact accompanies me everywhere, a constant companion, including when walking the dogs along the nearby River Goyt.
This is a favourite route, which along with the river includes the locks of Macclesfield Canal, and wooded paths of Brabyn Park near Marple, Cheshire. It’s a pleasant stroll, the dogs love exploring the undergrowth, chasing squirrels, and there’s usually something to catch the eye, or point a lens at.
A nearby farm has several lovely horses, grazing the still lush grass, and their riders can often be seen trotting along the bridleways. Chatting away, it’s almost a social occasion and not a serious ride,
As the season begins to draw in, and the trees start to don their vibrant coats of autumnal colour, many photographers venture out from their homes or studios. The green leaves gradually drain of their summer colour, becoming gold, burnt orange, or deep crimson. Walking early in the autumn evenings, glowing with soft light, as the sun hides behind the highest trees, the shadows grow longer, and it’s an ideal time for capturing some lovely images.
The River Goyt is very picturesque, only slightly wider than a brook, it meanders, and bubbles over the rocky bed. It’s also an ecological success story, as just a few years ago it was bereft of life, overgrown, filled with discarded rubbish, and saturated with pollution; dyes dumped by the textiles mills meaning it often changed colour daily. It is now teeming with fish, some sizeable barbel, chub, dace, grayling, trout and even enough salmon to tempt numerous fly fishermen into casting a line into the fast flowing stream.
The anglers do not have the fishing all to themselves, one of the biggest thrills all summer was seeing the brilliantly coloured kingfishers. They’d often failed to materialise, just chirping their presence, as if taunting passers-by, however they were the highlight of several evening outings.
Creeping along the bank, in trying to find the best place for a shot, turned gentle walks into adventures. This added to the appeal of every trip, and the uncertainty of whether they would appear, also added to the excitement, each walk brimmed with anticipation.
Attempting to capture them, and some of the other birdlife, such as herons, mallards, and mandarin ducks with the compact was usually a challenge. On at least one occasion it was necessary to take a big camera, with an even bigger lens; these close-ups of the kingfisher are the result.
Although a small compact with a decent optical zoom, or even a smartphone can often produce decent results, there are times that there isn’t any substitute for a quality camera, and interchangeable lens. Tiny birds on the far side of a river at dusk certainly seems one of these.
I’m looking forward to more strolls down by the riverbank as the colour of autumn really takes hold, before finally giving way to the cold grip of winter. It may require some early mornings, hoping for frosty greetings to the day, crunching through fallen leaves, when low-lying mist will stubbornly refuse to lift. The dogs will certainly join me, but hoping the kingfishers, and herons will occasionally be my companions too.
When have you wished you had a camera with you? Add your comment below.