Starlings Masterclass


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Humphrey Head

June 2010 |

The deadline for my latest assignment was Polling Day. Having resignedly pencilled my cross, as at every General Election, by a candidate I knew wouldn’t win, I drove south into Westmorland. I wanted to revisit the wonderful limestone promontory of Humphrey Head, rising above Morecambe Bay. I had hoped that the hawthorns, with their twisted and contorted wind-blown shapes, might be in flower but it was still too early this late spring. However the clumps of orchids and cowslips and the peregrine wheeling around the cliff-top lifted my gloomy mood, and I ended up spending nearly four hours happily poking around the headland. In all I took 150 photos, of which 145 were later dumped straight into the computer’s recycle bin – I recommend taking plenty of photos and scrapping nearly as many! Edit ruthlessly.
On this occasion I was trying out a new tripod, which weighed about half of my sturdy old Manfrotto. Serious photographers might be sniffy about it, but I’m not getting younger, and my digi equipment needs far less support than the large film cameras I used to use. It all feels a bit like cheating nowadays! The tripod I chose was a Calumet (a good camera store) own brand 7300, costing just under £60. I enjoyed this trial run on Humphrey Head, found the tripod light and easy to use. One thing I’ll need to watch though is that it doesn’t get blown over in the wind. But then in windy conditions I’d probably take my old beast of a tripod.

This leftward-leaning hawthorn was actually the last photo I took. I’d been concentrating on bent trees that framed the Bay, but in the end decided that the wonderful sweep of branches and the interesting sky to the right made this simple picture the stronger image.