alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts from the ‘countryside’ category

The best catch of the day

Mist on the Test

Mist on the Test

I can’t describe myself as a fisherman, but when a good friend of mine invited me to join him for a day of fly fishing on the River Test in Hampshire the answer was always going to be yes please! I had been fly fishing before, but never caught anything apart from a few weeds and the odd tree branch when my cast was less than accurate.

We wanted to get to our destination quite early as we had booked a gillie for the morning. Hopefully he would teach us a thing a two which might increase our chances of success. As we drove towards the village of Timsbury, which is just to the north of Romsey, the morning mist had yet to clear, so I had already anticipated there might be the chance of a quick photograph before the sun burnt through.

When we arrived no one else was there so we pieced together our rods, attached the reel, chose our flies and prepared ourselves for the first cast. All this time I was admiring the scene that surrounded me. The mist rising from the river, obscuring the view of the fields in the distance. It was calm and serene but I knew it would not last long. The camera came out and ‘Mist on the Test’ was taken.

We saw a fleeting glimpse of a pair of kingfishers, watched grebes diving for their food and swans enjoying the beautiful spring sunshine, but neither of us caught a single fish; in fact we didn’t even get a bite. But it was a glorious relaxing day if a little frustrating at times. I also committed the cardinal sin of not charging my batteries over night, so the low level battery warning was blinking before the day had even begun. Even the spare battery had little or no charge. So I gave up the photography and concentrated on the fishing. Little did I know that the first release of the shutter turned out to be the best catch of the day.

And just to prove we were fishing here is my friend Nik making his first cast of the day.

 

First cast

First cast

West Dean Estate – walking the dog plus some shutter therapy.

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At about 3.30 yesterday afternoon our cocker spaniel wanted to be taken for a walk. He always does at this time of day, and the temptation is to revisit one of many well trodden paths because it’s familiar and easy to do. On this occasion I decided to go somewhere new. So I took him in the car, and with a camera in my coat pocket we headed towards a part of The West Dean Estate to the north of the village of Chilgrove and walk from there. There was some lovely late afternoon sun mixed in with light and dark clouds. I just love these weather conditions for both walking and photography.

 

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By way of some background, The West Dean Estate covers approximately 6,400 acres (2,590 hectares) along the Sussex South Downs. It stretches over 6 miles (9.7 kms) from the South Downs escarpment overlooking the Sussex Weald to the edge of the Trundle Hill overlooking the English Channel and the Isle of Wight. While much of the village of West Dean and West Dean College is sheltered within the Lavant valley, the Estate rises to its highest point of almost 750 feet (280 m) on the top of the Downs. The estate is a mixture of farmland, commercial woodland and is home to West Dean College and the village of West Dean itself. There are about 20 miles of footpaths and bridleways, including a section of The South Downs Way.

 

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Interestingly all of the heating and hot water needs of West Dean College (and parts of the village) are met entirely, and on a sustained basis, by using wood fuel grown on the West Dean Estate. The biomass district heating scheme was one of the first, and remains one of the largest of its kind, in the UK.

 

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I was pleased I made the effort to walk our spaniel along some new tracks. Wherever I go I always find something to photograph and in the space of just an hour or so, I was able to return with some images hopefully worth sharing on my blog.

All of the photographs were taken with an Olympus OMD EM5 and 1.7mm f1.8 Olympus lens and processed in Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro2.