In which your author
pootles swans about Wapping
My bank holiday task list has been written and part of this was visiting KEMP to see their interpretation of Sauron’s tower (more properly called Barad-dûr according to Wikipedia – where else other than this blog can you get graphs, photos and literary references?).
Talking to WiW and LoveWapping, who we encountered undertaking a photocall, I discovered there were some cygnets on Shadwell basin. I had a brief chat to WiW about the difficulties of bird photography and proving whether something is a juvenile/adult male/female raven/rook/crow; I suggested the use of those rulers they have on CSI for capturing scale. WiW said that taking photos of wild birds is harder than it seems but that LoveWapping used to take crime scene photos (rather than just wearing a paper romper suit for fun), so maybe he could supervise in future (I think that’s what WiW meant, rather than having a collection of corvid cadavars).
We then discussed the merits of different camera lenses and whether using a fixed focal length (prime) lens instilled greater discipline (for some reason I rarely get invited to parties). For various technical reasons, it transpired that I had the camera/lens combination with the longest reach, and was tasked with taking some photos of the cygnets.
After a quick trip to Maplin by St Paul’s Cathedral, to buy some heat shrink to finish the repair @potoft’s Marshall headphones (the tight northerner in me not being prepared to not at least attempt a botch job), which I had soldered yesterday, and a spot of beer and a sausage at the Prospect, I collected my telephoto lens and headed to the basin.
On my initial approach the female swan and the cygnets were having a snooze on one of the pontoons used by the outdoor activity centre, and it didn’t look like I was going to be getting a great shot in the immediate future. A quick stroll round KEMP (at which point I discovered drinking beer and then leaving the pub without a pre-emptive wee makes for a full bladder), and we discovered that some people love wildlife so much they appear to dress up as it (though not to the extent as a previous inhabitant of a house I lived in at university who took the fur thing to a completely different level courtesy of the affections afforded by a large plush wolf).
We again walked past LoveWapping and WiW and I then realised, that despite the fact the sun was out, and the park was filling up with sunbathers, both LoveWapping and WiW were dressed for Winter. This clearly is where my blog writing falters. Whereas I was pootling around in just jeans and a ‘campaign for surreal ale’ t-shirt, the professionals were both wearing coats. Clearly this novice has much to learn.
Fortunately on the return leg the cygnets were out and paddling on the basin and I managed to get some nice shots, of some incredibly cute cygnets. Unfortunately for bystanders, this photoshoot was accompanied by my rendition of ‘there once was an ugly duckling’ in the key of ‘off’.
Oh and if you haven’t had enough of cute, I spotted one of my resident squirrels, which I think may be pregnant given her recent increase in size (or may be due to the fact she empties the bird feeder of seeds in about 30 minutes).
If you click on the photos you should be able to cycle through in higher resolution.