It's been quite some time since I've been able to spend a day purely on photography but that opportunity was presented to me recently so I grabbed it enthusiastically. My first objective was to spend some time practising a technique for plant and flower photography developed by Niall Benvie so I headed off to Ness Gardens to have a go. What I discovered was that it's not as easy as it looks and a botanical garden, despite being blessed with interesting plants, may not be the best place to tackle it; it's something of a challenge to find suitable specimens which are positioned in such a way that you can set up the various tripods, stands and diffusers. That said, I spent a happy couple of hours having a go - with mixed results.
It was refreshing to try something new and I'll certainly keep working at trying to perfect it.
Following lunch, I decided to head for Port Sunlight . I hoped to find more blossom to photograph but, despite not finding anything suitable, was content to wander around the village for a while. I've always enjoyed spending time in Port Sunlight. It really is a beautiful oasis of calm surrounded by industry, busy roads and some not so attractive areas.
Finally, I decided to head for the Mersey Ferry. As you can see from the picture above, it was a really lovely spring day but certainly not the kind of conditions where you can expect anything very dramatic. My decision to go to the Ferry was really more about nostalgia than photography. I love the Ferry. I suppose it has a lot to do with the fact that it is an iconic symbol of my home town and also that it brings back many memories - when I was young, the Ferry was part of our long commute to my Grandparent's house in Norris Green. Now, of course, it is more a tourist attraction than a mode of transport but it's still so very important to me. I like to bore people with the tale of how I got to steer the Ferry one day and I'm certainly not going to waste this opportunity to do so. It promise it is relevant to the blog - bear with me.
My Mum and Dad bought me my first 'proper' camera for Christmas when I was 16, a Cosina 1TA. Eager to try it out, I headed down to Woodside on Boxing Day to take a ride on the Ferry. I was pretty much the only passenger that morning and rode back and forth a couple of times before being invited up to the bridge by the Captain who then let me steer for a short period while we were in mid river. To this day it is one of the biggest thrills of my life. The Captain even took a photograph of me at the wheel but, sadly, this was long before digital and he was clearly not used to handling a manual SLR - the picture was hopelessly underexposed and no use at all so I only have my memories together with the picture below which was taken that day on the first roll of 35mm film I ever exposed (scanned from the 30 year old negative).
Back to the present: as I waited to go down onto the landing stage at Woodside, I was puzzled to hear the sound of a foghorn from the direction of New Brighton. As you've seen, it was a beautifully sunny day. Once on the landing stage I could see why; a narrow bank of fog stretched across the mouth of the estuary with just the tops of the Seaforth dock wind turbines protruding. Just then, the Snowdrop swung out from Seacombe and headed towards us with the fog as a backdrop. I hadn't expected anything remotely dramatic but I was lucky enough to see this.