In August 2015, we spent the family summer holiday in a riverside cottage at Brundall, on the River Yare. This was an ideal area for the canoes, with nearby backwaters off the main river waiting to be explored.
One afternoon, after a paddle upstream from Brundall in showery weather, I decided to cut through Bargate Broad to avoid a long loop in the river.
It may have been shorter, but it wasn’t quicker, as I found plenty of small details to point my camera at. This maple leaf was an early sign of the changing seasons, already showing some autumnal colour as it hit the water near my boat. I drifted alongside, waiting for a water drop to hit the water from the trees above. The resulting ripples spread perfectly, giving a little texture and play of light on the water’s surface.
All through the afternoon, brief showers of rain would blow through. I tucked into the edge of a reed bed by the upstream entrance to Bargate to avoid this one, and was struck by the intense colours of the reeds’ flowers in the overcast light. A brief chance was all I got to make the image before the wind caught the bow and turned the boat away.
Late summer flowers were still blooming by the water’s edge. This small herb wove its way through the stems of larger plants. I couldn’t identify it, but it looked like a member of the mint family.
In one corner of Bargate, several old wherries had been scuppered in the shallows. At low tide, some of their timbers were visible.
This kingfisher used several of the hulks for fishing perches round the sheltered pool. I had noticed him there several days running so was pleased to see him when I had my camera to hand and time to spare.
I let the boat drift, slowly reaching for the camera. Over the course of several minutes, I was able to get the canoe quite close, and a 70-200mm lens did the rest.
I must have drifted in too close, because suddenly he lifted off to another perch on the edge of the pool, this time a weathered stump. I gently backed the boat away, and let him settle, before beginning again to slide closer with slow and gentle Indian strokes. Taking care not to spook my quarry with hurried movements or a direct gaze, I worked the canoe into position and made a couple more images, then turned away to finish my ‘short cut’ home.