I have so many photographic obsessions, and one of them is the mud on the Avon banks, especially around the blocked up lock at the entrance to the Cumberland Basin. The silt has banked up here in corrugations, with lines where water has flowed meandering through it. It’s fascinating in every kind of light, but my favourite moments are when the sun is low, making the water on the surface turn to silver. The ridges and lines look like landscapes – mountains and rivers and hills. And on windy days the light changes so fast, as clouds whip across the sky. I made a film of that in the summer, and I need to go back and try it again in winter light.
On Friday I was out that way taking photos to go with my next podcast, with my medium format camera, a Bronica ETRS. It’s a really heavy block of a camera, with a waist viewfinder that shows everything in mirror view in a way that makes the world look so different. With only 15 images on a film, I have to be more thoughtful about what I take, and with everything being in reverse, it’s a slower way to set up the shot. The viewfinder is large, so I look at all 4 corners of the viewfinder, and the clunk of the mirror moving back is so satisfying. I can never see the images objectively, they always feel so much more meaningful because they take more time. And they never look like the moment, because the human eye is so much more able to cope with different light at the same time (although this is a plus to me, too, and I was taking these shots knowing that metering for the silver-flash of light would make a lot of the rest of the shots dark. I don’t think I’ve got the perfect shot yet, but that’s exciting to me, because it’s just more excuses to take more.
More mud photos below, taken with different cameras (mostly 35mm point-and-shoot), and more still in this flickr set. I’m slowly collecting ones I took over the years into one place, and I’m sure I’ll be adding to it.