Sunday, 27 November 2016

November dusk: three gifts

I escaped as quickly as possible from the hectic city centre streets and drove past Comber to chill - which was very much the literal case - in more peaceful surroundings.

I was granted three November gifts. Out on the lough, in front of rolling pink clouds, a single swan fluttered down onto the reeds. Facing east, the colours were cool and dimming.

Facing west, hundreds of smaller birds congregated on the golden water, as the mountains behind reached up to darker streaks of cloud.

And within minutes, as I walked across the drumlins, the sun was blazing like garnets in its final bow behind the horizon.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Colours calling through the fog

Buttercup, silver, chartreuse, plum, brick, teal, amethyst, sky. As the boat approached the island, the colours called through the fog to the fishermen. Each could see his own house, bright and distinct from a distance.

This is Burano, one of the northern islands of the Venetian lagoon, where the houses have been painted in these colours for centuries.

Visiting last week, I loved photographing the gorgeous weathered houses and boats. But I felt ambivalent about being a tourist here. The island is so small and densely packed that when we all got off the boat and started wandering round, we were clearly invading the home spaces of the inhabitants. I don't know if my own front windows and laundry would stand up well to a 100mm lens. Yet tourism is hugely important to the island's economy. I had a fabulous lunch of local seafood and a good chat with a couple of people working there who tried hard not to wince at my attempts at the subjunctive and were really welcoming.

I'll return, and maybe stay for a few days. Spend more money, talk to more people, eat more fish. You should go too - you'll love it....