Monday, April 19, 2010

On Stave Hill

click photo to enlarge
On Sunday morning, with two companions, I walked to the top of Stave Hill in Rotherhithe and surveyed the young woodland below the summit of the 30 feet high, man-made mound. The new leaves on the saplings and bushes below had that yellow-green glow of spring, and from the tree tops and thickets came the sound of birds proclaiming their territory. Listening carefully I could pick out blackbirds, a song thrush, great tits, a dunnock, and the harsh, grating call of a magpie. Nothing remarkable about that in mid-April in England you might say. However, Stave Hill is in the middle of London, and the flying creatures that usually fill the air with sound at this location are the 747, the Airbus, and the sundry helicopters that clatter about the city. The suspension of all commercial flights in the UK following the arrival of ash clouds from the Icelandic volcanic eruption, gave Londoners a taste of what life would be like without the constant noise of Heathrow-bound aircraft. And very pleasant it was too.

There are those who see the suspension of air flights across Europe as a catastrophe. I'm not one of them. I like the reduction in noise that it has brought. As a regular photographer I'm also enjoying the absence of aerial graffiti, also known as vapour trails. And finally, I'm pleased to see mankind having to give way to Mother Nature rather than imperiously, trampling all over her as is usually the case. I took a few photographs around and on Stave Hill, and I may post a couple more soon. However, this was the first one, taken against the light, after I'd waited for my companions to be silhouetted against the sky at the summit.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 19mm (38mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/1600
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On