Monday, April 26, 2010

Tractors and crabs

click photo to enlarge
A few years ago, when I lived near the North Lancashire coast, I took a photograph of old tractors on a beach at Lytham. They were used for catching shrimps and for launching small fishing boats. The tractors are necessary because the estuary of the River Ribble at this point is often almost empty of water, and boats have to be taken to the channel to be launched, and must be dragged above the high tide line to be stored.

Today's photograph shows some more old tractors at Cromer in Norfolk. This fishing port is on an open section of coast with no harbour. Consequently boats have to be launched and retrieved with trailers hauled by vehicles. The boats shown are used for catching the famous Cromer crabs (and lobsters). Each has a one or two man crew, and sets pots on a bank about three miles off shore. The crabs they catch are smaller than many, but afficionados declare them to be the tastiest in Britain. The tractors are two Fordsons (Major models I believe), and the third I can't identify. They must date from the 1950s, and the fact that they are still working fifty or sixty years after they were made is a testament to the durability of the design and materials. Salt water and sea air is a corrosive mixture, and doubtless the tractors have received repairs and regular maintenance down the decades, but I still find it remarkable that they continue in daily use.

I took a few shots of the tractors at work, but this one, I think, is the best. I like it for the composition and the distant dog walker. I cropped the shot to remove excess sand and sky, and have ended up with a shot that looks like it might have been produced by the 16:9 aspect setting on the LX3.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 12mm (24mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/500
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On