Monday, January 03, 2011

A flight of fancy

click photo to enlarge
Picture, if you will, a Royal Navy aircraft carrier of World War Two vintage, say HMS Illustrious, on active service sailing a choppy sea, her deck crowded with Seafires just returned from a mission. A lone aircraft appears out of the mist and spray, engine faltering, wings shot up. The pilot says he hasn't enough fuel for a second pass, one of his wheels won't go down, and he's coming in to land. Cue action stations. It's a scene that is, give or take a few details (it could be Lancaster bombers, Flying Fortresses (on land) or U.S. Corsairs) a staple of many films based on the 1939-45 conflict. And it is a scene that I was reminded of when I came to process this photograph of a lone gull on final approach, trying to find a landing space on a packed footbridge hand-rail.

As it happened, this black-headed gull did have enough fuel to go round again, and by the time it had done so several birds had taken off, wary of my too close approach, so it made a safe landing towards the end of the rail. Looking closely at my shot on the computer screen I noticed that a couple of the birds are ringed and there are two common gull interlopers among their black-headed brethren.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 300mm
F No: 5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/320
ISO: 320
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On