Thursday, February 02, 2012

Fishing nets

click photo to enlarge
We visited Lynn Museum in King's Lynn, Norfolk, the other day. It's a small museum based in a rather fine, converted, Victorian-period Union Baptist Chapel. Our time there was very enjoyable, not least because it had a good balance of exhibits and interpretation - too many museums go overboard explaining things these days. The fact that it has free entry from October to March helped too!

Among the exhibits was a collection of wooden "needles"used in the making of fishing nets. I don't recall seeing any actual nets of similar vintage, but that's not surprising. Nets (like the needles) were once made of bio-degradable materials such as cotton, and so most of them have disappeared. Today, of course, the great majority of nets are composed of man-made materials; nylon and the like. One consequence of this is that their bright, often day-glo, colours are a familiar sight on beaches or tangled up in marine structures the world over. They are a major component of the litter and refuse in and by the sea and have been identified as a hazard to wildlife. Some marine biologists feel that they make a significant contribution to the nano-particles of plastic etc. that have entered the food-chain and which are likely to have an adverse effect on human health.

But, as I mentioned in a recent post about blots on the landscape, humankind, including photographers, are capable of finding interest and even beauty in things that we often, in general terms, deprecate. And so it is with bright, modern, fishing nets. On the wall above the computer at which I am writing this blog post is a print of one of my photographs from 2007, a favourite of my output, that shows fragments of rope and netting wrapped around some slipway posts and chains at Cleveleys, Lancashire. It was the memory of this image that caused me to stop by a pile of discarded nets on the quayside at King's Lynn. They were in the shade with a shaft of sunlight throwing a glowing line across them. The light and dark with the kingfisher-like combination of colours was very appealing and so I took today's photograph of part of the untidy heap.

photograph and text(c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 90mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On