The last Strong Island photography walkshop in December was over at Fishbourne Meadows near Chichester. This was the first SIPW visit to this corner of Chichester Harbour, although it is somewhere well explored on personal and work visits in the past. We started off at the old mill pond, which at all times of the year is home to many different birds. We looked at focusing and off centre compositions as well as capturing the curious swans wanting to find out what we were up to (and probably if we had any food). At the back of the pond the footpath splits left and right and we set off to the right behind the pond finding wetland plants now passed in to hibernation. At the back of the pond we photographed the old sluice gate that had a rusty wheel.
Around the corner from the pond the reed beds opened up in front of us. The reeds are 6 foot high plus which meant that we had a wall of them each side at the start of the path. As we made our way along the path we found clearings where the reeds had been cleared back, revealing the normally hidden streams that weave in and out of the reeds. The colour palette here made for really late autumnal images, the rust of the brazier barrels and the reeds were a seasonal dark brown against the grey sky. Around a corner we stopped at a footbridge that crosses one of the main waterways and used this for a variety of different composition techniques. From here we made our way back to the mill pond and then along the other path that runs parallel with a stream leading to the water meadows.
The water meadows opened up past the last wall as we followed the stream to where it met the main waterway leading inevitably to the harbour. The water was crystal clear and we looked at abstraction and minimalism as well as reflections. From here the path leads to a large bridge over the main stream which rushes over rocks below. This was a good opportunity to try out different shutter speeds, with some even utilising their ND filters to take daylight long exposures. As always the two hours flew by and we didn’t manage to make it down to the harbour shore. Next time. A big thank you to everyone that came along!
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