Snape Maltings

A new day at Snape Maltings – Suffolk

As the sun climbs slowly into another day a sumptuous apricot glow spreads across the horizon. There is not a breath of wind and the water lays undisturbed and reflective. I am standing on the road bridge at Snape look out down the River Alde eastwards to the sea.

The river is narrow here, at the limit of its tidal influence; a transition zone bounded by the road bridge and nearby sluice. The exposed mud gurgles and chatters as the air is expelled by the slowly advancing tide. Peace is all encompassing, the world is asleep and the river is not to be hurried.

I watch as a pair of redshank strut purposefully along the waters edge intermittently probing their long red bills into the slimy ooze searching for the invertebrate bounty that lies beneath. Always on edge these nervous birds are quick to sound the alarm and take to the air in a frenzy of noise and panic. Today their unease coincides with a flash of electric blue travelling like an arrow along the waters edge. Purposeful and determined, here one minute and gone the next, under the bridge and over the sluice, the unmistakable sight of a kingfisher adding a little touch of wonder to an already perfect morning.

I had come here an hour or so after sunrise on my way back home form another shoot. The light and the autumn colours were gorgeous and I couldn’t resist stopping for a while to capture the tranquility of the morning, something that would likely soon be broken when the maltings opened their doors for business. I set up my tripod and camera so that the river lead the eye into the scene and used an ND grad to balance the exposure.

  • Camera: Nikon D700

  • Lens: Nikon 24 – 70mm F2.8

  • Settings: F14 at 1/13 sec

  • Grid Ref: TM 39196 57632

  • Inspiration: The early morning light and the clouds

  • Date shot: 13/09/2015