The road south over Tealham Moor
Jack’s Drove, arrowing southwards across Tealham Moor, south of Wedmore; 30 Oct 2014.

My heartland, where I like to be  And this was a dark morning, the sun up but really not making itself felt; and occasional spots of drizzle falling through an unseasonally soft mildness.  Nothing but the sounds of the breeze and the birds – wagtails coming to look at me, a meadow pipit briefly by, lapwings overhead, mallards in a ditch – and always the great, arch-winged herons, splitting the morning with their rough and far carrying barks.

But there was excitement too, a missed opportunity perhaps.  I was in the Magic Carpark,  leaning against the car, sucking down hot, sweet coffee, when there came a noise that really ought to have immediately meant more to an ex-birder.  A rushing and thumping, something like an old steam train off in the distance.  I moved away from the car, turned questioningly and there, pounding up the rhyne for all they were worth, were a family of five swans, running on the water, intent on getting up into the air and very nearly there – wingspans upwards of 7 feet and each hurtling body weighing at least 20 pounds – and all headed straight at me!

I don’t know who was most surprised.  I remember standing there, clutching my coffee, “Oh ************ ….!!!!”.   And, as I’d come out from behind the car, they’d seen me too and then they were suddenly up above the water and desperately veering and swerving off to either side.  It was like standing in a shooting gallery – like the scene in Ghostbusters 2 where Winston Zeddemore has the spectral locomotive go right through him on the old disused underground railway. 

And one moment they were there, the next they were streaming past either side of me at shoulder height – and the next they were gone.  Leaving me, frozen to the spot, with my coffee spilled.

Oh if I’d only had the camera around my neck!  But what if I had?  What would there have been time for?  Lifting and switching it on in one often used motion, and frantically thumbing the (absolutely wonderfully useful) AF-ON button.  I always leave the camera with the zoom back at 70mm and Matrix metering set, so that would have been just the job but, really, three seconds of frantically blasting away, if that – to produce at best … “artistically blurred creations” …  in the heat of the moment, the wide angle zoom, as used in the landscape above, would have been a better bet.

I love wild things and I loved that encounter.  It was far better to be full on in the middle of it than to try and photograph it.

D700 with 12-24 Sigma at 12mm; 1600 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. Malin H says:

    What a wonderful post and experience, my friend… I read this post with excitement!! :))


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      I’m glad it got to you – I consider that sort of experience as having value and worth – not in terms of money of course, but in terms of enriching my soul and my life experience. Thank you for your good words, Malin! Adrian

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Superb picture and I love the story that goes with it. I agree – sometimes the camera takes you away from the experience when it’s better to be submersed in it!


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      That’s good to hear, D&Z, thank you! Yes, absolutely, the difference between being immersed in The Now and being one step removed by wanting to photograph it can be a very fine line. A


  3. Sallyann says:

    Wonderful description. since having the camera I look at life differently, next I guess I’ll have to start living it in the moment instead of at a later date in the “editing room”. 🙂
    I’m not sure I’m ready to come out from hiding behind the lens yet though but I imagine you would have missed the moment by reaching for the camera. 😀


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Yes, cameras do that, you look at things differently. But there is always the debate – is it better to record the moment ….. or live It? I had little choice in this particular case, it was all over in a flash – and it is fixed indelibly in my mind – what an experience! Yes, I would certainly have missed that had I frantically been trying to take photos.

      Coming out from behind the lens? Well you have once, if you remember…. mmmm???? …. and I’m not referring to the rear views ….

      But quite a few bloggers have great problems with selfies, while others are so up front its not true. I must do some more of me, just for the novelty value … naturally … Well, everyone’s different, that’s for sure, but I do like to “see” who I’m talking to in the blogosphere, I find it frustrating just to be talking to gravitar – is that the word? Anyway, we are all different. I hope you’re fine, Hallysann! Adrian 🙂


  4. Carrie says:

    Well, I just appreciate you taking the time to describe such a wild experience so well. I was right there with you, smelling the coffee, the morning silence and then my heart racing and eyes wide as I read on. Beautiful image too, the sky brewing and the road so straight and narrow, really intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Hi Carrie, I’m extremely pleased to hear that you’ve enjoyed my description of events so much – your’s is a truly rewarding Comment! I love Nature and I love writing, of course, and I find it very rewarding to be able to fuse the two together like this. And the account is for me too, as well as all for of the people it reaches on this blog. And I shall keep it as a vibrant memory by incorporating this post into a book I’ll assemble on, which is what I do with all of my favourite posts – keeping them in hard copy!

      And thank you for the good things you say about the picture, too. And imagine a huge articulated lorry on a road like this – and there was one while I was there! I guess that their sat navs go for the most direct route. Anyway, I was faced with this metal monster and I backed off into a muddy field (thank heavens my little car has front wheel drive!), and the monster drove past >>> and because this area is sited upon 60+ feet of poorly consolidated alluvium, the whole ground surface, and my car and I, shook up and down like a jelly! What a wonderful landscape this area is! It very good to hear from you. Adrian 🙂


      • Carrie says:

        I am going to check out your for sure, I have many poems I have written with my images on my blog that I would love to give to my parents in particular, they would love the idea of my words and images in a book! Me too actually. Great idea.
        You are very welcome, I appreciate good writing, it takes time to do it well and when coupled with a beautiful image, like this one…well it deserves to be recognized.

        This place sounds crazy! Fun and beautiful but crazy to drive around on. Happy to hear you made it, maybe you should think about AWD for your next vehicle 🙂


        • Adrian Lewis says:

          I’m so glad to have given you an idea! You can make any sort of book with Blurb – photos, text, poems, mixtures of anything and everything. You download some software onto your computer – best use a PC or larger laptop I think for the screen size – and then you construct your book and, when its ready, you press “Buy book” or something like that, and its uploaded to Blurb, who offer you various options eg hard/soft covers, various paper qualities etc. They make the book and post it to you by courier.

          There are other companies doing this, apart from Blurb, but I don’t know anything about them.

          I make books of my favourite photos, for me or for presents, and they have pages of text too, and captions, and an intro/dedication page. If you wanted to add a written dedication, you could leave a blank white area, which you write on after you’ve received the book. Or you can have the book sent directly to your parents – I like to see the books before I post them on.

          My books are 12 inches square, with the heaviest, best quality paper; they have hard covers (not dust jackets), with photos on both covers. Min size is 20 pages I think, but I’ve done much larger than that. These books are not cheap, but they are wonderful and enduring things to have and, giving them as present as I often do, they can be very personalised, which the recipients really appreciate.

          The Levels are crazy, that’s why I like them. I was brought up near them and they are a part of me. But certainly can’t afford AWD – and I’ve vast experience of making 2WD on the REAR wheels do wonders off road on Kenyan safaris! I hope you do really good things with Blurb! Adrian 🙂


  5. karijeppesen says:

    Adrian, you know I love this!! (…smiling and smiling…)
    Have a lovely weekend!!


  6. Absolutely!! 🙂 !!


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