Sunday, 26 October 2003
Pix Of The Day: "Flight shots are not the easiest…"
CREDITS: © NAME/NigelBlake.co.uk MAP: Welney, Norfolk
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Today's headline is a quotation from Nigel Blake's web site: clearly he is a master of the deadpan understatement as much as he is a master of the long focal length lens. We even have a segue that Kent Brockman, the newscaster on The Simpsons, would give his eye teeth to use: the picture on the left was taken at Shingle Street, the very same area we have featured in our last two daily entries!
You may already have seen some of Nigel's work: he is a special effects model maker whose work has been used in Superman 2, Spielberg's Empire of the Sun, Aliens, a few of the Bond movies, Lost in Space, Batman, Memphis Belle, and recently the Harry Potter film. As you will know, an IMDB.com (Internet Movie Database) entry is almost as avidly sought as an entry here in the ODAAT… pages, even though the latter is generally considered a greater accolade. You will probably agree with this assertion if you go off and look at some of the featured pictures that are the fruits of Nigel's wildlife photography hobby in his spare time between movie projects.
We have a particular weakness for owls, because like Nigel we were inspired at a tender age by the work of Eric Hosking (1909-1991), who lost his left eye in a 1937 owl encounter in Wales, yet still admired these birds more than any other. Hosking had reason to be grateful to that owl: his career as a photographer went into high gear after reports of the incident were widely circulated in the media.
The other shots were taken around Welney in the English county of Norfolk. Visitors who want to know more about these endlessly fascinating birds may enjoy visiting the OwlPages.com web site, where there is a comprehensive species guide with a good proportion of photographed examples. The owls in these pictures are Barn owls and Short Eared owls: if you visit Nigel, he will tell you which is which in his captions: wonderful birding web site, full of visually amazing images.
Today we will be leaving the Suffolk coast, travelling much further than Norfolk even, for tomorrow's feature. Visitors may enjoy, in the company of Carolyn Lee on her fine web site, a final stroll, or even two, along the foreshore, which notwithstanding the successful legal action in 1855-58 by George Harrison, Attorney General for Cornwall, to establish the Duchy of Cornwall as owners of the foreshore in that county, is owned by the Crown. The Crown is not the Monarch, and the Duchy is not strictly speaking owned and operated by Prince Charles, who as the Prince of Wales is also the Duke of Cornwall. Since 1863 the Prince is only chairman of the Prince's Council in this context … no wonder this stuff is impossible to explain to Americans!
Just enjoy walking freely along the tideline: unlike the rest of the UK you are very unlikely to be challenged, except in areas reserved for use by the MoD (Ministry of Defence), which probably has the only people in the country who can legally accost walkers with, "Git off ma land", while brandishing a firearm.
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)