Sunday, 5 June 2011

A Colonsay Abstract

It was something  of a surprise to me to discover the spectacular jagged cliff scenery on the west coast of Colonsay.  The many ledges support strong colonies of seabirds and in a few areas it is possible to get very close.

Guillemots are always interesting to watch en masse on their breeding cliffs.  Quite a few of the birds on these cliffs were ringed and it was possible to read some of them using John's telescope which cranks up to 60x.  Passing these records on, it turns out that all the birds had been ringed at this same spot and one dated from 1993. Not bad, but the oldest known ringed guillemot in the UK was  31 years 9 months 11 days old when it was found dead in 2004.

Guillemots are fine but there is just something about their close cousins the razorbills which I find more appealing.  I think it's the bold black and white plumage together with a more interestingly shaped bill with delicate white lines that gives it the edge in the elegance stakes.

The angle of the light together with the dark nature of the rocks seemed to emphasise their black and white patterns and I rather enjoyed the effects this created if you scrunched your eyes up.  Try it.

Having had a go and failed miserably to capture this effect in a sketch, I reverted to photographs, and ended up with the abstract collage at the top of the post using black and white shots with all the mid tones removed.

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting Allan. They really are good looking birds. I spent a long time trying to phograph them on the Farnes last year but didn't get quite as close as you!