and its marshy environs

John Woodwark

This gloomy grey page is where I get to present some of my better pictures of Tollesbury, its marshes and the sea, taken between 2011 and the present. Click on any photo to see a larger version. (Enquiries about full-resolution photos are welcome.)

December 2011: Bradwell Power Station (decommissioned) is just across the Blackwater from Tollesbury. It adds a counterpoint of gritty industrial realism to the landscape — or it's a bit of an eyesore, to taste.

Nothing special about this photo, but it shows what the power station looked like before it was sheathed in plastic sheet like one of Christo's installations — which is how it remains today.

January 2012: Seal spotted in the Blackwater.

(Is this really your best effort at wildlife photography? Yes it is.)

February 2012: The Old Hall marshes look a tad chilly, but the Brent geese seem to like it.

Some unwelcome vignetting on my Canon SX40, which I am too lazy to address.

February 2012: This tree, abandoned to the sea as part of an enviromental anti-reclamation project, is Tollesbury's ultimate photographic cliché.

June 2012: the southern tip of West Mersea, seen from the tower of St Mary's, Tollesbury.

I include this somewhat unremarkable photo because it's become a lot more difficult to get up the church tower since this snap was taken, due to an infestation of 'elf 'n' safety gremlins.

December 2014: Sunset behind St Mary's tower. Don't use the k-word.

February 2018: Rooftop panorama of Tollesbury in the snow. Stitched together from several shots.

Yes, this image looks very weird: it has been squashed to fit. Click on it to see an unsquashed version, which is 3500 pixels wide.

I put it about that I had climbed out on my roof to obtain this shot. I was lying. Do you think I'm mad? I poked the SX40 vertically out of a Velux on the end of a monopod, rotating it between shots.

June 2020: Anticrepuscular rays spotted over Bradwell one evening, and snapped with a little Canon G15. The colours of the image as a whole have been modified slightly from the camera's default settings to make the rays a bit clearer.

July 2020: High summer wheat, with the Blackwater estuary in the distance.

July 2020: Tollesbury Creek and the Marina from the sea wall.

This seemed to call for black and white, which I have simulated, including the effect of a red filter.

July 2020: The sail lofts are Tollesbury's contribution to our architectural heritage. I imagine plenty of people have thought of using this viewpoint, but I've never seen the results. This shot had the signal honour of appearing on the cover of the parish mag.

Taken with an antique Ukranian fisheye lens, and then corrected for barrel distortion.

September 2020: Evening clouds over Old Hall Marsh at high tide.

September 2020: The Fellowship Afloat lightship (formerly Trinity House LV15) shows off its stern (rude!) to the birds on the RSPB Old Hall Marshes nature reserve.

September 2020: The triumph of form over functionality: a picturesque dinghy rots away on the sea wall of the nature reserve.

September 2020: Drainage pond behind the sea wall, Old Hall marsh.

Lomochrome Purple ISO400 — yes guys, real film.

September 2020: Sunset over the Old Hall marshes, from the nature reserve.

Check out the naturally kitschy skein of birds, at 11 o'clock above the sun.

October 2020: The snow-clad flanks of the Northern Essex Massif loom over the marsh.

Cover illustration for my forthcoming book Climbing Colchester: the 'Bus Routes' up the Eastern Flank, with a foreword by my faithful Sherpa, Baghat 'Capacity' Gladstone.

October 2020: Pigeons at dawn, Sir! — with the top of St Mary's tower in the background.

This was taken with a massive old Pentacon 500mm lens: the chromatic aberration around the out-of-focus weathercock is prodigious.

October 2020: Peering into Tollesbury Granary from the public slipway.

Artful black and white avoids the distracting colours of various bits of marine detritus visible through the gap in the end wall.

October 2020: YATS, as we say in East Anglia: Yet Another Terrific Sunset.

October 2020: St Mary's Salcott by moonlight (for a commission).

Yes, I used a tripod, and the exposure was 3 seconds.

November 2020: ITMA (It's That Marsh Again). A brave crew in the red dinghy, on the horizon at the far right.

November 2020: A rising tide floats all boats, even the Lightship. (Yes, it does float on a spring tide. Of course it does — how do you think it got there?)

December 2020: We are too menny. Yes you are. What's wrong with Brent, geese? Quite a lot.

January 2021: New Year's Day. All lit up and nowhere to go.

Handheld, so rather high ISO.

January 2021: Not Tollesbury's premier beauty spot (yet). But somehow this ditch-o-rama, observed on my daily constitutional, has a certain je ne sais quoi — especially now I've tweaked the colours a bit. Well, rather a lot, actually.

I won't say where it is, for two reasons: Tollesburians can have fun guessing; and we don't want it overrun by tourists, do we?

January 2021: The Mojave desert? Or maybe the surface of Mars? No, an infra-red image of our old friend the Blackwater estuary.

With a 720nm filter.

February 2021: Yes, it's lamb-scape photography! Sheep in IR.

March 2021: Marks Hall have made a good thing out of their "Screaming Oak". Here is Tollesbury's riposte. Naturally, I can only reveal its precise location to over-18s of robust mind; but I can say that it is within easy walking distance of the village.

May 2021: Fantasy land: one of Tollesbury's many water features gets the IR makeover.

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© John Woodwark, 2011-2021. This page was last updated on 16 May 2021.