For much of the year, through the winter months, the 6:15 AM sailing of our Fulford ferry is made in darkness, rain and rough waves, but now in April when we depart from the dock the first loom of dawn filters through heavy clouds onto a calm sea. Mt Maxwell`s steep south facing slope shows part of herself, a black triangle exposed between layers of soft grey cloud, and I clamber out of the van to add this view to my growing collection of Maxwell photos. I adjust the camera to underexpose so the scene will truly report as dark and the result is far from being a 'good' photograph. Dark, a little shaky, and out of focus it never-the-less is an accurate capture of the moment, the mood, and this makes this a good image for me.
The ferry is up to speed now as we head out of the harbour and its passage through the air creates a biting wind, but I am caught up in the mood by now and find some more variations: the contrast between the yellow ferry lights and the blue-grey of the sea and hills, the lemony streak of dawn beneath the cloud layer to the east, the twinkle of the ferry terminal lights back down the wake and spreading wave pattern. I have my cap tucked under my arm to prevent it blowing away as I climb the stairs to the upper deck. What a splendid time to be alive in this cool grey dawn.
By the time we approach the Swartz Bay terminal the dawn is leaping into day and it is high time I returned to my vehicle. I do have in my camera a record of this half -hour long voyage from darkness to day but more importantly the process of making these images, of being present through this transition with my photography senses set on receive, has been a great way to start the day. Now, is there any more hot coffee in that thermos?