The Phoenix Time #32


Her account to Charlotte of her work had to pause occasionally, so that she could make herself heard above the hissing and banging of the coffee-making machinery, and the clatter of cutlery and crockery. She told Charlotte about how she sold some of her images online both digitally and as prints. She explained that she produces calendars and greetings cards from her photos and that she writes books illustrated with them. Before he died, her husband had introduced her to a publisher who was a client of the bank he worked for. He had liked the draft of a book she had written and had published it. Since her husband had died, she’d had several more published – many for the lucrative American market.  She didn’t earn megabucks but it enabled her to continue to live in London.


Charlotte was stunned.

‘Oh my God,’ she said, ‘I’ve met a real-life author. I must buy one of your books and get you to sign it for me. My husband – my husband for the time being – he’s a keen photographer. I wonder if he’s ever come across your books.’

Carrie made light of her work and dismissed Charlotte’s praise.

She went on to say that, before she moved on to Devon, her next stop, she’d be returning to Durdle Door and staying until late at night to photograph both the time around sunset and, much, much later, to try to capture the Milky Way over the arch.

Charlotte said that she had never seen the Milky Way.

Carrie asked whether Charlotte would like to accompany her if they were to go towards the end of the week when it was New Moon time. The sky would be dark enough then. It would be company for her if they both went. Charlotte was thrilled at the prospect. Carrie warned her that it would be really very cold and that they’d need to prepare accordingly.

‘Wait until I tell Frank about that’. She thought.

They spent the rest of the day around the shops but also walked around the harbour and along the beach. Carrie related the part the Cobb plays in Jane Austen’s novel ‘Persuasion’. Charlotte had never heard of it – though she did see a TV production of ‘Pride and Prejudice’.

Carrie was amazed that her friend had never read any of Jane Austen’s novels. She spoke of the author’s role not merely as a novelist, but also as a female novelist, as a writer who had helped to forge the shape of the modern novel form. She told of Jane Austen’s family life and the social context in which she wrote. They visited a bookshop and Charlotte bought a copy. Carrie wouldn’t reveal the wonderful ending.

As they sat on the beach enjoying their lunch, Carrie explained how the photos that she took had to be edited using computer software to bring out the best of them so that they would look better on the printed page. She gave Charlotte a copy of her business card and promised her a leaflet listing a portfolio of her published work.

Charlotte wondered whether Frank had ever thought of doing anything like that to boost his pension. She resolved to ask him and to tell him about Carrie.

That evening, after an early dinner together, they walked to Carrie’s hotel while Carrie collected her camera and tripod. They then walked down to the Cobb and they both took some sunset and blue hour photos. Charlotte saw how the underlit clouds and their vivid  purples, reds, blues and oranges made much more interesting images than those taken in the middle of the day. She’d managed in some of her smartphone shots to capture seabirds swooping across the setting sun and was delighted.

Carrie promised to show Charlotte, the next day, what she does to edit  images she’s taken. Charlotte insisted that it would be her turn to drive.

Featured Photo

I took this photo today (26/02/2021). This is an image of the Silver Jubilee Bridge between Widnes and Runcorn, Merseyside, UK. The bridge was opened originally in 1961 but was recently closed for refurbishment when a more modern toll bridge, the Mersey Gateway was opened. The bridge in the photo will be opened on the 27th February – and, this time, it too will be a toll bridge. You can see the barrier fence across the carriageway which will be removed on Saturday to allow traffic to use the bridge again for the first time since 2017.

I used my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera with a 35 mm f/2 full-frame prime lens attached. The shutter speed was 1/640 at f/8 and the ISO was 200 The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.

Author: writingandphotography0531

I am a retired local government officer. At that time, I was an IT manager and had associated responsibilities for training. I have previously been involved, in various organisations, with aspects of industrial training and management development. My hobby is photography and, until recently, hillwalking in Snowdonia. I have just written my first novel, Persephone and the Photographer, published as a Kindle eBook.

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