The Phoenix Time #40


Charlotte was horrified.

‘You think that I’m going to have a pee while there are blokes with cameras around?’ she said, ‘I’ll risk my kidneys thank you. Anyway, why are they all coming to take photos this Saturday?’

‘It’s bank holiday, it’s probably the most famous stone arch in the world, it’s new moon, the weather forecast is good and those last two conditions probably coincide less than ten times a year.’

Carrie explained why that should be.

‘So, what you’re saying is that this will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me.’

Carrie agreed. They went shopping. They were passing a camera shop when Carrie asked if Charlotte would like to try using her phone to take some proper photos while they were out at night.


Charlotte asked what she meant.

‘ When it’s dark,’ Carrie explained, ‘the camera’s shutter needs to be held open longer to gather enough light. That makes it difficult to capture a sharp image. The slightest shakiness of your hand results in fuzzy photos, so you’ll need to steady your phone on a tripod. You can borrow my tripod for your shots but you’ll need to buy a grip to attach your phone to it.’

They went in the shop and found that what they needed would cost less than ten pounds, but Charlotte noticed the wall shelves of cameras and decided to have a look. The brand-new models were much too expensive, but she was drawn by some of the used and refurbished cameras. She asked Carrie for advice. There was one model there that Carrie thought would fit Charlotte’s needs and pocket, but she didn’t think that the lens was a good match.

They asked an assistant for help, and Carrie asked about swapping the heavy, long zoom lens that was attached for a short telephoto one that was mounted on a different camera. The assistant asked his manager and a deal was arranged. Charlotte left the shop carrying her camera purchase in a carrier bag and an inexpensive tripod under her arm. The camera came complete with its battery and charger lead in a box, but she’d had to buy a media card to hold the photos. Carrie promised to show her how to use the new-to-Charlotte kit.

Carrie reminded her companion about the need to bring walking boots.

They liked Weymouth so much that they stopped nowhere else on the way home. Charlotte had lots of questions to ask Carrie about what they’d be doing while they were in the middle of nowhere in the dark.

Back at Lyme, they returned to their hotels, had a nap, freshened up and changed for dinner. They met at their usual restaurant.

Charlotte asked what plans Carrie had made for Sunday. She was told that, by the time they got back to their hotels in the early hours of Sunday morning, they’d not want to even be awake until lunchtime. She advised Charlotte to warn her hotel reception. They made provisional arrangements to meet on Sunday and to have an early, final dinner together before Charlotte needed to get back to her hotel to pack.

Before they parted for the evening, Carrie arranged a time to pick Charlotte up at her hotel the following morning, Saturday, for their special trip.

When Charlotte returned to the hotel, she explained her plans at Reception and was given a key with which to unlock the outer street door. Back in her room, she set both her phone and her camera battery to charge.

She was in the middle of sorting out what she’d need for the next day when Frank phoned to ask her about her day. She described the things they’d seen and what they were expecting to be doing the following day. Frank told her that he’d be having dinner at Gloria’s on the Sunday with her family and David’s. She asked him to pass on her regards. While she and Carrie had been out to Portland Bill and Weymouth, he’d been looking round estate agents again. He’d viewed a couple of houses but some were bigger than he needed – those that would have been otherwise suitable were either in dodgy areas or obviously badly maintained. He still hadn’t heard anything positive from Betty.

The following day, while Charlotte would be at Lulworth, he was going to visit the agents in Wigan – a neighbouring town.

Featured Photo

I took this photo a a little more than a week ago (21/02/2021) while I was out for a walk. I’d gone to take my daily exercise a couple of miles further from home than usual. I began near the Ship Inn at Blackbrook, St Helens, Merseyside. I parked near the Ranger’s Hut and walked, initially along the Canal and then beside the stream along the woodland path to its junction with Garswood Old Road at Happy Valley, Carr Mill. I’d taken my camera and took lots of photos to show you over the next several episodes of this story. Most of them will show the path and the water beside it.

This next photograph shows a couple approaching a bridge on the path. At this point the stream is directed below the bridge from the left to the right side of the path looking at it from my point of view..

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 1/100s at f/13and the ISO was 1600. 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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