Capturing images of an island

Georgina Fulton lives with her family at Elmley Nature Reserve  on the Isle of Sheppey off the north Kent coast.  It’s the only National Nature Reserve in the UK that is also a family farm. 

Georgina writes about why the island attracts artists and photographers as well as visitors who enjoy bird watching and walking.   

Brown hare – Jodie Randall

When I wake up I am always struck by how every day brings a different perspective.

The unusual quality of the island’s light bounces off the water, pushing its way through trees and clouds illuminating the grasses, meadows and wildlife.  Pink and golds in summer, silver and ivory in the winter.

TurnerCallcott and other artists  have been inspired by Sheppey and more are exploring the island and discovering captivating scenes and quirky delights. For example, the obstinate seaside-town charm of Leysdown and the contrasting grandeur of the Georgian Naval terrace in Sheerness which sits proudly alongside the fascinating Blue Town area.

Being fairly new to the island, I’ve been enjoying exploring and discovering its delights.  Some of my favourite things to do include enjoying coffee and home-made cake in the friendly Boathouse café in the picturesque Barton’s Point, having a Sheppey ale in the Heritage micro-pub (based in an old post office) and early morning wanderings around the charming and historical Queenborough before picking up the catch of the day from the harbour-side.  The island’s vitality and sense of fun is always apparent.

Elmley is a vast expanse of marshland situated along the island’s southern coast, an oasis of calm that stretches beneath the crossing that links the island with mainland Kent.  Vistas of waterways and rills that snake through meadows are interrupted only by abandoned Victorian farming cottages. Overhead wildfowl and wading birds take to the skies in huge flocks, known as murmurations.  Waves of bird life moving as a single body, feathers glinting against the watery winter sun.

Robert Canis

Robert Canis

Lapwings – Jodie Randall

Elmley attracts artists and photographers seeking to capture its special qualities.  In return for their patience (and at times, resilience against the bracing winds) they are rewarded by some of mother nature’s most wonderful spectacles; hares leaping and boxing in the long grass; lapwings circling each other creating intricate patterns in the air as their distinctive peewit call complements the iridescent colours of their plumage; a short eared owl gliding low over the meadows searching for his breakfast while the golds and pinks of the early morning sun endow his graceful wings with almost celestial properties.

My favourite thing about living here? The fact that whenever it rains you can be guaranteed a full rainbow arching across the horizon, the end nestled amongst the cattle grazing calmly unaware.

Elmley Nature Reserve offers a range of photography experiences including photographic workshops, wildlife photography hides and pre-arranged access for sunrise and sunset shoots.  

From this summer accommodation will be available in specially designed Shepherds Huts and on a unique floating pod. Perfect for artists, photographers, writers and others looking for creative inspiration.

Elmley Dec.2013_John Whitting

John Whiting

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