singing bridge pelicans

My friend Jackie got these photos of pelicans feeding at night on the Myall River from the Singing Bridge. Jackie, my wife and I were walking from the beach at Hawks Nest across the bridge to Tea Gardens, where my wife’s parents live in a house right on the river.

The Singing Bridge is so named because it makes a humming sound in the wind. I’ve not heard this phenomenon, but I do like to walk on the bridge as often as possible. It offers terrific views of the Myall estuary, with Port Stephens and Yaccaba head in the distance, and it’s a great place to watch pelicans, black swans, egrets – and with any luck, dolphins, which come up the river to fish in the morning.

As we crossed, I saw the pelicans feeding in the calm, glassy water and tried a few snapshots, but I had a hard time finding a good setting and did not get anything of value. Jackie joined me in shooting almost as an afterthought, did not adjust her camera at all, and the results are really interesting.

I love the way the pelicans are reduced to mere sketches or figures, but very much identifiable as pelicans. No water is discernible; the bird-figures swim in a black field. Perspective is lost completely – the photos almost look like printed patterns – but still the pelicans’ characteristic lazy, contented movements as they feed are apparent, especially in the repetitions between frames.

The plan is to go back to the bridge to recreate this setup, but shoot with video instead, and make a short film with the same aesthetic: pelicans floating on black, nothing else. We’ll see if it can be as serendipitous and oddly perfect as these snapshots.

3 comments so far

  1. Kathlyn on

    Oooh – I love these. Well done Jackie.

  2. Jackie McKeon on

    Thank you! Jim you have to tell me how the video shoot goes…

  3. Jim on

    But Jackie… aren’t you going to direct it?

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