I have no idea how we discovered that there was a small park very close to us, one we’ve driven past on many occasions without even noticing. Presumably it was the same way we discovered that it actually had a nature reserve in it.
‘Nature reserve’ can be a very vague term, especially in London. There’s clearly no standardised definition. It can mean anything from a large idyll like Richmond Park to a small square of grass that happens to have some rare weeds growing in it. But Crane Park Nature Reserve looked like a reasonably sized bit of green on the map so we decided to check it out.
Unfortunately, because it was so close and we’d driven by it so many times before, I decided I could navigate us there from memory. We parked up in what appeared to be a semi-residential car park and started walking in the right direction.
We found green almost immediately, and decided that was probably the nature reserve. There didn’t seem a lot there, just the River Crane from whence the name of the park originated, plenty of trees and some birds. So we walked along the river for a bit, seeing what we could see.
We soon came to a bridge over the river, one which the path we were following passed under with limited headroom – for someone with my stature, at least. The walkway the path followed, however, was great for some perspective shots.
With the bright light at the end of the tunnel contrasting with the darkness of under the bridge, I decided to try a HDR exposure to see how it would turn out.
A little bit obviously processed, perhaps, but I like it.
We continued to follow the pathway as it veered briefly away from the river through some trees…
… but soon picked up the river again, this time with a bit more life.
Around here the river was a bit more picturesque too, as someone had put stepping stones in various places, presumably to facilitate people falling into the water halfway.
It wasn’t all unspoilt nature, of course. We were still near Hounslow.
The tyre itself was quite big, so in its defence it could have been placed there deliberately for something to nest in.
We shortly came to a shot tower. The area used to have powder mills nearby manufacturing gunpowder and the tower was used to make lead shot until the early 20th Century.
Right by the Shot Tower was a small footbridge. It was at the very point that we learnt that we had, in fact, not been the Crane Park Nature Reserve at all. Not yet, anyway. We had only been in Crane Park. The nature reserve was a small island on the river, accessible only by foot. Oh well.
At least the footbridge looked nice.
I love perspective shots. I have no idea why, but I love seeing the lines of a structure converge towards the horizon.
Once on the nature reserve, we saw that some remnants of the old powder mills still remained.
We weren’t in the reserve long before we saw some nature.
Unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of waterborne life at the reserve. There was a “pollution incident” the previous October involving a faulty sewage valve that resulted in the river being polluted with some arse-smelling foulness I can’t even imagine, killing a lot of the wildlife including thousands of fish. Luckily things are looking like they’re recovering, but it’s early days yet. The ducks are happy at least.
Something that wasn’t really affected by the spill was the plantlife, which was flowering proudly.
I’ve recently been playing about with Color Efex Pro 4, another part of the same plugin set that my HDR plugin is in. I’ve thrown a few filters into some of these images, doing various things like sharpening, adjusting the hues of foliage, and adding a gloss.
It’s easy to slip into slightly clichéd over-processing for these images, especially with the shots of the flowers.
In this next shot I played about a bit to ease the harshness of the sunshine and add a nit of a more interesting tone to the image.
I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures inside the nature reserve. I suppose then that the title of this post is a touch misleading. We took an enjoyable stroll back along the river towards the car, and on the way I grabbed a few more images. Here, I found a bug in a colourful flower.
As we passed back under the bridge, I saw a valve I didn’t notice on the way out which I though looked nice.
There was also a carved bench.
The final thing I noticed, just before we got back to the car was a padlock on a gate. This is another image I’ve played about with in Color Efex Pro, using a filter called Indian Summer which turns green into brownish hues, creating an effect I really like.
One of the reasons I think it really works is it has helped bring out the colour of the fence against the green. In the original the two colours are quite close and results in a flatter image.
The effect is similar, although not as pronounced, in close up.
It’s a bit of a rarity these days for me to find somewhere so close that I’ve not been to before which yields a decent set of images. A nice reminder that there’s always something out there.
—————————————————————————————————————-The Birds of Isleworth Ait
Return to the Waterhouse Plantation
Return to the Royal Parks