R and I were both busy all morning - he was engaged in domestic engineering of various kinds, and also dealing with the plumber, who'd come to do our annual boiler service, and I was re-imagining the myth of Sisyphus: rather than pushing a huge boulder repeatedly up a hill, I was struggling to push my endless processing mountain through an increasingly irritable and reluctant Lightroom. It's probably as well that the plumber (who's a very nice person) was safely shut away in the utility room, out of earshot of the language I was employing.
Over the course of the morning the light outside my study window worsened steadily, and my stress level wasn't eased by the fear that I might be processing last month's files at the expense of being able to take any new photos today. But the weather forecast assured me that it was at least partly sunny in Stratford, so at about 2pm, when R and I had both finished our self-assigned tasks, that's where we went. And although "partly" was the operative word, with the sun appearing and disappearing as clouds scudded through on a fiercely cold wind, there were enough periods of good light for me to give the R5 a decent work-out.
I'm not going to claim that this is a perfect photo - it's very slightly soft on the eye - but it's easily the best shot I've ever taken of a black-headed gull in flight, and that's enough to make it my favourite of the day. I also managed several other flight shots of gulls and swans, as well as a few river images with nicely smooshy golden hour water, and some pin-sharp portraits of standing birds; so I was already feeling at peace with the world again when R and I walked out of the café after our well-earned coffee and cake, and I spotted the moon in the dusky sky. "I wonder," I said, "if I could do that hand-held...", and I wound out the zoom, lifted the camera, and took two frames. This is the first of them, which I thought was fractionally the better of the two; all it's needed, other than added contrast and a reasonable crop, was some smoothing in Topaz Denoise AI to reduce the grain in the sky.