For the last three years, on December 22nd and 23rd, I have been to the local river to take photos. On one of those dates in 1745 (accounts vary on the exact date), one hour after sunset, a small force of Jacobite soldiers crossed this river at a ford. The main Jacobite force attacked from the east. This little group drew the attention of the Royalists in the town, so the main attack was a surprise. It is said that the Jacobites still cross the river on this date, one hour after sunset, at the ford.
The biggest problem has always been determining the exact site of the ford. There have been a lot of changes in the intervening years. I assumed the ford would be where the road bridge is now because that's currently the shallowest part of the river. However, the marker that shows the site of the battle is a few hundred yards downstream. The river there is too deep to walk across now, but one side is now the start of a canal that was there in the 1800s and the other side now has a sewage works water inlet built into it. The marker could be right.
Tonight I tried both locations. I took along a Sony DSC-H5 still camera set to monochrome. The wide aperture lens makes it a good low light camera and monochrome means a) it's not trying too hard to process the image so it can take photos quicker and b) the photos, at just over 2Mb each, will fit here without reduction. What you see are the photos I took. If you click on the images you should see an enlarged version which you can then copy and fiddle around with to your heart's content. The onscreen ones usually look darker than the ones I have so you might want to increase the brightness of them.
It wasn't too cold, just under 0C (about 25F) so I didn't need gloves which is always good when handling a camera. They don't make buttons for chunky glove-covered fingers! These are straightforward monochrome photos, not infrared. The ground is actually white tonight and the overcast sky gave a fair amount of diffuse light. Ideal photography conditions, in fact.
I think I see something in one of the photos below. Just in one of them, in the water. The other photos are 'control' photos, in which I'm sure there's nothing unusual in the water. I haven't scoured the woods for possible images because that's not what I was there for. Lights in the trees are of no relevance because there are houses behind them.
I'll be interested to hear what - if anything - anyone else sees in any of these photos. As I said, clicking on them should get you the full sized image.
This is where the marker says the ford would have been in 1745. The railings are where the sewage works water inlet pipe takes water from the river. The outlet is downstream and nobody with any sense goes fishing down there!
Heading towards the bridge. Dark shapes in the water here are ducks.
This is where I was last year. There was no snow at all that time. The dark shapes in the water are ducks again.
Another shot of the bridge.
The combination of snow and low cloud made the scene a lot lighter than last time. This was one hour after sunset again, as before, and here that means 4:30 pm. A late afternoon investigation, twenty minutes' walk from my house. That's why I keep going back every year. It's the easiest investigation imaginable.
Feel free to download the pictures for closer examination, or just to play around with. If you want to repost them elsewhere for any reason, that's okay with me as long as I get a link!
(edited to add - If clicking on the pictures doesn't work, I'll try putting them on Facebook)
Edited again. I can't get Facebook to work so the photos are on Myspace.
Edited yet again. Oh hell, Myspace has shrunk them! If anyone wants the originals and Blogger won't let you have the full size ones, it'll just have to be Email.