the joy of instagram
a gourmet guide for the eyes
Love it or hate it, there can be no denying that Instagram is a potentially fascinating platform, filled with zillions of little windows into the lives of those who tell their stories in pictures.
For canal-loving Insta fans, there are some bright shiny gems to be unearthed within this vast mountain of imagery - photographers who have that jaw-dropping and unfathomable ability to captivate, pull you in and take you on a spectacular journey along our waterways as seen through their eyes. Whether amateur or professional, they all have that ‘special something’ which makes their images an absolute delight and a privilege to stumble upon.
Stumble no further! Below are some leads to a few such accounts - guaranteed to sprinkle a little magic on your Insta feed and leave you wanting more.
account name: mrscloudinspector
If nature and serenity float your boat (and whose boat don’t they float?), then come on over - you won’t be disappointed. This is a lady who understands good composition and how to capture and balance beautiful content. Weave in her appreciation of light and shape and the result is a smorgasbord of wonderfully dreamy ‘other-worldly’ images; delicate yet striking at the same time.
“Hi, I’m Megan and, along with my husband, I’ve been a narrowboat dweller for almost a decade, which is slightly less time than I’ve been on Instagram! I’ve always loved to take photos: years ago I would make holiday scrapbooks with printed photos and mementos, collages of trips and adventures, montages in frames and albums.
"The thing I love most about boat life is being so connected to nature. You can step off the boat and instantly be surrounded by nature. But not only that, you are immersed in it. When the wind blows, you feel the sway of the boat, hear the lash of rain on the windows, see the sun reflecting off the water and watch shining ripples of dancing light on the ceiling. An electric blue kingfisher darts past the side hatch; you watch a heron catch and eat a fish; the coots build a nest in the reeds opposite and raise three hungry chicks.
"There is something soothing about being on the water. It is no surprise that there is an upsurge in studies into what has been dubbed the ‘blue gym’. The fact that a pioneering doctor has prescribed walks along the canal in addition to medication in the treatment of mental illnesses and that the relationship between aquatic environments and health is now being researched, is testament to the healing power of nature. It certainly works for me.” Megan (@mrscloudinspector)
account name: anuneasyparadise
Atmospheric, poignant, haunting. The imagery and stories to be found here touch something in the soul. Looking for a unique Christmas gift for a special someone - or maybe a little gift for your special self? Check out the book behind the account here
“We moved onto our narrowboat in 2012 after a decade of travel in Asia, and as much as we wanted a home we also wanted a way to explore this country that had become so unfamiliar to us. Which we did indeed do. We never imagined that nine years later we’d still be living on the boat as a family of four.
"Photography has always been part of our lives, chronicling the everyday and simplicity of life around us. Out of this a story evolved, captured on countless rolls of film, of the community on the Kennet and Avon Canal. But it was always intended to be more than just fragments of an unusual lifestyle, We hoped that it could be a voice for a group of people, of whom we are a part, whose place on the waterways is becoming more uncertain as the rules by which they are governed evolve.” Sebastien and Louise (@anuneasyparadise)
account name: shinnysin
An enchanting and delightful romp of an account, documenting life on the canals as and when it happens. Be warned: the interior shots are likely to provoke a severe case of boat envy deep in the hearts of the romantically-inclined. Where are you taking us next in your beautiful boat, Sinead? We’re loving finding out! Sinead also has an Etsy shop, where she sells crochet patterns, notions and finished items. Check it out here
“I am now in my 7th year as a continuous cruiser and I can honestly say it's the most magical life I could have ever dreamed of. I could focus on the hard parts, and there are many! But the precious moments far outweigh the bad. Falling asleep listening to the owls, misty mornings, coffee by the wood burner and a new adventure every move-day with new places to explore, is my idea of heaven. I love that narrowboat life brings you closer to nature with everything revolving around the seasons, Even rainy days are a pleasure when you're cosy inside.
"My wooden home is constructed mainly from pallet wood, scaffolding planks and a lot of recycled stuff! Originally a Barney boat built at Braunston, we had to rebuild the whole top wooden cabin and replace absolutely everything apart from the hull and engine. It still has the original 47 year old Sabb twin pot diesel engine which runs like a dream. It has a beautiful sound, chugging along. After a lockdown winter in snowy Llangollen and this coming winter on the beautiful sandstone Staffs and Worcester, I think a summer on the Thames is the next plan.” Sinead (@shinnysin)
account name: srcnikon
Photography to really make you gasp in wonder. Steve Cole's subject matter goes way beyond our waterways, but we can forgive him because every shot is just so stunning. His astonishing image of Sawley Cut, titled 'Cool Power' (first image below left) was commended in the UK Landscape Photographer of the Year 2020 competition and has been viewed a staggering 13million times on social media sites.
“I have been enjoying photography as a keen amateur for around 10yrs now and will often be out very early in the morning or out late in the evening capturing the wonderful colours and light of both sunrise and sunset.
"I live in Long Eaton, Derbyshire and I am literally spoilt for choice when it comes to waterways; the river Trent and Soar, Trent and Mersey canal and Erewash canal, plus other river diversion cuts are within a short walk and give me endless potential throughout the year. A big percentage of my landscape images will include these stretches of water.” Steve Cole (@srcnikon)
Copyright Notice: All images shown here are the property of the Instagram account holders who kindly granted consent for their inclusion within this article. They are strictly not to be reproduced elsewhere without the relevant account holder's prior written permission. All rights reserved.