In November 2022 visual artist Hannah Imlach approached us to talk about an art installation she had in mind for the RSPB Nature Reserve at Loch Lomond. The reserve is a prime site where Greenland White-fronted geese come and overwinter. Hannah’s concept for her artwork was a visual image of skeins of geese flying in the sky combined with a sundial showing the times when the geese arrive and leave. White-fronted geese migrate from Greenland in the autumn and return there in the springtime to breed.
This was a very exciting idea bringing together ephemeral patterns of the skeins and geometric shadows of a sundial into working harmony. An artistic representation of beauty and mystery in the natural world would also become a scientific instrument. The conformation for the whole piece took some time to realise and specify, followed by the design and construction phases. The key sundial features are the apex where the two sloping steel panels meet at the top, and the narrow slit between them. When the geese are migrating in spring and autumn the shadow of the apex covers coloured bands of paving on the ground. The apex is the sundial nodus. During the day the slit projects a light beam passing over hour lines to tell the time. In an exceptional and probably unique configuration, the light takes the place of the conventional shadow of the gnomon.