Last month I published a collection of ‘wave monsters’. I have been down to the South Coast almost every week all through the winter, working mainly on fast-shutter captures of high seas. That’s a round trip of 140 miles at least once every week, usually getting down there in time for dawn. Often, my efforts have been rewarded with poor light or even driving rain. But it has still been one of my most exhilarating projects so far. Finally, my patience paid off, when Storm Imogen hit the coast earlier this month. Epic surf met great light, and I was one very happy, wave-obsessed photographer. So, I hope you will forgive me for one more surf-orientated post. If, like me, you are addicted to seascapes, there are more on my website.
I thought I’d share some more pictures from my walk in our short-lived snow, on Tuesday morning.
Chatley Heath is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and it is managed as a nature reserve by Surrey Wildlife Trust.
In its efforts to restore Surrey’s lost heathland, important habitat for several species at risk, the Trust has to do battle with birch and scots pine, the county’s dominant trees.
They self seed freely in the sandy soil. I have to say, however that they do look well together under a dusting of fresh snow.
I did find a few beech trees too, some still hanging onto autumn foliage. And one or two venerable oaks.
My 365 is from this day in 2009. I foolishly let on to my daughter’s headmistress that I took photos. Next thing I knew I was doing all the photography for the school’s new prospectus. It was a challenge for me, especially as at that time I had only a very entry level DSLR with lousy noise levels at ISOs above 400, no flash and little experience. But I enjoyed every minute of it. This image is from my first shoot at the school.
Finally, some snow. Circumstances (traffic and trains) were against me this morning and it was late before I managed to get out into the landscape. The thaw had begun, but I made the best I could of it all. I was attracted to the bright stems of these coppiced trees against the white.
On this day in 2009, I was also out photographing snow. My 365/34 was captured just 200 yards from my home. Situated south of London and within the M25, we rarely see temperatures low enough to form icicles like these, so they were a novelty I had to snap.
My 365/33 images are from this day in 2009. Overnight, we had experienced an unusually heavy snowfall. The children were delighted to have their first ever snow day. I must confess, I was quite excited too. We enjoyed a long walk, between snowball fights, and I snapped these on the River Thames towpath between Weybridge and Shepperton. in editing, I have deliberately over-exposed the images, trading texture in the snow for a light, airy look.
365/6 and 7
Last winter, I happened upon a small local murmuration of starlings. This year, by all accounts, there are far fewer starlings, only a fraction of the host shown here. This ‘inverted’ triptych is from images made on both 6th and 7th January 2014. Yes, I went two days in a row. Small though it was by national standards, this murmuration was still a breathtaking and very exciting show.
A shot from Tuesday’s visit to Painshill Park in Cobham, Surrey. Those eighteenth century landscape designers knew a thing or two! Two of Painshill’s famous follies are visible in this view, the Gothic Temple and the Chinese Bridge. For the techies, I used a .6 ND hard grad for this shot, and a circular polariser, of course. I have written several other posts about this favourite location of mine. Just click on the tags, Painshill or Painshill Park to find them.
Winter either bites with its teeth or lashes with it tail – Proverb
“The English winter — ending in July, To recommence in August.”
– George Gordon Byron
Thank you to those who have enquired about my recent absence from Focused Moments. I am fine, just flat out with college work and having to be very strict with myself about all things photographic as otherwise they might easily take over. ‘Normal service’ will hopefully resume next month, after we return from a brief visit to one of my very favourite European cities where I will be putting my new travel camera through its paces!
The snow had begun in the gloaming,
And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
With a silence deep and white.
Every pine and fir and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
Was ridged inch deep with pearl.
-James Russell Lowell, ‘The First Snow-Fall’