Friday, 17 September 2010

Image of the Week - River Brue at Glastonbury

I've been a little tied up with working through my growing backlog of scans during the last few weeks. It's amazing how time flies when you are having fun. So, this is not quite one from the archives as it's only just been scanned, but it's almost old enough to qualify.

As you have probably guessed this is one from winter here in the west country. January this year to be a little more precise, the day after the biggest snowfall for many years (although still not as much as I remember as a lad). Isn't it funny how we all become accustomed to gradual changes over the years, such as warmer and warmer winters, and then when things slightly deviate from what we have become accustomed to everyone seems to behave as if the sky is falling in. It's as if far worse events, that only a couple of decades ago were the norm, never actually happened.

When I was a teenager I can remember digging my neighbours car out of the snow so he could drive us down the lane to the school bus and despite snowdrifts higher than some of the hedgerows, the bus still got us to school. The only time our school closed was when the heating oil had frozen and consequently so had most of the water pipes. This year despite only 2 inches or so of snow on the ground the local schools were immediately closed for fear that someone might be tempted to slide in the strange fluffy white stuff or throw a compressed ball of it at someone else and get their hair wet.

Still, ours and everyone else's kids didn't miss this valuable opportunity to learn what it was like to spend too long out in the snow and come home complaining of wet clothes, chilblains and aching rear ends. Rather than partake in these forbidden acts in the relative safety of the school grounds like their parents did, they just marched up to the top of the biggest hill overlooking the village, fertiliser bags, air beds and sledges in tow, and did it all up there all day until it was too dark to see. A few parents, still to grow up, joined in and yes that included me!

Of course I brought along my camera gear and before I got too sore I wandered off to make the most of the winter wonderland in the woods beyond the toboggan run. I came back with some great, almost monochromatic, winter pictures and my kids came back with aching rear ends and the sad remains of an airbed that will no longer be holidaying with us.

My favourite picture, and the one that I'm reminded prompted this post, was taken the next day when the snow had stopped falling and it was sunshine with wall to wall blue sky.

I had spent the morning photographing and following the River Brue as it winds it's way over South Moor; part of the Somerset Levels to the south of Glastonbury. I've visited this spot several times before and had it in mind the previous day while the snow was still falling. While I'm not a great fan of total blue sky, I realised with the white landscape all around, the blue sky reflected in the river made for a nice contrast and splash of colour. I was quite relieved that this field was devoid of the heard bullocks that were there last time I visited. Focussing under a dark cloth while surrounded by these inquisitive and frisky animals is an unnerving experience!