It is hard to escape the news about the plight of the UK. Even here in Taiwan the severe weather smashing the British countryside and shoreline is hitting the headlines. I hope that all my friends and family are safe, and that those who have been evacuated, and feel right now that all is lost soon get back on their feet. I also hope that the local authorities realise that the rivers need dredging and defences need to be put in place to prevent future devastation.
Although the water is high, the temperature is low and winds are howling, these conditions often offer the opportunity for intrepid photographers to create some dramatic and powerful images. I was back in the UK at the start of the year, I grabbed every chance to get out and make photographs. Getting up pre-dawn, glad of a thick coat and the grip of my shoes I climbed walls and icy cold railings to stand on slimy cobbles as the Sun peaked over the horizon to create this photograph of Switherland Water in Leicestershire.
It is surprising that the water level in the reservoir isn't higher on the marker. The rain had been heavy and continuous for sometime. I drove from place to place trying to find a spot that I could get some shots from. The Mondeo's door seals being tested as I made my way through water approaching 2ft (24 inches) deep. I finally managed to get set up to create these images.
The reflections of the dawn Sun in the mirror like flooded field is beautiful. I expect the Farmer has concerns, but flooding happens most years over some part of these fields. This year though, dry land was very scarce indeed.
Whilst over on our visit, my friends Richard and Roger kindly popped up (despite the conditions) for a visit. Richard doesn't need much of an excuse to jump in his beloved Volvo for a road trip. We went out and drank a few pints of good ale, then grabbed a curry from the local curry house. The food was excellent, not being a licensed restaurant we asked for tea to go with the curry. It caused us all confusion, especially in our mildly inebriated state, to be told by the waiter would see as "tea isn't always here".
I had a busy morning and when the lads finally got up we decided to head up to the Beacon Hill and check out the view. We were so glad that we did. I think the shot below is one of the most stunning photographs I have ever made. Of course all we do as photographers is capture the light in a way that conveys our vision and present that to the world. When I made this the sun was setting, beneath the heavy clouds, there was cold rain finding it's way sideways into my ears, but the light was gorgeous.
Having braved the worsening conditions, we were rewarded by this superb rainbow. I was extra happy as it is another shot for my growing and somewhat unconsciously collected collection of bench photographs. How can a view like this not leave you in awe, I think we all just stood and stared at this magnificent vision. I would happily sit on that bench and look at that for hours. There was in fact a double rainbow, but it was bloody cold and no messing, so we stood all that we could stand and then dashed back to the warmth and comfort of Richard's Volvo ( I have to type Volvo, if I referred to it as Richard's car he would never forgive me!).
We had a little adventure via Switherland Water and then into the Quarry works. I think you have probably gathered that Richard likes Volvo's, if you haven't figured this out yet let me spell it out..RICHARD IS OBSESSED WITH VOLVO. Ok? Bearing this in mind you can imagine his excitement when he got to make this photograph....
Photograph courtesy of Richard Gritton via "the Vovlvo appreciation society" (yes that is right).
Whilst in France I had made a photograph of another Volvo obsessed friends car and promised Richard I would make a shot of his too, more of that in a tick.
Obviously even if we want to, we can't be out making photographs all the time. Look around you and you can see things that you take for granted are already set for you to photograph. This little cherub has been sitting at my folks house for years, I hadn't paid it much attention. However having been away from the T.V for a few months I found, on my return that it just gets on my nerves. I looked for a distraction, something to do, and there it was. If I was religious I could say this is the anti T.V Angel, that would be a godsend.
I did warn you about the promise to Richard and his ca...Volvo. Employing both Richard and Roger, 2 Speedlights fitted with my ever versatile Rogue Flashbenders and iShoot Radio Transceivers fitted we made this. I did have to build up the light with several different shots, but Richard got his sexy Volvo shot I promised him, and I am happy to prove that you don't need all the lights and modifiers in the world to make a car shot. Sure a little refinement is possible, but the fun is greater with 3 freezing cold mates, one with a passion for Volvo's one with a passion and knowledge of photography and one with a passion for tea working together to make this....
To all the folk around the world suffering weird weather, my friends in Alabama dealing with the snow, those in Eastern Europe enduring some mad ice build up (look out for falling icicles) and everyone wading around in the UK. Stay safe, stay warm and look out for one another ok.
Next time somewhere a little warmer, Singapore. For now though it is Mandarin practice time, then more for the new website.
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