I’m sure after the long, cold and wet winter we had, most of us were longing for a good summer, particularly after the last couple of years. Thankfully we’ve been blessed with an amazing few months of warm dry and sunny weather which has also been great for us photographers. It’s raining and a bit cool as I sit in my office and write this but I’m confident that yesterday wasn’t the last of the great weather (at least that’s what I’m telling myself), and with the autumn comes some wonderful new opportunities for photographers of all disciplines.
I can’t believe it’s a month since my last blog. I’m not sure where the time has gone but I know that I’ve done a lot of photography in August and that it’s been extremely productive. Aside from my commercial photography work, I’ve been busy putting proposals together for a couple of exciting exhibitions in 2014 – one for my Farrier project (which still requires a few more photos to bring it together and add context, but which can’t be taken until the winter to ensure I have continuity) and one of local Landscapes. I’ve spent much of the last few months adding to my collection for this project but there is still much work to be done – there’s always a different part of the downs I want to visit and take photographs of. Lately, I’ve been rising with the sun to take landscape photographs, returning to my commercial work and then heading back out at dusk to catch the evening light. In addition to all this, I’ve also been working on ideas for a longer project relating to the definition of the map.
Today for me is a little different though, as well as editing last weeks photographs I’m waiting for a load of logs to turn up, so they are reasonably seasoned in time for the cold weather ahead and will keep me warm during those chilly days when I’m in the office.
We get big big skies over the downs around Wantage and when the clouds gather over the wheat fields it is dramatic and awe inspiring. The storm gathering around Wantage on the day I took this was breathtakingly beautiful.
Whilst the weather over the last few days hasn’t been quite the summer we are starting to get accustomed to lately, it has been fantastic for landscape photography. I always feel blessed to live in such a beautiful and diverse part of the country. With the Downs to the South, the Thames Valley to the North, Europe’s oldest road (the Ridgeway) a regular Thursday night location for a bike ride and the most famous of all the White Horses, a stones throw away in Uffington.
The skies here in the downs are always big and when the storms roll in, as they have done over the last week or so, are incredibly dramatic and dynamic. At this time of the year, so much of our time in the evening is taken up with tending to our allotment (with which I hold a love/hate relationship!) so the opportunity to take a walk out of Wantage, along Lark Hill, doesn’t appear too often. However, last week it did. It’s a wonderful and theatrical route to get out into the countryside from Wantage. Your sight is forever drawn to the hole between the overhanging trees where the road disappears at the brow of the hill, urging you to take the stiff walk uphill of about 10 minutes or so, along an ever narrowing lane getting more encroached by trees and hedges as the houses finally give way to nature…
… and then you’re in the open, greeted by a vast expanse looking towards the Ridgeway across Wantage Down, with a chalk track straight as a dye leading your eyes and feet into and through this big open landscape.
If the way in which the landscape reveals it self isn’t theatrical enough, the skies can be bigger and even more dramatic. Last week they were nothing short of menacing – huge dark and heavy stratocumulus (is that right?) formations towering into space and threatening to drench the earth with more rain than you could possibly imagine, whilst the late evening sun turned the wheat fields a glowing golden yellow.
So, it may have not been a break from the perfect summer weather we had all started to acclimatise to (whilst reminding ourselves that we do sometimes get a good summer here in the UK), but it was perfect for the Landscape photographer looking for something with a big hit of drama. If you’re experiencing the kind of weather we are and you’ve not yet picked up your camera, I really urge you to do so, the results should be incredible.
If you do, please share them with me along with their story and I’ll put the best on this site with a blog later in the month. What fun!!!
It was a stormy summers day and the Red Arrows were due to display over Uffington. A friend and I rode along the glass-like slippery Ridgeway to meet Claire and Aly on White Horse Hill. Despite getting filthy and having a few hairy downhill descents on the slimey downland chalk, the view and the display were breathtaking.
The pueblo blanco of Olvera glistening in the midday sun from the hill ridge at El Gastor in Andalucia, Spain. There was just one true cloud in the sky, providing me with a real gift for one of my favourite landscape images.