This week I met up with some of my family to scatter my mothers ashes and visit a place both she and I visited almost weekly to watch the wildlife and loved to spend a little time together.
The location on the Somerset Levels sits in view of the iconic Glastonbury Tor and the River called South Drain (yeah not the most romantic name !) flows across the moors helping to ease excess water during winter months.
I’ve photographed here many times over the last 25 years and to me it is iconic Somerset combining the Glastonbury Tor,river,moor and it’s wonderful wildlife.
It’s now not only a place to photograph but also a place to go to remember happy times with my Mum.
It’s been a bit of a tough year both personally and for the area I live and love that is still recovering from the recent floods.
This week I took a break from a hefty amount of marketing to do some walking and take some therapeutic snaps while I was at it.
Pointing my camera without any plans to what I wanted to specifically capture is not something I do a lot of these days so it was a bit like yoga for the creative muscles to just follow my nose.
I decided to head a few miles from the Studio to the edge of the Somerset Levels at Hambridge where just a few months earlier was several feet underwater and the road totally unpassable at least by car.
I’m glad to say I found a drastic change to the area since my last visit and everything appears to be returning to some kind of normality.
That is not to say that the signs of the devastation where not evident in fact I came a cross everything from flattened rotting withy trees to dead Deer (although that was probably due to a car than the flooding).
Although many fields still looked saturated with water and mud a few did have some signs of growth in them along with hedges blooming with Blackthorn
After some careful planning I today decided to venture out towards the heart of the severe flooding on the Somerset Levels.
I headed to a spot I’ve visited many times called Burrow Mump at Burrow Bridge where the floods hit very hard.
I wanted to capture some images for a new image I have an idea for and also document the severity of this major and devastating flood.
I arrived on the only road that is currently open, parked up and navigated the muddy field at the base of the hill.
The climb up was a bit precarious and I did not look forward to the journey back down which I was sure would be predominately on my ass !
The view from the top of Burrow Mump is always impressive and although the flooding had receded a fair bit in places it was still an incredible sight especially as the storm clouds gathered yet again ovehead.
After several shots of the incredible light over the flooded fields I decided to move position to try another angle, as I bent to grab my bag the tripod complete with camera toppled down the hill smashing the £1700 lens that was attached !.
It’s been a difficult few weeks as I have previously mentioned and maybe due to this I just looked at the heap of electronics on the damp hillside packed my bag and headed home.
As my mum would have said “It Don’t Rain It Pours” she also used to say things often happened in threes but I’m hoping this time that is not the case !
You can’t live in the UK without having heard about the village of Muchelney in South Somerset which has recently become an island after the severe floods.
I live a few miles from the village and have managed until today to resist all temptations to venture out onto the Somerset Levels with my camera.
The two problems for me are firstly that the Somerset Levels are where I learnt my craft and they even after all these years are still one of my favorite places to go and shoot.
Secondly although I’m certainly no adrenalin junkie or risk taker I’m fascinated by extreme weather much to my wife’s disapproval and this means I can’t resist getting safely close as possible to explore & capture what I find.
The floods had receded just enough that some roads are now passable so today with stormy skies still overhead I ventured to a couple of places I thought might be safe and give me some great views.
This image titled “Dry Path To Muchelney” shows the severely flooded River Isle on the right and flooded fields to the left with a elevated path bank heading towards Muchelny.
The gentleman I met walking with his dog said how in 40 years he had never seen flooding this extreme in the area.His dog seemed less bothered by he water and more interested in the wildlife as there where lots of mice and other animals on the bank seeking safety from the waters.
The rains came in again giving some wonderful skies and I decided to shoot one more image before heading home.
As I mounted a gate to reach the flood line in a field I somehow lost my footing and ended up head first with my camera luckily on top of me !
It must have looked hilarious but must admit as I sit here writing this I’m pretty bruised and not getting any sympathy from the wife !
I hope for those hit hard by the floods in Muchelney and surrounding area that the water recedes soon so that the clean up can get started.
I know I have mentioned this before both here and probably many times on my photography training site but I love the Somerset Levels.
Somerset has been my home since the age of seven and the Wetlands are where I spent many many hours shooting and mastering my photography.
These days most of (but not all) of my photography tends to be planned in detail rather than simply exploring and capturing what I find although this often more fun!
Following some extreme flooding in late November here in the U.K I decided to take a trip to some of my favorite areas of the levels with just a single camera and a single 70-200mm lens. I occasionally reduce myself to a limited amount of equipment to kind of stretch/exercise /challenge my creativity.On the day in question the winter light was beautiful combined with a striking cold frost that barely shifted all day.It’s days like these that there seems to be an image waiting to be captured around every bend.It’s also days like these that reminds me of all the years of learning and why I’d do it all again in a flash..pun intended 🙂
I’m pleased to announced one of my images has received an Honorable Mention In IPA Awards.
The awards which are in their 10th Anniversary Year received over 10,000 entries and judged by over 80 international photography professionals.
The image which was entered into the Advertising self promotion category is Untitled is one of my Life In A Somerset Landscape series.
The image features a Fox in a spring dawn at Burrow Mump at Burrowbridge on the Somerset Levels.