Water Meadows

There has been no let-up in the succession of storms, driven by a powerful Jet Stream, that have been devastating the UK for well over six weeks now. This is the wettest winter for 250 years and it has devastated the South West of the UK, the coastline of Wales, and the Somerset Levels; and now as the water moves down stream, the Thames valley is subject to the worst flooding in memory. And those are only the headline hot-spots. Many other areas are also suffering severely. And more storms are on their way. When will it ever end?

_DS78251I live in central England, an area that is often spared the worst of the weather as it has often spent its force by the time it reaches us. And I also live on high ground. But even in the valleys of the Tove and Great Ouse rivers, just a few miles from where I live, there is extensive flooding of the Water Meadows (or Flood Meadows to use a more accurate term) as these rivers have burst their banks

Last weekend I visited this area alongside the Great Ouse in Old Stratford. This is an area where sheep normally graze and where we walk occasionally. I’ve never seen it so extensively flooded.

In the space of seven minutes I shot the images you see here. Early in the shoot, I saw the potential for panning during the exposure to produce something a little different, and so I thought I would just have a bit of fun and see what turned up. The majority of the blurred images were achieved in camera (most at ISO 100 f19/f22 1/20th sec). I was not carrying a ND filter (I seldom do). In one or two cases I have slightly accentuated the blur during processing by adding a little motion blur. The very last image is purely motion blur added during processing (to the penultimate image).

The light varied and when the sunlight faded, images captured became virtually black and white straight out of camera, so there was very little work needed to convert to B&W. It would be interesting to hear which images you prefer and why.

Click on any image in the gallery and navigate through. Individual images will enlarge if clicked upon.

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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21 Responses to Water Meadows

  1. These are really superb images – I love the effect. I feel so sorry for the poor people affected by the flooding – I live on high ground and apart from lots of rain it hasn’t affected us much (apart from the fact that I haven’t been out walking as much as I would have liked). Even the river Wharfe which is about a quarter of a mile away and normally rises quite fast in heavy rain has been relatively low…lets hope it doesn’t carry on into summer…

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks for your comment, James. It’s grim today, although we are spared the worst of it. We have family in Lyme Regis and they have taken a repeated battering, although thankfully they are on high ground and will never be at risk of flooding.

  2. The evening news has kept us all up to date on the flooding you’ve been getting. It’s been a really crazy winter all around. Sty safe Andy. Sometimes with natural disasters comes beauty as is the example with your images. Really lovely.

    • LensScaper says:

      If the news has reached Canada, then others must be realizing how exceptional this weather is. Hurricane force winds again today affecting the est of the country. I’m glad you liked the images, thanks for your comment, Edith

  3. Len says:

    THis winter has to be one of the worst on record just about everywhere. The water you are getting is worse as it tends to destroy more than snowfall. Glad you live on high ground. We live on the side of a small mountain so we are immune to the water. The biggest problem we have is getting up it on icy roads. Be safe, my friend.

    • LensScaper says:

      I’ve heard the weather is crazy across most of the northern hemisphere. The problem, I read just the other day, lies in the far side of the Pacific apparently. We are safe from floods, but not wind where we are. But thankfully the wind loses force as it moves inland. The people on the west coast are having an awful day with hurricane force winds. And the flooding is biblical in so many areas – it will take months to drain away.

  4. Chillbrook says:

    These are really interesting images Andy. I particularly like the three portrait shots and the final black and white in the series. Excellent stuff.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Adrian. I was surprised how well they turned out, since those were shot with blur in-camera, and the shutter was only 1/20th of a second so the movement of the camera was rapid and the results a bit unpredictable. It was a fun shoot that has turned out better than expected.

  5. oneowner says:

    I like all of these images, Andy, especially the blurred ones. It’s a nice effect and I might steal this idea for some of my own shots.
    We have had record cold and an extraordinary amount of snow this winter. We will probably experience some flooding in the spring when the snow melts. Usually we get a few days above freezing and the snow melts slowely but we haven’t seen a day above freezing in a long time.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Ken. This technique is worth a try – very much trial and error for me. With a good ND filter you would have a great deal more control. I’ve heard it’s been bitterly cold in parts of the USA.I think I’d prefer frost to rain any day.

  6. What a wonderful set of images in the gallery, Andy. Really like the abstracts.

    It seems to have been a severe Winter season in many places around the globe this year. As I write this, we are hunkering down for a foot of snowfall tonight, our 13th snow event since December 7th.

    Hate to see the flooding and the damage it causes. At least you had the opportunity to document the event.

  7. Meanderer says:

    I love the blurry images. I have tried to capture this sort of image before with my compact camera but I must be doing something wrong. Will endeavour to have another go.

    The rain is relentless, isn’t it? I read somewhere that it will continue into May. Deep joy …….

    • LensScaper says:

      Pleased you like them. They are not easy. I would the ISO down as low as it would go (100), selected Shutter priority and got the lowest shutter speed possible without over-exposing. Still ended up with only 1/20th of a second. On an SLR there is no shutter lag so in theory you press the shutter as you start to move the camera rapidly through what you hope is a straight vertical line (and that’s not easy). The problem with using a Compact I suspect is the inevitable small shutter delay which makes timing the swing of the camera pretty difficult.
      If this weather continues until May, we are all doomed.

  8. Leanne Cole says:

    We have been hearing about the weather there, yesterday they were saying it was the worse floods in century, good to hear you are on high ground, take care and stay safe.
    I really like the photos of the trees in the water. It is something I am really interested in right now. Do you have any shots of the trees straight on, so the reflections are coming toward you?

    • LensScaper says:

      Hi Leanne. It is becoming Apocalyptic over here for some unfortunate people – a complete tragedy. Glad you like the images, unfortunately none with reflections. The water was quite choppy due to wind, so no visible reflections. It’s the first time I’ve had an opportunity to shoot trees with their trunks in water – I might try again later this week if we have a calm day (please God).

      • Leanne Cole says:

        That sounds horrible, rain can be nice, but you do get sick of it. Our news doesn’t know what to report, there is too much horrible weather all around the world right now. We are having some lovely weather, but am sure it will heat up again soon.
        If you go back and manage to get one like that, I would love to see it, but don’t do it on my account. I just want to get an idea of what the trees look like in water.

  9. Crazy weather seems to be everywhere this winter, Andy. I hope you’re staying dry and safe. And I really like the vertical panning images. Nicely executed.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Steven for that. Yes, we are safe thank you. High and Dry. Another storm to hit tomorrow. The previus one produced winds of up to 108mph. I’m glad I wasn’t in the firing line of that wind. Glad you liked the panned images.

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