Saturday, 23 April 2016

Winter Weather

What winter weather? 

Frosted picnic bench
Play Area - 21 January 2016

The winter of 2015 / 2016 was one of the mildest winters on record. Winter weather in Milton Country Park was confined to a few light frosts, all of which had disappeared by mid morning. No snow at all. With that in mind, you will understand why I left this post to the very end, and it will be one of the shortest posts in the project so far.

This first picture is a fair summary of the winter: sufficient frost to turn the grass a lighter shade of green, a table well covered in rime, and almost nothing on the trees. It is somewhat ironic, that in one of the dampest winters, there was never a freezing fog to coat the trees in sparkling ice.

Gulls standing on ice around clear water
Dickerson's Pit - 19 January 2016

A couple of mornings were cold enough to partially freeze the water in the pits and leave the gulls standing on the ice around a small patch of clear water. A sort of bird's swimming pool.

Leaves with ice crystals around the edges
Remembrance Meadow -  6 March 2016

Finally, the ground vegetation did get etched with ice crystals. I particularly liked the pattern here.

As I said, a short post.

My next post will be looking at some pictures of the country park before I started this project. Included will be a couple of images of a real winter with snow on the ground and ice on the trees.

Next: Past Glories

Saturday, 9 April 2016


Despite its title, and the association mists have with autumn, this is not a late post about autumn.  Autumn mists were not a feature of a wet and windy end to 2015, so most of the pictures here were taken in March 2016.  I very much wanted to record some misty weather in this blog, so I was willing to wait, beyond the end of twelve months, to capture Milton Country Park in these conditions.

Thick mist over water reducing trees to silhouettes
Deep Water - 1 November 2016

Mists generally occur in calm weather and bring a serenity to the countryside. The world goes quiet, nothing moves, birds don't sing, and traffic noise is muffled.  Trees do not move, the water is still, and a timeless peace pervades everything.  I hope I have captured something of this mood in this first image.

Shrouded in mist, details only visible on the nearest trees
Hall's Pond - 1 November 2015

As the sun begins to break through, the mist seems to glow in a way that is eerie in the silence.  This picture, taken on the same day as the first one, was taken just as the mist was thinning and lifting.  Blue sky can be seen reflected in the pond.

Mallard duck swimming in mist shrouded inlet
Todd's Pit - 13 March 2016

My next picture, taken some four months later, has the same ghost like quality to it.  With the grey indistinct shapes of the trees in the background, the whole scene could be so aptly described as 'shrouded in mist'.

Bed of reeds in the mist
Todd's Pit - 13 March 2016

I find the combination of yellow and grey appealing, especially so, when the grey is tinged with blue as in this photograph.  The overhanging branch and its reflection, on the left of the photograph, seem to be presenting the reeds to the world, like a showman introducing an artist.  Somewhere, in amongst the faintest suggestion of trees in the background, is the Visitor Centre.

Trees in the Mist

Copse of ash trees shrouded in mist
Tomkin's Mead - 13 March 2016

I know many photographers believe that mist is one of the best conditions to photograph in woods: it suppresses details and hides the clutter and complexity which characterise such environments.  The mist certainly did a good job of isolating these trees from any distractions behind.

Twisted trunks silhouetted in the mist
By Dickerson's Pit - 13 March 2016

Ever since I started photographing in the country park, I have been fascinated by the twisting trunks of these trees on the west bank of Dickserson's Pit.  I had not thought about why trees grow in some distorted shape before I read a piece by Richard Mabey.  All these bushes would have been programmed by their DNA to grow perfectly symmetrical.  Every twist and turn, every deviation from symmetry, is a result of the growing tree's shoots bending this way and that to get to the light that it so badly needs.  We are all used to the idea that we can a tree's age from its growth rings.  What we may not realise, and I certainly did not, is that the shape of the tree is a living record of its history.

Next: Winter Weather