DAWDLING BY THE DOVE


Sheets of rain and roads turn to rivers……. recently water has been seen flowing over the bridge as well as underneath.  It’s not turning out to be the kind of summer that most of us were hoping for.  From a photographer’s viewpoint, it’s been hard even to plan local trips when at times you can’t see the fields, let alone the hills, for low cloud and rain.  Certainly the opportunities for ‘serious’ photography seem to have been limited.  With such unpredictability, it has often been a case of leaving full kit at home, and going for a walk with a small camera tucked into a pocket ‘just in case’.

As weather or light conspire against broader views, it has been good practice in turning eyes and tuning minds to pick out images that are less dependent on ‘good’ light.  Of course there is no such thing as ‘bad’ light – it just may not always suit what you had in mind.  The colours of spring and summer so far seem to have been mostly grey, brown and green.

I’d just got to the point where I was beginning to wonder if I might run out of ideas and inspiration – dawn has been over-ambitiously early and frequently uninspiring; there has been too little interest in the sky and the usual deterioration in quality of light that accompanies summer days (oh, for winter!) and just too many rank thistles and nettles on the hilltops – when a small section of the River Dove came to my rescue.

I’ve often stopped at the timber footbridge where the Dove runs in the shadow of Chrome Hill and occasionally composed an image of the slanting (stepping?) stones that run through the ford as varying water levels find a way between and sometimes over them.  On this occasion I took a couple of images and then paused as a group of Duke of Edinburgh students appeared on the far side.  I didn’t feel like either giving them a master class in the strange habits of the landscape photographer, or want to rush away, so I loitered while they passed on and out of sight.   As is often the case, stopping is good, and other patterns and textures caught my eye.

While footpaths and trails around Longnor and Hollinsclough tempt with glimpses of the Rivers Dove and Manifold where they cross, the river is frequently at arm’s length and often at a lower level. Here the river is revealed, with a ford, said stones, bends, overhanging alder trees, a small tributary stream and minor falls.  Where the cattle come down to drink the shallows reveal the stone bed and occasional stones (nothing as big as a boulder) break the surface.

I spent an enjoyable and quiet (for a Saturday morning) hour collecting a selection of ‘moods’ of the river.  Such diversity for such a small section of river:  kaleidoscope colours – blue, black, white, brown, green, orange – patterns and textures filled the viewfinder and with a little experimentation with shutter speeds I felt a nice collection of details resulted.  I hope you agree.

To see more images, go to www.longnorlandscapes.co.uk, or to comment visit www.facebook.com/LongnorLandscapesPhotography.

Michéla Griffith

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