Wednesday 11 February 2009

A Snow Day

I have said it before and I will probably will say it again: I really do like snow. Last Monday the south of England ground to a complete halt when snow hit in a big way.

We don't get snow very often and snow that settles is an even rarer beast, so road and rail chaos ensued. The schools were closed as the teachers couldn't get in. Millions of people couldn't get to work, so instead they had to stay home and build snowmen or go tobogganing with their kids. Where is the bad in that - snow really is brilliant stuff.

Fun with Mum
(Click to view large)

Being the intrepid and hard-working photographer I am, I had already made a note of the weather forecast and had my bags packed just in case the weather men were right. Being unable to drive anywhere the only option was to take my gear & get out there and walk.

First I headed to Roding Valley Meadows, as per usual I found it difficult to avoid a shot of my very favourite tree when it is covered in snow.

Snow at the Gate
(Click to view large)

After that it was back home for a snack and then a long walk through Epping Forest. I started at Baldwins Hill by The Foresters pub where a big hill leads down in to the forest. Hundreds of people had turned up to go sledging and were throwing themselves down the hill on sledges, plastic bags, barbecue lids and even the top part of a wheelbarrow.

(Click to view large)

I stayed there for ages, enjoying capturing the action and the sheer sense of fun with everyone smiling and having a great time.

Hanging on
(Click to view large)

From there I headed across the forest to the Iron Age hill fort of Loughton Camp high in the forest. It snowed all the time I was walking and it was a constant battle to keep the camera lens and my glasses free of snow. Then a strange thing happened...I got lost!

Normally I have no trouble finding my way around the forest. I know where the tracks go and if I follow a new track I have a pretty good idea where it will go to. This is all well and good if you can see the tracks, but the heavy snowfall had covered them all and I was walking where the only footprints were mine and those of some passing deer.

Aat times like this I can usually orientate myself by the noise of the traffic on forest roads, but the snow had bought traffic to a halt. So I worked myway into a valley where I found a stream and followed it downhill to where it met a second stream but I still didn't recognise the area at all. I spent ages racking my brains but couldn't work out where I was as I was expecting to see the juction of 3 paths with 2 bridges over the streams. I finally realised that the streams & bridges were almost invisible under the amount of snow on them, so with much relief I infereed the path I wanted from some flat areas in the snow and headed for home.

I made it home after 5 hours of wandering in the snow with my camera. All in all a great day...I love snow.


Anonymous said...

I love the tree shot and the last one. Good compositions!

Chris Shepherd said...

Thanks - makes it worth battling through the snow for :)