It’s Somerset Day today and what better way to mark it than to celebrate the brilliant photos we’ve been featuring on the blog as our ‘pictures of the week’ – and the awesome people who’ve taken them!
We started publishing a great Somerset photograph every week because it was our anniversary! We’d been writing about the special stuff happening here for one year, so we asked people to share one of their cool photos of Somerset with us (and yes, you’re right… we were celebrating that ‘one’ link!).
Anyway, the very first corker we featured was taken by Nicola (@meyouandmagoo). She snapped it when she went to the Sense of Place exhibition with her family, at Brean Down Fort last year.
They all absolutely loved it as you can see - and we’ve absolutely loved not only this image of pure Somerset happiness, but all the amazing shots shared on Instagram and Twitter. For us, they perfectly capture the character of our incredibly special county. So today, if you want a beautiful snapshot of just how cool Somerset is, captured by some flipping talented people… you’ve come to the right place!
Talking of the right place, Simon (@simonbillingphotography) stumbled on this one when he was out and about looking for things to photograph.
Like most of us who live in or visit Somerset, we all know the Wicker Man – he’s a pretty iconic landmark off the M5 near Bridgwater - but rather than just waving at him as he drove past (like we do!!), Simon went one step further. He made the snap decision to park up and then scrambled through the reeds to capture him! :)
Spontaneity is something that lots of the photos we’ve featured have in common. Zoe Cox (@zcuk) was visiting her family and went for a run with her mum along the Portishead to Clevedon coastal path. After about 25 minutes, they turned a corner and Zoe saw Black Nore Lighthouse for the very first time… just as the sun was setting. As Zoe told us,
“It was pure lucky timing and looked stunning. Thank lordy for camera phones!”
We couldn’t agree more Zoe. The image is beautiful and it almost makes us want to take up running again... almost!! ;).
Similarly, Tom Bowes (@bowes.t) was out walking his black labs, Archie and Ralph, along the River Yeo at Long Sutton one chilly January morning, his mind completely occupied by work stuff when, as he told us…
“I was totally stopped in my tracks by the colour of the sunrise and the frozen stillness of the scene. It just put trivial work matters into perspective and to pause and enjoy the scenery was wonderful".
Tom’s experience that morning sums up how we feel a lot of the time too. Our busy minds fret over things that maybe we shouldn’t be worrying about… and then, when you step outside, Somerset hits you with a stunning sight like Tom’s - or like this one taken by @earthtohenri - and something changes in that moment. Things become clearer. More peaceful.
Henri’s capture of Great Wood makes us want to jump in the car and go there right this minute :) and a few of the photos we’ve featured are of awesome places like this. Places that are incredibly special to the people who’ve photographed them… none more so than this shot of the starling murmurations, by Donna Vale (@foreverycloud).
Donna is, in her words, “bonkers about birds” and I’ve never met a more dedicated starling watcher, put it that way! ;) If there’s a new, undiscovered place to get the best view from, you can bet your life Donna will have discovered it and be right there waiting to feel the flapping of hundreds of feathered wings overhead. Her beautiful photo was taken at Shapwick Heath (one of her favourite places), and it was one of the only times Donna’s seen the starlings making proper shapes.
One of photographer Rich Wiltshire’s favourite spots is Birnbeck Pier. He loves the history behind it, hopes that one day it’ll be saved and it might become one of your favourite haunts too when you see this flipping awesome shot of it! :)
The day the picture was taken, Rich headed to Weston-super-Mare after photographing the bluebells at Cleeve. He got there with about half an hour to spare until sunset, set his camera up and as he told us,
“One thing about shooting here is that you only have a few chances to get a composition before moving the camera, because of the rate the tide comes in”.
Well, we can imagine that's a bit of a challenge, but it was all worth it in the end and as Rich says,
“What I liked most was how the sun glowed in the sky, lighting the derelict remains of the pier and giving it a real warmth”.
We’re with you there Rich! It's certainly been brought to life in this picture.
Taunton-dweller Polly (@pollyspics), is also someone who’s always out and about taking fantastic Somerset photos. A place that means a lot to her is the Willow Cathedral in Longrun Meadow, Taunton - a unique monument made completely from local willow. Polly’s taken some awesome photos that capture the mood here throughout the different seasons, and this one caught our eye.
As Polly told us,
“I love riding my yellow bike down there with my camera in the basket, ready to see what it has to offer as the place is ever-changing. It’s a time to enjoy the natural beauty around us”.
There are lots of awesome landmarks, like the willow cathedral, in Somerset – some secret and some a little more well-known.
Here’s a quirky little shot by Clevedon Pier, taken from a hidden window seat, to give you a taster! It's a different outlook from a well-loved Somerset gem…
… and one of the most beautifully photographed icons in Somerset has to be the Low Lighthouse at Burnham-On-Sea, but we’ve never seen a shot that's quite as breathtaking as this one by Paul Leamon (@leapinglord).
As the lord that jumps around (we imagine ;)) told us,
“The sand bars surrounding the lighthouse are ever-changing, so you’re never sure what you’ll find until you get there. This particular evening, the tide had left behind this wonderful pool. I was drawn to the way the lighthouse was mirrored and the texture of the sand. It was a perfectly calm evening and this was the last shot I took before my battery died."
The last picture of an evening is a bit of an accidental theme in the images we’ve featured, as the next photo goes to show. It’s of one of our favourite Somerset landmarks - Ashton Windmill in Chapel Allerton. When we saw this shot of it - ‘Stars, sails and daffodils’ by Kris Avery - we pretty much did a little dance of joy ( no. YOU'RE the loser!! ;) ).
Anyway, Kris had been out for the day at Cheddar Gorge with some Bristol photographers and on the way home, he and a couple of the guys Ben Adams and Josh Perrett decided to head for the windmill as Kris hadn’t been before. This picture was taken just as they were about to leave. Josh didn’t realise Kris was in the middle of a shot and so he flooded the windmill with light with his torch for a composition of his own! It was a bit of a happy accident and the result is pretty magical, we reckon!
Talking of magical places in Somerset, Glastonbury is a firm favourite with most photographers - whether it’s their job, their passion or both! One of the first pics we fell for is this shot by Mel Marshall, who headed to Glasto on Boxing Day with her family.
“We were on our way to Glastonbury Abbey, wandering through the streets, taking in the weird and wonderful sights of the town and my little ones literally just struck a pose before I’d even got my phone out”.
Ha! LOVE that posing going on!
Of course we can't mention Glastonbury without saying a big hello to the almighty Tor! We’d need a million 'picture of the weeks' to feature every fantastic image of it, but this shot at sunset, by Kev Pearson, is a stunner.
Look at that sky! We don’t mind admitting we’re a little bit obsessed with the Somerset sky, as it goes. Everything in it is just so much bigger and brighter than anywhere we’ve ever lived, or visited. Maybe we’re slightly biased (what, really?), but the stars and the colours in this image just sum that right up!
Anyway, if you read our blogs regularly you’ll know we’re a bit animal mad and our pup, Petal, comes out and about with us to most of the Somerset places we visit. When we saw this image by Tim Hayne, out with his gorgeous Mini Schnauzer, Bimble, it kinda had to feature!
As Tim told us,
“ Just to prove that the traditional panic about the UK snow doesn’t deter us Somerset folk, Bimble and I braved it at the top of the Tor one slightly snowy Saturday morning! We climbed the Tor 32 times last year and as this photo goes to show, you always get a different view of Somerset with each Tor climb".
Bless Bimble... he does look a little bit nippy! :)
As well as doggy companions, we’ve featured Somerset sheep... (look at these two cheeky faces brilliantly captured by Zoe Cox)
... and a beautiful deer that Kev Pearson spotted in his neighbour's back garden.
This must’ve been such an amazing surprise to see ... and here’s some more amazing sights! The first, taken by Ben (@whoisbenjamin) was snapped at Cheddon Fitzpain. Ben was out and about giving a photography lesson, when he just casually snapped this "random" photo to show composition. As Ben says,
“I put it in to the lightroom and it’s just worked out OK".
We reckon Ben is the master of understatement! :) Look at this beauty...
And finally, what do you think of this shot of Cheddar Gorge, captured by Rich Wiltshire?
Rich conquered his nervousness of heights, climbed up Jacobs ladder with all his photography gear (passing a few mountain goats along the way), found the perfect spot but after all that, the sky was totally overcast so he was stuck there wondering if he’d ever get a great shot! Then, as Rich tells it,
“The winds really picked up. The clouds seemed to come to life and suddenly, the sun popped out from behind them lighting up the countryside spectacularly”.
Didn’t it just? Well, Rich told us he loves the sense of beauty in the image and we absolutely have to agree.
Isn’t Somerset breathtaking? We’d love to be overlooking Cheddar today! No chance of that right now though, so we’ll probably just eat some instead… and what goes brilliantly with cheese? We reckon @harrynevard, who took this picture at Burrow Hill Cider Farm, might have the same answer as us!
Happy Somerset Day everyone!
P.S. We're carrying on featuring a blog 'picture of the week' for as long as we write Somerset cool... we’ve loved it that much! :) So, if you want to get involved, just tag us in your pics or use the hashtag #somersetcool. If you forget, we might just find you and hunt down your cool picture anyway! :) Bwahh haaa haha!!! (that was our 'not very evil' laugh!!).