We’re all hoping to see the back of Winter very soon, as we spot little signs of Spring in the bright daffodils beginning their blooms and in the sunshine, teasing us with an appearance every now and then.
Before we say goodbye to February though, we wanted to share an assortment of the wonderful Winter sights of Somerset, captured by some of the brilliant photographers across the county. So, sit back and enjoy this Somerset cool Winter selection and the stories behind these fantastic seasonal captures.
We start at one of Somerset’s iconic spots, especially if you're a cider lover! Matthew Fuller took the beautiful shot of Burrow Hill shown at the top of the blog and as he tells it,
“Me and my family decided to go to Burrow Hill for a walk on New Year's Eve. When we got there, there was a beautiful mist over the cider farm. My partner said it would make a lovely photo and that we should bring the drone up the next morning. We got up really early with the kids, got to the hill for about 7 and when we first turned up you couldn't see anything at all. When we got right to the top though, everything came into view so I quickly set up the drone and managed to get some amazing shots”.
Well, ain’t that the truth? We loved seeing Matthew’s incredible photos.
More great shots from the air next, as we had to Shepton Mallet and Vitaliy Bobrovic’s capture from Collett Park.
“The story of this photo began on Sunday morning, January 24th. It was that rare time it snowed in Shepton Mallet. I took advantage of such a gift from the weather and took the drone into the sky”.
Snowy Shepton looks stunning through Vitaliy’s lens and somewhere else that always provides wonderful photographic inspiration (and definitely looks magical with a sprinkling of snow) is Glastonbury Tor.
Staying in the sky for a moment, Mario Nogales took this incredible aerial shot of the Tor on January 24th too...
... and someone else who was there that day was photographer Neil Juggins. Neil took these contrasting shots from the ground. One on the approach, with the grey descending...
... and one from the top when the sun temporarily put his hat on!
"We knew a couple of days in advance that there was a good chance of snow, so we went to bed early the night before, raced up the Tor first thing and managed to get the shot. Strangely enough, although I had my proper camera with me I used the iPhone for this one, mainly as it has a panoramic function. That day was quite dull first thing and I thought we wouldn’t get a good sunrise, but the clouds parted for about 5 minutes and I got this image. What was particularly nice that day was the happy excited faces of everyone around. I’m led to believe that snow isn’t a regular occurrence on the Tor, so the excitement was magnified".
Wherever you are, snow always feels exciting as it falls doesn't it and David Thompson captured this equally magical, misty scene, on a lockdown walk near where he lives in Henstridge.
"This particular morning it was very 'crispy, crunchy' underfoot and it was great to know I was the first person to tread this freshly laid snow. The sky was just starting to show some colour, which looked very promising. The bottom fields where I was heading are situated well into the Blackmore Vale, which are often full of mist on a still, early morning. They can be a photographers dream when the conditions are right. On arrival, the snow covered area was perfect. I quickly worked out a composition and as I started to take photos I noticed some distant mist creeping in, which always gives you that extra ingredient to make the image special. This was a very memorable morning's photography. Getting out in this snow certainly gave me that much needed motivation and was wonderfully good for the soul. Taking pictures in lockdown can still be extremely rewarding and really makes you appreciate and look after the local landscape around you."
That's so true and this gorgeous image definitely gives us great wintery goosebumps!
And from Lone Tree Landscapes, the name of David's photography brand, to a wonderful lone tree capture by photographer Liz Elmont.
What a breathtaking, snowy Somerset scene on the Quantocks this is, and the hills have inspired some wonderful photography this Winter. We've seen striking sunrises like this one, taken from Lydeard Hill by Clayton Jane...
As Clayton says,
"The day started very low key. I was aiming for somewhere else, but as I saw the cloud forming I dashed to a different position"
and we've even discovered 'A Unicorn without a Horn' on the hills, thanks to David Sims at The Hanging Gallery.
It was definitely a rare day when David took this photo, with the azure blue sky providing a striking contrast with the snow on the ground and as he says,
"Over the last 2 years I've observed and visited the wild horses on the Quantock hills many times. They have a magical presence to me - outside in all weathers, moving freely across the landscape, never seen in the same place. Sometimes friendly, sometimes a little crotchety, sometimes just plain illusive. I walked for about a mile over the thick snow and after spending some time observing a small group of 4 horses gathered on the hillside, I spotted the grey 'Unicorn without a Horn' horse... mystical and stunning. The horse started to show interest in the ivy and I thought to myself, this will be a special image if I can capture the stretch and pull of the ivy against the deep blue sky and white snow. I waited a few more moments. It had been nearly an hour since I first viewed the horses in the distance and as I photographed it, this horse was either impervious to my existence or was content with my presence. Good things do come to those that wait, for sure".
Well, this was clearly a special moment and another one of those was photographed by Sophie, as she took a walk closer to home at The Lighthouse in Tytherington, on a January Friday. As Sophie says,
"With a hoar frost, beautiful misty layers and the lake frozen at the edges, it was really calm and still - a marvellous Winter morning!"
The (one) Swan definitely thought so too!
And talking of photos featuring characters of the winged variety, we couldn't have a Winter photography feature without a bird everyone loves... the Robin.
Carl Bovis takes such incredible photos of birds and this one is no exception.
As Carl tells it,
"I was photographing some small birds coming to feed on sunflower hearts on a post at RSPB Greylake, my local nature reserve. The regular visitors are Chaffinches, House Sparrows, Blue Tits and Great Tits, but every now and then a Robin appears too. I saw this one in a nearby tree and predicted it would fly over to the post. I caught the photo at the moment of landing, its wings outstretched, as if proclaiming all the seed its own!"
Ha - love that. "This seed is mine all mine!!" and from a solitary figure to a flock of thousands, as we head out with photographer Mark Pickthall, who is always on the search for starlings when the Winter months dawn.
"I think what drives me to observe this annual phenomena is a growing connection to the Somerset wetlands, the elements and these extraordinary birds. Unsurprisingly this year, I've had more time to experience this local treasure".
"As they get closer to the moment of migration, the birds tend to move around, perhaps every three or four days, and I became aware of certain trees being used as meeting points before an explosive take off... leaving the trees sighing with relief!
The starlings certainly are an incredible sight to see during the Winter months in Somerset and another sight we were used to seeing before lockdown, was the Willow Man. He's in desperate need of repair and after trying to raise funds to do that, artist Serena de la Hay has spoken about letting him return to the earth.
Edward Allistone captured this hauntingly beautiful shot of the beloved landmark and had this to say:
"I can't count the number of times I've driven past the Willow Man and wondered what it would look like with stars behind. I was commuting from Bristol to Taunton a couple of times a week and the temptation to take a detour to Puriton overtook me. Most of the landscape shots I take are when I'm out scouting for astrophotos. This one is no exception. I want to get a Winter star shot with the Orion and the sculpture back to back! A stormy couple of months and lockdowns have meant a delay to this plan, so I'll now have to wait till December time before I can see if my shot is possible, with the light pollution from Bridgwater".
We'll look forward to that shot, and more pieces of Somerset history (admittedly much older ones) can always be found at the location of our next photo - Kilve beach.
Hannah, AKA Quantocks girl, took this atmospheric shot of a HUGE ammonite and also surprised us with her Bryan Adams knowledge! ;)
"This place really is a little step back in time. A place to lose yourself among some incredible rock formations and such a great place to find fossils. Not only that, but who knew that Bryan Adams filmed ‘Everything I do’ here many years ago?! I’m sure knowing this makes me a fossil".
That made us smile and who couldn't smile at the colours in the sky at another Somerset landmark? The low lighthouse at Burnham-on-Sea is beautifully captured here by Hakeem at Colourblenz Photos.
And from the beach to the woods we go, with this stunner of a shot taken by James Markham.
As James tells it,
"This was taken near the forest at Gare Hill on a freezing, frosty Winter morning. We're so lucky to have so many wonderful areas of woodlands in Somerset and this area is close to where I live. On this particular morning, I wanted to get a different perspective of the white layer of frost and sent the drone up to snap a few images. I love this composition at the break of day".
There's such beautiful Winter light in the capture too and when it comes to light, this photo taken by Mike Jefferies, really is something very special.
As Mike says,
"The day I took this photo I actually went to take some pictures of Priddy Church, St. Lawrence. As the sun was setting, it caught my eye as the last rays shone through the statue. Basically, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to get this shot".
Somone else who feels lucky is Michelle Cowbourne, or GlastoMichelle as you might know her. Michelle's love of Glastonbury always shines through in her photography and her shot of the snowdrops at Glastonbury Abbey is no exception.
"The Abbey is one of my favourite places to spend some time and I'm very fortunate to live so close to it. The different flowers throughout the seasons are just lovely, but I always eagerly await the snowdrops as they seem such a sign of hope".
We couldn't agree more and with the snowdrops putting on an incredible show at the moment, it won't be long before other flowers are taking centre stage. For now though, it's been brilliant looking back at the beauty of Winter. We might not have been able to get out as much as we'd like, but one thing's for sure. We're lucky to have such wonderful natural inspiration on our doorsteps.
Until our Spring look at Somerset photography, keep safe.