It’s been a savage winter in the UK, not so for its snow and ice but for its continual rain, high winds and storms. The first part of 2014 will be remembered for one thing – the volume of storm and water everywhere in the UK, but particularly in the South West.
I placed myself in the eye of one of those storms on 2nd January in North Devon, it was a deliberate act on my part – I knew exactly what I was going to get. I was hunting the glory of nature and I was certainly exposed to that. Grabbing images of it was never going to be the easiest thing, 20ft waves wrapped around a 70mph wind were never going to allow me to quietly stand in thoughtful concentration as I usually do, it was instead like going into battle with nature.
One of my favourite images from that trip was Wild West where I did at least capture some of that raging sea power with some nice sharp rock formations, though I don’t mind admitting that being out on that rock shelf at Hartland was a high risk venture on my part, plenty would go as far as to call it stupid, no doubt. But landscape photography does that to me. It’s like a drug, 50% of it or more is about the sense of adventure, reconnecting with the planet, being exposed to its elements, that’s what gives me the passion to keep going out.
I was reminded of all of this again with the opening of the Winter Olympics with the BBC’s wonderful trailer that they created. The dark foreboding voice of Charles Dance speaks as Nature, reminding us of that all encompassing challenge between man and the awe inspiring, unpredictable uncontrollable hand of the elements. This wonderful verse is below:
I am the dreadful menace,
The one who’s will is done,
The haunting chill upon your neck,
I, am the conundrum.
I will summon armies,
Of wind and rain and snow,
I made the black cloud overhead,
The ice like glass below.
Not you or any other,
Can fathom what is nigh,
I will tell you when to jump,
And I’ll dictate how high.
The ones that came before you,
Stood strong and tall and brave,
But I stole their dreams away,
Those dreams could not be saved.
And now you stand before me,
Devoid of all dismay,
Could it be, just maybe,
I’ll let you have your day?
But Mr Dance does it so much better than the written word, it brings to life wonderful memories and themes in my imagination…