Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Day 14 - 30th December 2014 - Wallingford to Goring

Today’s hike was superb in every way - I hiked from just before sunrise to just after sunset - and the -7˚C temperature prior to sunrise was a perfect start. The heavy frost was a gift for photography and the crisp clear air was invigorating, to say the least. And a beneficial byproduct of the heavy frost was that the mud on the path was frozen for most of the day. The sky was clear early and late with cloud throughout the middle of the day. Although I saw a few images in black and white, most of today’s needed colour. I have selected about 10 for this entry though the day was altogether even more productive. They are presented chronologically. At the end of today’s hike I’ve completed 84 of the 184 miles of the Thames Path - just 100 more to the end … or 200 as I’m hiking in both directions. I’m now aiming to complete the project by 31st December 2015; maybe 16 more days.

Click on any image to see full size views of each image in the day's set of images.
Before Sunrise from Wallingford Bridge
Frosted Grass
Brickwork - Isambard Kingdom Brunel Railway Bridge
Icicle - Isambard Kingdom Brunel Railway Bridge
Goring Weir
Manor House Chimneys - Moulsford Church
Three Poplars and Moon
Cirrus Moon

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Day 13 - 15th December 2014 - Near Dorchester to Wallingford

The excellent and varied sky throughout today's hike was a welcome change from the last couple of days hiking on The Thames Path. I haven't encountered anyone for my last several outings who is 'doing' the path. Indeed I only saw about 4 or 5 people throughout my six hours. On reviewing my photo-files once back at home I realised the sky was in most of my photographs - nor surprising after the grey days of my previous few hikes.
Click on any image to see full size views of each image in the day's set of images.
Spread Con Trail

Almost Sunset

Day's Lock

The Thame meets The Thames

Sunset at Benson Lock

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Day 12 - 29th November 2014 - Culham to Near Dorchester

Another very dull day - not even a momentary shaft of sunlight. Whilst that doesn't help raise the spirits whilst hiking, it certainly helps all situations where flat lighting is positively beneficial for photography. This selection of photographs is less monochrome and more colour.
Click on any image to see full size views of each image in the day's set of images.
Weir at Clifton Lock
Clifton Hampden Bridge - I
Clifton Hampden Bridge - II
Low Railway Bridge - Appleford

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Day 11 - 4th November 2014 - Near Abingdon to Culham

Today's hike started in the chilly autumn morning river mist. It cleared by late morning leaving me to anticipate the (forecast) bright afternoon. Rain arrived less than an hour after the mist cleared defying the confident sunny forecast! So a diversion in to the George & Dragon in Sutton Courtney for lunch was timely. I came across several interesting image making possibilities and was pleased to find when I got the files onto my computer at home that I could make something of a few of them. One or two were where the scene itself did all of the work leaving me with not much to do after having pressed the shutter. A few others required the application of my own creative interpretation - these are always far more more personally satisfying. I took several pictures in the mist but none of them survived critical assessment in Lightroom.
White Hole
Victim of the Storm
Abingdon Weir - I
Cottages - Abingdon
Abingdon Weir - II

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Day 10 - 27th October 2014 - Oxford to Near Abingdon

It surprised me how little of this fine university city is visible from the river. Other then the line of boat sheds for the university rowing teams there's little else to hint that it's Oxford. Perhaps the proliferation of high speed (dangerous) cyclists on part of the path were also a giveaway? It's been a few weeks since I hiked in to Oxford, an excellent trip to Namibia intervened - photographs linked here. Whilst I found a few things to try photographing on this stretch I seem to have only a couple that make it.

Railway Bridge Reflections
White Bridge

Friday, 19 September 2014

Day 9 - 17th September 2014 - Pinkhill Lock to Oxford

Took the train to Oxford for this section, hiking upstream to Pinkhill Lock then back to Oxford. Another warm dry day, grey throughout except for sun just for about three hours early afternoon. There's more activity on the Thames as it widens and enters more populated parts. Oxford marks 54 miles of the path completed - or 108 as I'm hiking both directions.

No, I don't know what it is either!
The Lock at King's Weir
Bridge at Godstow Abbey
Dangerous Heron
Reflection of Swinford Bridge
Under the A34
Bridge at Godstow Abbey - II

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Day 8 - 8th September 2014 - Newbridge to Pinkhill Lock

It's 14 miles to Oxford - or 28 miles hiking as I'm hiking each section in both directions. So, 14 miles was today's quota getting me just beyond Pinkhill Lock before turning back to Newbridge. Day 9 will see me in Oxford. Totally different weather from the last two outings when I didn't see the sun all day. This section was wall to wall sun making some images possible whilst ruling out others. The photograph (third one down below) of the shadow of the weir superstructure on the waters of the weir at Northmoor Lock is an example of an image for which not only is the sun is essential to cast the shadows, but also the particular time of day is important. Any earlier and the bright slots of sunlight would not yet have appeared whilst not too much later and they, along with the railings, would have stretched too far out to the left. My arrival at the right time was pure luck - an essential ingredient in at least some of my work. The second photograph of the weir was taken about 5 hours later when, this time, the sun's low position made the image possible creating the contrast of the bright warm back-lit spewing water with the cool light in the shaded remainder of the image. Whilst the first works well for me in b&w, the second requires its colour.

Under the Newbridge Willows
Disused Boat House
Weir at Northmoor Lock - I
Weir at Northmoor Lock - II

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Day 7 - 5th September 2014 - Chimney Meadow NNR to Newbridge

Another good day hiking but after my previous day this one provided me with a few more images to work on. The day once more was overcast with an even grey sky and almost no breeze. Not much use for landscape vistas with big skies, but ideal for closer more intimate images with the absence of harsh shadows. Butterflies are now almost always shown in full colour so my monochrome Comma harks back to older times when all wildlife photography was in black and white.

I met and hiked for part of the way with Tim and Jean from Olympia on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. They are on a 15 day hike for the whole of the Thames Path. The coincidence is that in May this year I traveled and photographed all round the peninsula, their home territory. My photographs from the trip are linked here on my website.

The Old Bridge at Newbridge
Shifford Lock Footbridge
Cow Parsley
Fungi on Dead Poplar

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Day 6 - 27th August 2014 - Radcot to Chimney Meadow NNR

After a break of almost 9 months I’m back hiking The Thames Path. Not hiking in the winter was a consequence of the severe flooding of the Thames - and many other areas in England. But once spring was here and the river banks had dried out I was distracted by other things. After my first day back it feels almost as if there hasn’t been a break. The stretch I’m on at present isn’t exactly the most inspirational - photographically, or anything else for that matter. It’s mile after mile of wide open fields through which The Thames meanders and whose river banks are overrun by Himalayan Balsam. Add to that the overcast weather made a less than inspiring return. However, I did enjoy the 10 mile hike but struggled to find anything that really grabbed my imagination. Hoping not to draw a blank, I did manage two or three photographs that just about make it.

Thrashing Willows
Rushey Weir
Sycamore Seeds

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Still Rained off ...

I crossed the upper Thames in a number of places by car this morning to see whether there's any prospect of my resuming my hike. No chance ... Whilst the river is now flowing in the main within its banks (but only just) there remains extensive flooding of the riverside meadows making the path, at least in places, impossible to hike. With more rain forecast and little prospect of abatement any time soon this looks like a project on hold for weeks (months?) yet. One day ...

I went within half a mile of the source of the Thames today for the first time since I started in September. Then it was dry, as I believe it usually is. But now it's flowing vigorously right from the source across what is usually a gently sloping grassy meadow.