Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The fascination of weirs

click photo to enlarge
Over the years I must have spent many happy hours staring at river water as it pours over a weir. Being raised in the the Yorkshire Dales near the fast-flowing River Ribble exposed me to a number, and I remember, as a child, being fascinated by the way water passed over them, changing from a slowly moving, smooth sheen to an organised, falling turbulence which finally became a turmoil of frothing foam. Like most people, when I see one today, I still stop and look at it.

The weir in today's photograph is small compared with those at, say, Settle or Langcliffe on the upper Ribble. However, size isn't a crucial factor in enjoying a weir, and a diminutive example has the advantage of concentrating your attention on a smaller, ever-changing area. This one is on the River Slea in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, near Cogglesford Mill. The old water-mill is at a point where a navigable part of the river falls into the natural, meandering water-course, and has structures around it - walls, bars, grilles etc - that are no longer used. What caught my eye here was the complementary contrast of the reflected yellow leaves of the overhanging tree with the blue of the sky. I consciously composed the shot with three distinct horizontal bands. However, it wasn't until I got home and had the image in front of me on the computer that I saw the solid, dark lines - one large, and the other smaller - across the bottom of the top of the three sections. What caused them? Then I remebered that there was a bar, wooden I think, fixed across the watercourse a foot or two above the lip of the weir, and the lines are its reflections.

Incidentally, the water above the weir was smooth and quite reflective, but the passage of a few ducks had caused the turbulence that broke up the tree's reflection a few seconds before I took the photograph. For another of my weir images see here.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 154mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/160
ISO: 1250
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On