Friday, April 13, 2012

Drought and fickle nature

click photo to enlarge
A casual observer might wonder how parts of the UK could be in a state of drought and suffering from such a shortage of water that the use of hose-pipes has been banned. After all, haven't these offshore islands been famous for millennia for their clouds, all-enveloping mists, regular rainfall and verdant pastures? But, much of eastern and south-eastern England is in that situation after two years when rainfall has been significantly less than usual. The fact is, of course, that the prevailing south-westerly winds bring water-laden air off the Atlantic which then falls as rain mainly on the west side of Britain and on the adjacent hills and mountains. By the time the rain does get to the east side of the island precipitation is often much reduced or non-existent. The natural dryness of the east is not helped by the fact that it is flatter and water storage in the form of lakes and reservoirs is much less practical than farther west.

However, sometimes nature is fickle and there are times when it seems to be having a laugh at man's expense. The very day the hose-pipe ban came into force it rained, and it has rained on most days since. It isn't enough to compensate for the many months of dryness, nor will it significantly impact on ground-water levels, but as gardeners we have been pleased to see it, and as a photographer I've welcomed the fine, cloudy skies that accompany the associated changeable weather. On a Fenland walk I framed a few landscape compositions that wouldn't have worked without the towering clouds drifting by overhead. Today's photograph shows a Georgian farmhouse that I've photographed before in winter. On this early spring day it looked quite different with leaves starting to appear on the trees that surround the building, onion shoots in the nearby field, winter wheat thriving beyond, and those billowing, mountainous clouds and blue skies above.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 82mm
 F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/800 sec
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On