…and not a drop to drink!

The UK is currently in the grip of a drought, and some 20 million households across the country are subject to hosepipe bans in an attempt to conserve dwindling water supplies.  Some experts are forecasting that it could be the end of the year before the drought is considered over.

There are various definitions of drought, based on rainfall, the water volume in our rivers, or simply whether we have sufficient supplies to water our farmland.  One definition refers to a period of at least 15 consecutive days on none of which is there more than 0.2 mm of rainfall.  Clearly we are not in the grip of this particular type!

It began raining a week ago, and we have had significant rainfall every day since, with the result that at the same time as there are hosepipe bans, we now also have flood warnings across much of the UK.

It’s a strange world that we live in.  In our corner of the country we may not have the most gentle of climates but at least in Kielder Water we have a more than adequate water supply, so I don’t expect we’ll suffer the “dustbowl” conditions that the more imaginative newspapers were predicting elsewhere in the country.

The rain does affect me as a photographer, apart from the obvious need to protect my equipment it governs the numbers and type of people who can be found out and about, and for those who can be found abroad, it clearly influences their fashion choices.  On the other hand it can produce dramatic waterfalls, and shimmering wet rocks so it has its positives too.

On the beach I love it when the receding tide leaves wet, reflective sand, but couple this with rain and you have a mirror like surface which can help to create a simple but beautiful image.  The great Austrian photographer Ernst Haas, one of the stars of the Magnum agency, said

With reflections you become too soon a genius.

I’m not claiming that status, but I love the striations in the reflection caused by the unevenness of surface and water content, and for me the shadowy reflection gives the man and his dog more presence in the otherwise empty space.

I was fortunate to find that space, for in contrast to yesterday the wind had dropped considerably.  No surfers then, but plenty of dog walkers about who were prepared to put up with a little rain.  As I crouched to get the right angle for the shot above, a number of their pets came to greet me, and thankfully most were happy to run on after a quick pat on the head.  The last thing you want when wielding a DSLR is for an over active canine to spray you with a blend of salt, water, and sand, any one of which would be bad news for the Canon.

One of my new found friends was a chocolate labrador, and as I looked up for his owner I spotted a flash of colour amongst the largely flat tones of the wet scene.  Julie’s red had made her a perfect subject for today, and I’m grateful to her that she didn’t adopt the “My hair’s wet” or “I don’t have all my make up on” or “look what I’m wearing” response.  In return I think she makes a good picture.


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