Thursday, 9 February 2012

Frost and sunsets

The weather is now very cold, with a sprinkling of snow over the weekend. People have been stocking up their bird feeders and bulk buying bread and milk to fill their freezers. The pale grey, featureless clouds reflect the weak winter sunlight in an odd way, making the day seem brighter than it is, playing havoc with auto-exposure settings on the camera!
Never the less I have been continuing my attempt to capture the effects of weather and season, focusing on a row of ancient Oaks which stand along a field boundary near my home. From the best vantage point, I face south and west, a direction that should reveal scudding clouds and looming weather fronts, the full majesty of golden sunsets, and a blue shadowy background of rolling downs. Cows occupy the field over winter months, their breath fogging in the cold air, feet churning sodden ground to thick mud. The early morning sun glints off their backs and the frost which lines the rim of the feeders. As the months warm, the cattle will be moved on to greener pastures, the field will be ploughed and cultivated and rows of green shoots coaxed from the soil. The green haze of spring soon develops into maturing plants, which by summer form dense blocks of maze, growing taller than my head hight, to be harvested come September and stored as feed for the next winter's cattle. A strip along the field edge, between the cultivated land and the woodland which lies behind me, is fenced off and left fallow. In summer it is a wildlife haven of grasses, dock, wild-flowers, and a multitude of buzzing and flying insects. Some years the whole field is left fallow, the tall grasses feeding the caterpillars of Meadow Brown and Gate-Keeper butterflies, purple flowering vetch twining its tendrils around grass stems, and white daisy-like Mayweed flowers dancing in every breath of breeze.
For now however the field is still in it's winter stage; brown mud, brown cows and grey clouds, mornings of diamond frost and evenings of fiery sky.

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