The Call of the Winter - Jay Birmingham

The Call of the Winter

As I mentioned earlier in the month, I have been determined to try my hand at snow photography, and the meteorological conditions have certainly made that possible over the last week! Last weekend, the snow was rather heavy around the Tamworth area, and, being unable to drive to the Peak District in those conditions, I had to think more locally. Tamworth is an area that is sometimes criticised for not being scenic, but it does have pockets of beauty, and often the juxtaposition of buildings and countryside makes for interesting photographs. The snow amplifies that, and it has been a good change to view familiar landscapes covered in snow.


Many people have markers of when they are near home, when making long car journeys, and I know the ‘M42 tree’ can serve that purpose for those living in the West Midlands. As you may have noticed from my gallery, this is my favourite tree, and I have been trying to capture it in a variety of weather conditions. When it snowed, I knew I would have to make the trip to see it (although nothing is ever easy, so the journey to the tree was more labour intensive that it is usually!). It was tricky getting the shots, as the snow didn’t stop that day, so I had to clean the lens after each capture. However, I was pleased with the result, as the starkness of the tree contrasts with the bleak landscape, and the tree is the focal point of the image.

Most of the local snow had melted towards the end of the week, and road conditions were much safer for the non winter-tyre/four wheel drive people, so my wife and I headed up to Buxton on Friday night, where snow was forecast. For some time, we have had a location in mind, but the conditions haven’t been ‘just right’, and we knew it would be a long walk beforehand. Although the forecast wasn’t perfect, if you don’t try, you don’t get, so we awoke bright and early and de-iced the car on Saturday. We left the car in a nearby village, and began the walk out to climb Chrome Hill. The walk was made slightly more exciting by the GPS failing, so having to use headtorch and map, and a few slips on the icy terrain. However, we made it to our location in time and we were not disappointed! We see lots of sunrises (and, indeed, lots of ‘failed sunrises’), but this one was special. The entire sky coloured a fiery red, and we could see the precipitation on the horizon, that gave the whole scene a dramatic twist. This was indeed one of nature’s grand shows. Parkhouse Hill is rather aesthetically pleasing, and so the sunrise and flecks of snow gave it a good backdrop.

We were extremely fortunate with the sunrise, as a short time later, snow and hill fog descended upon us. I managed to take some pictures of Crome Hill disappearing into the fog before the landscape disappeared and signalled that it was time to depart.

As I was driving back, I noticed a small group of trees disappearing into the mist. They looked so isolated in the bright fields. It was worth it (even if there was the risk of the car becoming stuck in the deep snow at the side of the road!)

I’m not sure how long the snow will last in these parts, and it definitely doesn’t look like a White Christmas. However, I have been pleased with the snow shots so far, and hopefully we are not done for the season!


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