Seek and thou shall find

Over the summer months when inspiration is low, I like to spend some time on google maps and google earth searching for less popular locations. What this does is, it allows me to build up a log and correspond to that with the weather forecasts and then choose which is the best place to visit.

Birches at dawn

So this location i have had pinned for a few months, and with some online research and a touch of local knowledge i decided it was time to pay a visit.

Online there is not many photographs of this location but from the few that where i thought it may be worth it.

What i didn’t expect was the sheer numbers of silver birch trees scattered about, which where amazing in the morning light as the light caught their leaves.

After a morning spent shooting this lovely location it was breakfast time. I love a good breakfast and i headed to the cafe Siabod on the A5, where i met Nick Livesey and a few mates for breakfast.

After breakfast we decided to head to a river and walk the up the edge of it to see if we could find anything new. A few snippets but i was really interested in the foliage in the fiver.

The past day it had rained a lot so the rivers where quite full and i took advantage of that. I could see swirling motions on the surface from the foam that had formed. “Foam is a natural phenomenon that occurs on many lakes and streams. Foam is produced when molecules such as fatty acids act as ‘surfactants’ interfering with the surface tension of water and allowing air and water to mix more easily. These molecules often float on the surface of the water as a thin film. “

The motion of the foam is what caught my eye at first, then the colours. To take this image it took a few goes as i broke down the scene to try and create the effect i wanted.

So my point is, if you dont challenge yourself you wont learn or progress by visiting the same spots with the same compositions.

To improve we must move forward, get away from the well shot locations. Venture out into the unknown and create not replicate .

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Thursday the 25th of July was one of the hottest days on UK record, given that and the convection forecast put out by it meant that there was a very good chance of some thunder storms.

Convective map forecast.
Information on forecast

The Chase

After work i rushed home to gather my equipment and family who also like chasing storms. I had been tracking a small cell in south Wales and it was moving north at quite some speed.

Kenealy Kids ready to rock

As it got towards Wrexham it had already out out some bolts of lightning and was growing in size. Lucky enough its path was quite easy to see so i headed north towards Southport thinking it will stay close to the coast. As we drove up the M57 we could see the dark clouds apearing in the mirrors of the car. I was getting excited as Jennifer kept checking the radar and showing me updated images of lightning happening over Liverpool with reports of ice cube sized hail stones.

Just before we got to Southport my good friend Dominic called and said it was heading slightly east, so we changed direction and headed towards Ormskirk where there are flat fields with good lines of sight.

Heavy rains and winds battered the car as the cell moved closer, worried i was in the position and too far into the cell I drove back west a few miles. Satisfied I was in a good location I pulled into a layby and waited for an opportunity to get the equipment in the field.

It was time to get ready as the shower had passed so there i was getting my equipment ready in the boot of the car when a bolt of lightning grounded approximately 50 meters away. The sound was like nothing iv’e ever heard, it crackled in the air around me and shook my body. In a split second i was back in the car, the was open, my camera gear was getting wet, kids screaming because of the sound and Jennifer laughing at me cause i was shaking.

A few moments later i had to go back out and gather my equipment and dry it off as another shower moved in.

After that shower had passed i felt like i was in great spot on the edge of the cell as it was sunny behind us and very dark and moody. Storm clouds are my favorite types of clouds as they are so dramatic looking and can really help engage the viewer and make them feel what i was feeling at the time.