Wet wet wet - Padley Gorge

26th Apr 2012

I’ve been staring out of my wet window for what feels like the last two or three weeks. March here in England was the hottest on record with temperatures reaching 23 degrees, but just as I unpacked my trusty shorts from the bottom of the drawer the temperature took a dramatic fall and in just under a week dropped to just 3 degrees, yep you read that right, and parts of the country experienced nearly two feet of snow, luckily I managed to miss that bit, Sheffield got away with just a few inches that disappeared the following day. But then it started raining and it doesn’t feel like it’s stopped since!

You can only do so much editing before you need to get out the house and there are only so many wet dog walks you can go on before you start to get bored. So far this week I’ve already tidied up twice, sorted through piles and piles of books and magazines for a “charity” shop, gone climbing indoors and even built a sliding shelf that pops out under my desk to house my new Wacom tablet. So today I needed to do something different and get out the house, it didn’t matter it was pouring down with heavy rain, after all I’m sponsored by an outdoor clothing company.

Twenty minutes later the family are all heading into the Derbyshire Peak District for a walk and a spot of phototherapy, with all this water around I thought I might as well take advantage of it and go photograph myself a river.

We head to the “surprise view” car park, park, cross the road and head into an old quarry called Lawrencefield where they used to blast stone for making Millwheels. The old Gritstone Millwheels lie abandoned, waiting for a horse and cart that’s never coming to pick them up and deliver them. Almost 100 years have past and the wheels are regressing back to nature. Everyone’s taken a picture like the one I’m about to take. Including me, but hey I like taking photos. The rain steadily beats down on me and it becomes a bit of a game trying not to get my camera too wet. Today I’m packing a tiny Lumix GH1 and a couple of Lenses. The camera zips up neatly inside my waterproof jacket and the spare lens easily fits in my pocket, at times like these there’s a lot to be said for going small, in fact the camera / lens combo is so small it neatly fits under the brim of my baseball cap and stays at least a little dry while I’m working out angles and exposures.

Once I’ve snapped enough Millwheels, Lu and I chase through the wonderful Silver Birch trying to catch up with our wandering dog Buis. Next we head down into Padley Gorge, we hear the river before we can see it, all the rain over the last couple of weeks is washing down off the hills.

The river when we finally get down to it is a ferocious mixture of brown and white. The brown is from the peat in the water, the white from the frothing movement. I shoot a few frames off and decide I best make use of the lightweight Gitzo Carbon monopod I’ve been lugging around for the last hour. We walk up the Gorge, hopping from rock to rock when we can and staying as close to the river as possible, stopping now and again to look through the viewfinder. I crouch down so my eye-line is only a foot or so above the swirling water, focus on a black, stationary rock (nice contrast against the colourful and moving water) compose and fire the shutter off at 1/5s, nice movement. Finally we pop out the top of the Gorge and into an open field, we’ve all been engrossed doing our respective things for what seems like ages, Buis playing with sticks in the water, Lucy taking and editing photos on her Iphone.

Its still raining and there’s not much of photographic interest about so we head back to the van making sure we take the long way round past the sheep with new born lambs, Buis hasn’t had her breakfast yet and dogs and Lambs don’t really mix.