A Snapshot of Winter Photo essay
Photographer Graham Gough describes the challenges of taking photos at this time of year.
AFTER the cold spell in February and March of this year, I thought I would look back to some of the winters I have photographed in the past, and some of the problems I encountered.
The British weather always makes the news, and it gives photographers the chance to illustrate our changeable climate. Perhaps winter is the more versatile of the seasons, with storms, floods and snow, but it can be beautiful and fun as well as dramatic.
For this picture essay, I’ve chosen images I think capture winter in all her moods.
For the record, 1956 was a snowy winter with a very cold February; 1958 was a mixed bag of snow, hail and floods, and 1963 was a severe winter. It was the coldest of the 20th century, starting at Christmas 1962 and lasting until early March.
Jumping to 1979, winter that year was the coldest since 1963 and also had one of the coldest springs of the century.
The lowest night temperature recorded in England was in 1982: -26.1˚C at Newport in Shropshire.
The year 1990 brought very high winds with large-scale flooding, and 1991 was a freezing cold winter with snow and ice.
Again in 2000, it was a very wet winter with severe flooding, and 2010 was the coldest winter since 1979 with harsh frosts.
The “Beast From The East” came in 2017/18 but it broke no records. In fact, it was relatively mild. But it did bring snow and storms to the far south-west, where snow is a rarity.
A boy looks across the flooding River Tame as riders pass by in the Sandwell Valley, West Bromwich, during the winter of 1958.
There’s trouble in the snow for these cars stuck on a steep hill in Kates Hill, Dudley, during the recordbreaking winter of 1963.
This schoolboy gets a snowball full in the face in January 1956. Capturing the precise moment when the snowball hit the boy’s nose was not the easiest of tasks, particularly given the equipment of the day. The picture was taken on a 5x4 glass-plate VN Press Camera, and after each shot you had to change the plate on the back of the camera. If you were quick it would take about 30 seconds; there was no multiple image-taking then!
A man and his wheelbarrow in the courtyard of Dudley Castle, Worcestershire, makes a dramatic shot on a cold January day in 1958.