A Snap­shot of Win­ter Photo es­say

Pho­tog­ra­pher Gra­ham Gough de­scribes the chal­lenges of tak­ing photos at this time of year.

This England - - Contents - Gra­ham Gough

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.

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