Sketches in the snow
The snow finally came to the Antrim hills after weeks of promise and disappointment. I understand not everyone greets a snowfall with equal delight and those reading this in the midst of five months of snow in Canada or Austria would be forgiven if they find my excitement rather odd. But we don't see snow that often here in Northern Ireland - the Gulf Stream sees to that. Even though we are so far north temperatures usually remain above freezing in winter and even when they dip below the combination of factors that bring about snow in any quantities are quite rare. So when it comes we have to make the most of it. And there is surely no denying it has a magical effect on the landscape.
I took this photo of an abandoned farm house on the road to the Glens. The only tracks in the road were created by a tractor a short time before I arrived. I drove my car as far as I could dare to where I knew there was a gateway and a place to turn and walked the rest of the way. Fine snow mixed with hail stones was pelting down, stinging the exposed parts of my face. Apart from the wind it was silent.
The sky was a featureless backcloth of driving snow and cloud and against it and the lying snow the bracken, trees and ruined buildings looked as if they had been sketched by a giant artist. The effect is even more dramatic in black and white and transformed the normally unremarkable into objects of beauty. The second photograph brings that out for me. A dead bush, its branches in tatters. Normally I wouldn't have given it a second look. But the snow together with the dark moss that covers so much of the tree bark made it stand out from the rest.
The final shot is one I have wanted to do for a long time. It is a cliche - footprints in the snow - but for all that it was fun to do. I took it using a single tree on Gallows Hill having slip slided my way to the top earlier in the day to catch the sunrise (more in the next post).
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