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Summer time and the livin' is easy......

...... especially when the sun is shining and I have a few hours to escape with my camera. We headed to Dartmoor for a walk by the River Dart, eager to be somewhere quiet and shady after the heat and busyness of the beach yesterday. We started with a stroll through the trees, and I spent a while looking for patches of sunlight dancing on the tree trunks to capture an atmospheric woodland ICM image.

I was excited by the prospect of photographing the river in the summer sun with the ancient oak trees in full leaf. But as we followed the path under the bridge I noticed the level of the river, so much lower than usual. And instead of the rushing and splashing of the water over the rocks, there was a gentle flow, lazily bubbling along. The prolonged dry weather since January is clearly having an impact. The driest spell since 1976. I remember that summer well. Newly married, in the early stages of pregnancy, learning to drive, listening to Queen, Elton John and Wings. Then we were concerned about the high temperatures and the lack of water, but it was just thought to be an unusual weather pattern that summer.

Now we know so much more about the climate changes being triggered by human behaviour, and the dangers we face if we do not all take concerted action. And sitting by the side of this beautiful river, that flows for 75km from the moor to the sea at Dartmouth, I think of all the wildlife and ecology that it has supported for generations, and I worry for its future.

I notice that already there are a few yellow and orange leaves in the water, a sign that the trees are starting to shed their leaves early because of the shortage of water. I decide to focus on these and use ICM to capture the movement and sparkle of the water. I soon lose myself in the flow, using a long lens to seek out the tiny splashes of colour on the rocks, and using a gentle movement of the camera to follow the water as it tumbled past me. A relaxing and thought-provoking afternoon.

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