Druid Spring

Tower Hill

Easter weekend has been long and busy for me and I’m only now beginning to catch up. Thursday was the start of Spring, marked this year with biting northerly winds, threats of snow and some bouts of cold driving rain.

The Order of Druids were lucky that the rain held off until the end of their Spring Equinox celebration at Tower Hill, but their long file back to their starting place was through the rain.

Through the subway

As always when photographing in rain, it was hard to avoid the odd drop on the front of the lens, giving some diffusion – as you can see in a couple of areas of this picture. With a wide-angle lens, you can’t use a lens hood that will effectively protect against rain, and when the wind is sweeping the rain fairly close to horizontal umbrellas are tricky to hold and rather ineffectual. Working without an assistant they get rather in the way in any case.

Like most photojournalists in similar conditions I work with a microfibre cloth or chamois leather, wiping the front of the lens at frequent intervals and keeping the cloth balled in front of the lens with my hand in front of it when not taking pictures. But there is still the second or so when you actually frame the image for the rain to descend.

At such times I always think of the Martin Parr book, Bad Weather, in which he sought out the effects of water drops on the lens, flash bounce from rain and snow and more, often working with an underwater camera for the purpose. Interesting though the pictures are, I think few editors would have the vision to see it in his way. But perhaps the main thing that makes the pictures I took of the Spring Equinox this year differ from those I made last year is the weather. There is after all something timeless about the Druids, whose origins stretch back into the deepest ancient history even if the particular order I was photographing was only inaugurated for the Autumn Equinox at Primrose Hill in 1717!

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