Headlights on a wet morning; in Upper Godney, southeast of Wedmore; 14 Sept 2015.

I was down on the Somerset Levels again yesterday, early on a dark and wet morning.  Rain poured from leaden skies and there were large amounts of surface water on the back lanes .  Needing a warming restorative, I pulled the car off onto a rough track below the little bridge over the River Sheppey, next to Garslade Farm in Upper Godney.

Luck was with me on two counts.  First, I reversed onto the track so that, once stopped, I was left facing up the lane that carries on westwards to Godney and beyond.  And, second, I chose to reach for the camera, and to have it ready to go at a high ISO – before groping passionately for the hot, sweet coffee and thick cut, bitter marmalade on wholemeal sandwiches in the other bag.

The rain poured down, sluicing over the windscreen, and all at once there was a momentary gleam of light through the trees – a vehicle was coming down the lane towards me.  In panic, the mug of scalding coffee was precariously balanced, with prayers that it wouldn’t either fog up the windscreen or then again saturate my lap (I do suffer for my art on occasion).  I grabbed the camera.

It was hard to see much at all, but I spun the zoom ring to roughly frame the road out in front of me, roughly focused manually because even the D700’s autofocus wasn’t going to work in that streaming murk – and trusted to Matrix (i.e. multi-segment) metering because there simply wasn’t time for anything more considered or precise.

The car came around the bend and all was blur and glare.  I fired at it three times as it passed.

And here is the result – which is probably best viewed at larger size, in a separate window, by clicking onto it.

What can be seen?  Well, obviously, the blown out headlights, and their many reflections across my streaming windscreen.  The lane’s grey tarmac surface occupies the foreground, and a large puddle on the road shows as a slightly darker area in the left foreground, while the end of the puddle has caught the lights’ glare a little further to the right, below the car’s lights.

To the left of the headlights is the faint green tinge of the road’s rough grassy verge.  While in the background are the dark trees lining the little river, with the lightening sky showing through their upper branches.

And my feelings about this?  Well, I like the picture because it is unusual – which covers a multitude of sins! 🙂  – and because it reminds me powerfully of the moment.  And I very certainly enjoyed that moment – being there, in those dark and drear conditions, was certainly very, very real, and valuable too.  A feeling of Life In The Raw?  Well, perhaps, but remember that I was inside a car – maybe I’d have felt different  (and wetter, and colder!) had I been on foot …

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 170mm; 6400 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. Malin Ellisdotter H says:

    You really know how to tell a story and it’s always interesting to read about your adventures, my friend. I haven’t heard your voice but I can imagine that you are a very good story teller. And the outcome of the story (the image) is amazing. Great work, Adrian!


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Malin, thank you for these good words! I enjoy recounting the events that occurred around an image’s capture, I think it adds to the image’s “worth”. Telling stories, well I don’t know how I sound – but I did do 8 years of university lecturing in another life and have also given many presentations, so all that might help. Hope you’re fine, my friend. Adrian 🙂


  2. krikitarts says:

    Your instincts served you well here, once again, and your successful coffee balancing paid off, too, so that you exercise your passion in the lap of luxury.


  3. Meanderer says:

    An early morning phantom.

    Loved the description of the moment.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Glad it hits you, thank you! And there was another moment of magic – as I reversed very carefully onto the track, a Robin came and perched on a fence post right outside my open driver’s window and we gazed at each other in great (and quite wet) surprise – I reached very carefully for the camera but he was off, tho I continued to hear him around and about until I left the place.


  4. paula graham says:

    Well..I tell you what I feel about your photo…I LOVE it, every which way ❤


  5. Sallyann says:

    Rather a ghost-like picture. Or is that Gandalf the white I see in the distance.
    … You definitely shall not pass. 🙂


  6. I was going to say ‘enough with the rain!’ but I think it came in very handy here. Ghost-like. Love it. ATP


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