Welcome to my blog. I'm relying on the old adage 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. So not too much text, but hopefully some interesting photos to tell the story. Cheers
The short film I made for the Angling Trust on conserving and promoting crucian carp went live today here https://youtu.be/XAWOzJ6SF-0. The video was the idea of Martin Salter, Angling Trust National Campaigns Coordinator. A news release http://www.anglingtrust.net/news.asp?section=29§ionTitle=Angling+Trust+News&itemid=2630 gives details on the film and great work the partnership of the Angling Trust, Environment Agency and the National Crucian Conservation Project is carrying out to raise the profile of this beautiful, enigmatic fish.
I've known Martin for years. I first met him when I was a Fisheries and Ecology Manager with the Environment Agency. At that time, I was responsible for producing and implementing the Kennet Catchment Management Plan on behalf of the EA. Martin was the MP for Reading West and he was incredibly supportive of our work. Fantastic that he's able to bring all his experience and passion for angling and fisheries to his role in the Angling Trust.
I'm getting more and more requests to make short documentary type videos for organisations working in the environment. In the last few months I've completed films supporting the Environment Agency's bid to win the UK Rivers Prize https://youtu.be/VdYSo4ntZ48 and others with the Wild Trout Trust teaching volunteers to improve habitat in urban https://youtu.be/0A5q6g8J-VQ and rural https://youtu.be/uruNMaq5mdM rivers.
Get back to me using the comments box above if you'd like to talk to Clearwater Photography about making a video to support your business or environmental project. Or call me direct on 07743 390919.
When I worked for the Environment Agency, one of the last projects I managed was the installation of two new flow gauges on the upper reaches of the River Loddon near Basingstoke, Hampshire. The river starts life as a chalk stream fed by springs. Just downstream of Basingstoke, a major sewage treatment works discharges into one of the two channels of the river. The absence of gauges meant we didn't know how much river water was diluting the sewage effluent and couldn't accurately assess the influence of flow on the river's ecology and water quality. Information essential when making decisions on future housing development in the area.
We gained support for the project from local anglers, Maria Miller MP, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. My colleague, Mark Barnett, took over the project after I left in 2014. I was delighted when Mark invited me to an event last week to mark the commencement of gauging. Basingstoke and Deane funded the £50k cost of the equipment, the Environment Agency will pay for data services and maintenance.
The River Loddon at Old Basing, site of the new gauges.
Sam Everitt, Environment Agency Hydrometry Officer, explains to local MP Maria Miller how the new equipment measures river flows.
This remote controlled ARC boat uses ultrasound pulses to collect real time data on river flow for the EA. Able to operate in a wide range of conditions, it can provide important information during floods.
Maria Miller watches hydrometry officer Jez Hill put the ARC boat through its paces in the Loddon.
Smiles all round with the new gauges in place and already monitoring flows in this beautiful, but fragile, chalkstream.
Alan Gibberd (Gresham Flyfishers). Sam Everitt, Maria Miller MP, Cllr Hayley Eachus, Amanda Ingham (Hampshire IoW Wildlife Trust)
I was invited by Thames Water to be one of the two host photographers covering the visit by Prince Charles to the historic Abbey Mills Pumping Station in East London to celebrate the 150yr anniversary of London’s main sewerage system. The system was the brainchild of Sir Joseph Bazalgette and prompted by the infamous ‘Great Stink’ of 1858.
Whilst on site Prince Charles went down a 75m shaft to view the Lee Tunnel – 6.9km long and 7.2m wide – a major engineering scheme to prevent more than 16 million tonnes of sewage mixing with rainwater and overflowing into the River Lee.
My job was to photograph him above ground in the pumping station where he met operational staff and the many craftsmen and restoration specialists who’d been working on the anniversary project.
Prince Charles accompanied by Martin Baggs, CEO Thames Water, walks to the Abbey Mills Pumping Station, once dubbed 'Cathedral of Sewage'
Once inside, HRH was given a guided tour around the historic building by Thames Water staff
An example of the ornate ironwork that marks this out as a remarkable example of Victorian industrial architecture.
Chatting to Thames Water apprentices with one of the main pumps in the background.
Saskia Huning, a specialist in restoring and recreating historic painted decoration.
A drainage map demonstrates the complexity of the sewage network controlled by the Abbey Mills control centre.
Prince Charles is President of WaterAid. The international charity held a reception on site to promote its Big History Project asking the public for help in telling the story of water and sanitation in the UK. Yours truly was on hand to snap the prince meeting VIPs and guests before unveiling a stone plaque to commemorate his visit.
Dave Hillyard and Rosemary Carr of WaterAid
I met Matthew Wright at the Wild Trout Trust's annual conservation awards held at a posh Mayfair club. I'd been hired to photograph the awards ceremony. He was one of the guests and I'd asked him to pose for a photograph with members of the winning Eastridge Estate team on the River Kennet. He was happy to assist and I grabbed this shot http://www.clearwaterphotography.co.uk/wtt2014/e133c6e58.
Matthew told me he hadn't fished the Kennet much, so I suggested a trip after winter grayling on the upper river. He was up for it! We managed to find a slot in his manically busy diary, but he wasn't able to get to Hungerford before lunchtime. A late start's not ideal on those dark, dank days at this time of year. Undeterred, we met just outside the town, grabbed a quick sandwich and made our way to the river. The good news was that I'd heard from ARK (Action for the River Kennet) riverfly monitors that aquatic insects were recovering well after the serious pesticide pollution in 2013 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-23177777. The bad news was the high groundwater levels meant the headwater springs had broken and this, combined with heavy rain, meant sighting fish to cast to was almost impossible.
The upper Kennet - classic chalkstream
Rob, the keeper, said we might be lucky to get a short hatch of olives if the sun came out. In the event, we saw very few rising fish. This didn't stop Matthew persevering with a dry fly, using his experience on other chalkstreams to seek out likely grayling holding areas in the fading light. I wasn't so optimistic (determined!), so I followed Keith Johnson's advice and stuck to a tungsten headed nymph, fished in the deeper glides.
OK, so it's not in focus. Don't try macro shots when you're shivering!
A lovely Kennet grayling of about one pound. Returned to fight another day.
We fished until darkness. It had been hard work. Matthew ended up with a grayling and brownie, a solitary grayling for me. The lack of fish was made up by Matthew's company. This bloke is a fanatical and knowledgeable all-round angler with some great stories about his fishing trips around the world. We adjourned to a local pub to warm up in front of a blazing fire and plan a future visit when the dice might be stacked more in our favour.
Matthew tells his new best friend about the one that got away.
Well, it sounded a great idea at the time. When one of my old friends invited me to photograph the small shoot he helps to run in the Cotswolds, I jumped at the opportunity. Although I haven't used a shotgun for many years, I've always loved watching gundogs working. But when the day arrived it was absolutely pouring with rain as I loaded my camera gear and it continued to pour for the next hour until I pulled up at the farm. Then it stopped - just as my mate predicted! Things were beginning to look up.
Start of the day. This springer looks apprehensive.
After the rain cleared we had some dramatic skies and glorious landscapes looking across the fields of stubble.
The dogs had to retrieve birds from both land and river.
Someone's looking tired already.
It was a long carry, but the bird is delivered direct to hand.
The dogs not only work with the guns themselves. Let's not forget the beaters and the pickers up.
The end of a successful day. Did somebody mention 'pub'?
You see - no need to have worried. You did great!