Fuel Your Inspiration with 6 Breathtaking Winter Photography Shots along the Kennet and Avon
Fuel Your Inspiration with 6 Breathtaking Winter Photography Shots along the Kennet and Avon

Fuel Your Inspiration with 6 Breathtaking Winter Photography Shots along the Kennet and Avon

Stephen Paul Young

I’m still enjoying photographing the very mild Autumn we are having here in the UK. But it’s time to start thinking about the Winter Photography on the Kennet and Avon Canal, one of my favourite short walks. Winter on the Kennet and Avon Canal just down the road at Aldermaston Wharf.

The Wonders of Winter Photography on the Kennet and Avon Canal Walk at Aldermaston Wharf

The Kennet and Avon Canal is a beautiful 87-mile-long waterway that runs through the heart of southern England, connecting the River Thames in Reading to the River Avon in Bath. This canal is known for its beautiful scenery, peaceful atmosphere, and stunning wildlife, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.

As the mild autumn fades away, it’s time to shift our focus to the winter wonders of the Kennet and Avon Canal. One of the best short walks around, this canal offers a mesmerising view during the winter season (some winters I’m looking for winter photography ideas without snow). The snow-laden banks of the canal and the smoke rising from the burners inside the barges and narrowboats create a beautiful contrast that is a treat for photographers and nature lovers alike.

winter photography along the Kennet and Avon Canal by Stephen Paul Young

Winter can be a tough time for many people, with the shorter days and colder weather making it difficult to get out and about for a canal walk. But the Kennet and Avon Canal is an ideal destination for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy a peaceful walk along the waterway. The canal is particularly popular with walkers, cyclists, and dog owners, who come to enjoy the tranquil surroundings and take in the beauty of the winter season.

Barge or Narrowboat ? – Let’s Explore the Difference

Before delving into the captivating images of the Kennet and Avon Canal, let’s take a moment to understand the difference between barges and anarrowboat. While both are canal boats, the width of a narrowboat is typically 6 or 7ft, whereas a barge can be twice that. This difference in size and beam restricts the movement of barges on some specific canals due to the width of the locks.

The narrowboats are a common sight on the Kennet and Avon Canal, and they are used for both residential and recreational purposes. They are often seen moored up at Aldermaston Wharf during the winter season, providing a unique backdrop for photographers and nature lovers for those Winter on the Kennet and Avon images.

The Beauty of Winter – Mesmerising Winter Scenes on the Kennet and Avon Canal

The Kennet and Avon Canal is a photographer’s paradise, and the winter season adds a unique charm to the barges and narrowboats moored up at Aldermaston Wharf. The picturesque view of the snow-laden canal and the smoke rising from the burners inside the boats is a treat for photographers and nature lovers alike.

All the photographs of Winter on the Kennet and Avon on this page were taken during the winter of 2021/22. The photograph below was taken from the bridge that the A340 travels over, although some care is required as it’s a single lane bridge with some heavy traffic use. This particular day was cold, cloudy and some flashes of bright sunlight every now and again. Looking down the Canal, past the houses and local boat yard and beyond, the couple in the picture all wrapped up against the winter chill.

I decided to process this image with a high degree of blacks in the shadows in a bid to emphasis the cold. Does it work?

Winter on the Kennet and Avon Canal

The above image is also selling on my shop, super love this one. I find this image a reminder that winter isn’t all dark and gloomy. The day was cold for sure, but just look at how warm those barges look with smoke rising from the burner inside. Peaceful and serene is how I feel about this one.

The winter season also provides a unique opportunity to capture the beauty of Winter on the Kennet and Avon canal late in the day. The reflection of the boats on the water creates a stunning mirror effect, which is a favorite of many photographers. The low light conditions can be challenging, but with the right camera settings and a steady hand, you can create some truly stunning Winter on the Kennet and Avon Canal images.

Barges in the Winter snow

Another great spot to photograph Winter on the Kennet and Avon is at the Aldermaston Lock, just a short walk from Aldermaston Wharf. Here, you can capture the picturesque lock with the surrounding trees, the still waters of the canal, and the boats that are moored up waiting for the springtime to arrive. I particularly love this spot because it feels like a hidden gem – it’s not as popular as some of the other spots along the canal, so it’s usually quiet and peaceful.

Winter on the Kennet and Avon Canal

During the winter months, the canal takes on a different character. Winter on the Kennet and Avon water is often calm and still, with a glass-like surface that reflects the boats and surrounding landscape. The air is crisp and cold, with a misty fog often rising from the water. It’s a magical time to be out and about, especially if you’re a photographer. The soft light of the winter sun, combined with the reflections on the water, can create some truly stunning Winter on the Kennet and Avon images.

Canal History

One of the things I love about the Kennet and Avon Canal is its history. The canal was built over 200 years ago, and it played a vital role in the transportation of goods from Bristol to London. Today, it’s mostly used for leisure, but there are still many reminders of its industrial past. The canal locks, for example, are a testament to the engineering feats of the time. They are impressive structures that still function perfectly, and they provide great subjects for photography.

In addition to the locks, there are also many interesting boats along the canal that make for great photographic subjects. The narrowboats, in particular, are fascinating. They’re long and slender, with colourful paintwork and intricate details. I enjoy photographing the boats from different angles, capturing the unique designs and textures during the Winter on the Kennet and Avon.

One of the best things about photographing the Winter on the Kennet and Avon is that it’s often much quieter than during the summer months. There are fewer people around, so you can take your time and really explore the area. The quietness also adds to the atmosphere, making it feel even more serene and peaceful.

Visiting Aldermaston Wharf

If you’re planning a visit to the Kennet and Avon Canal in the winter, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, it can get very cold, so be sure to wrap up warm. Secondly, the days are shorter, so you’ll need to plan your photography accordingly. And finally, be aware that some of the paths and bridges may be slippery, so take care when walking around.

The Kennet and Avon Canal at Aldermaston Wharf is a wonderful place to photograph in the winter. With its peaceful waters, historic locks, and colourful boats, it offers endless opportunities for the photographer. So why not wrap up warm, grab your camera, and head out to explore Winter on the Kennet and Avon and this magical waterway?

Winter on the Kennet and Avon Canal

Inspiration for Winter on the Kennet and Avon

All the photographs on this page were taken during the winter of 2021/22. I’ve been going through some of these looking for some inspiration or angle i’ve not yet dreamt up. The photograph above was taken from the bridge that the A340 travels over, although some care is required as it’s a single lane bridge with some heavy traffic use.

This particular day was cold, cloudy and some flashes of bright sunlight every now and again. Looking down the Canal, past the houses and local boat yard and beyond, the couple in the picture all wrapped up against the winter chill. I decided to process this image with a high degree of blacks in the shadows in a bid to emphasis the cold. Does it work?

NOTE: I commonly refer to most of these canal boats as ’Barge’, although i guess technically they are ‘Narrowboats’. The difference being the width. A Narrow boat being typically 6 or 7ft across the width while a Barge can be twice that. Their size and beam mean that you won’t see barges on some specific canals due to the width of the locks – this is because some locks on the waterways are only able to accommodate the width of a narrowboat.

The following Winter on the Kennet and Avon canal images were taken on a morning when snow was in the air, bitterly cold by the water along the towpath. The barges all moored up for the winter remain bright and colourful.

Barges moored up with snow falling

FAQs: Winter Photography Tips

1. How do you photograph winter?

  • Answer: To capture the beauty of winter, focus on the unique elements like snow, frost, and icicles. Experiment with different lighting conditions, such as the soft glow of sunrise or sunset. Dress warmly and protect your camera from the cold. Incorporate winter activities and landscapes to add depth and interest to your photographs.

2. What camera settings are best for winter photography?

  • Answer: Optimize your camera settings for winter by adjusting the white balance to counteract the cool tones of snow. Use a fast shutter speed to capture falling snowflakes sharply. Consider shooting in RAW for greater post-processing flexibility. Pay attention to exposure compensation, as snow can trick the camera’s metering. Lastly, ensure your battery is fully charged as cold temperatures can drain it faster.

3. What is the best lens for winter photography?

  • Answer: A versatile lens, such as a wide-angle or standard zoom lens, is ideal for capturing the expansive winter landscapes. If focusing on details like frost patterns or snowflakes, a macro lens can provide stunning close-ups. Additionally, consider a lens with weather sealing to protect against the cold and potential moisture.

4. What is too cold for photography?

  • Answer: Most cameras can handle cold temperatures, but extreme cold can affect battery life and LCD screens. Generally, it’s recommended to avoid shooting below -10°C (14°F) for extended periods. If you plan to photograph in extremely cold conditions, use weather-sealed equipment and keep spare batteries warm. Ensure your safety and well-being, and be cautious of any adverse weather conditions that may pose a risk.
Fuel Your Inspiration with 6 Breathtaking Winter Photography Shots along the Kennet and Avon

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