Pays de la Roubine, du Rabet et de la Nielle

Late in the afternoon on the day after the clock’s changed in March 2018, I went for a walk in the pale Spring sunshine. It had been raining for a while so as I walked I could smell the earth and the grass not just beneath my feet but all around me. I could hear birds singing as well as the tinkling of small streams of rainwater running through the grass and on down to the river below. A moment came when I was stopped in my tracks at the sight of an almond tree whose pink flowers in the light of the weak setting sun, shone like small jewels against the grey-blue sky behind. It took my breath away. The scene encapsulated for me all the things I feel when I am out in the wilds of the Corbières: the wind, rapid weather changes, the smells of plants and soil, the noises of unseen animals and birds, the scent of flowers (Oh! the honeysuckle and broom in late May!)

But as well as taking in the beauty of this natural scene before me. I was also struck by the realisation that this ‘assault on all the senses’ was something I had so often experienced in the natural landscape of the Corbières over the nigh-on half century I have been living there. While I took photographs of the almond tree (it felt as though I was capturing it to take home, to preserve and to treasure) I was aware of my disappointment that my camera (a Canon EOS 7D) could not record the scene exactly as I was experiencing it. So just how was I going to truly record what I experienced through my senses in front of the almond tree? So, over the next three months I was inspired by my experience on that March Sunday afternoon, to take my camera out with me on drives and walks and attempt to capture in photographs my sense of the Corbières.

This gallery of photographs is the result. Its title comes from the names of three of the rivers and streams that flow through and form the landscape and without which the birds, animals and humans would not have the lives they have. It is the precious water along with the abundant sunshine that creates the conditions for the life I capture in these photographs.