Sunday, 28 January 2018

Thieves Wood (November 2017)

The best autumn colours for 2017 started early  in November and these are a slection from the wonderfully named Thieves Wood, part of the wider Sherwood Forest.

I was a bit late arriving in the wood (not quite adjusted to the winter clock change)so  most of the sunlight was high in the trees:

Thursday, 25 January 2018

End of Summer Time on Stanage Edge (October 2017)

The clocks moved back signalling the end of British Summer Time for another year and the climbers, walkers, and of course photographers, were making the most of the bright conditions on Stanage Edge.

It was actually hard to avoid people in the images but planting the tripod in one place and waiting for the scene to clear seemed the best strategy. Even then, an unexpected climber's head would often appear in shot as he/she reached the top of the Edge!

The shortened afternoon was curtailed even earlier when the sun dropped behind cloud on the horizon. With no direct light I decided to improvise by capturing the afterglow in one of the many pools along the Edge:

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Clipstone Forest (October 2017)

If autumn colour was in short supply in Sherwood Forest, I found some in Clipstone Forest a couple of days later. In particular, I noticed that a few of the oaks trees had started changing colour and the best shot came with a bit of late afternoon sunlight:

These are some of the other oak tree images taken on the day. At the time I assumed they were all pictures of the common oak. On review though, I am not totally sure. The leaves do have the classic lobes associated with oaks but some seem larger and more pointed. Looking at tree identification books I am wondering whether some the subjects are different oak species, e.g. the red oak, although I can't tell for certain. This might explain why there was oak colour in Clipstone Forest that was absent in Sherwood Forest.

As soon as I had written the above paragraph I was reminded of tree I photographed in Sherwood Forest at the beginning of October. It had some very vibrant colours which stood out from the surrounding trees due to its early colour change. By zooming in I can see some similarities in the leaf shape between this tree and the ones in Clipstone Forest. At the time, I thought this was a type of maple but now I wonder whether it is a red oak:

I will probably end up being totally wrong with my amateur identification but either way the blog is about the photography rather than dendrology (...and yes, I had to look that up as well!).

Back to the photography and possibly may favourite shot of the day. No autumn colours in this moody almost monochrome image:

Last but not least, a boggy pool near to Strawberry Hill Heath and two shots of young trees growing at the edge of one of the pine tree plantations:

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Sherwood Revisited (October 2017)

With autumn colours lacking in my Southwell Trail images and many grey weather days during October, I decided to re-try my luck in Sherwood Forest.

It had been just over two weeks since my last visit and whilst there were some signs of autumn progressing there was not the rustic colours I had hoped for. In addition, it was another grey October day but that was not necessarily bad for the photography.

Photographing in strong sunlight in the forest can constrain the compositions as the light tends to dominate, often becoming the subject. The exposures can also be hard to control. Flat light on the other hand opens up the forest for compositions based on tree shapes and more subtle differences in tone. The trade off for this compositional freedom is a lack of punch or the immediate impact that strong light often provides in a picture.

My favourite photograph from this visit and is a panorama comprising of three overlapping images. I like how the dead tree trunk and branches on the right balance with the large oak setback on the left. The right hand part of the panorama also works as a single image:

I really enjoy the shapes of trees in the forest and single tree portraits have started to be a feature of my woodland photography:

Making connections between trees using the lines of the branches or using the branches to frame parts of the image are compositional techniques that I like to use in woodland scenes as demonstrated in the following two photographs:

With small groups of trees I like to look at shapes of the trunks and how they interact. Pines, for example, tend to form regular rows with the occasional diagonal. Others might have a complimentary shape i.e. one trunk grows with a similar shape to one next to it. Alternatively some trunk shapes are like mirror images of one another:

Finally, the paths in the forest are always make good value for a composition or two:

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Early Autumn, Sherwood Forest (October 2017)

I noticed that the beech leaves close to home had started changing colour and I decided to take a look at how autumn was progressing in Sherwood Forest. There is a patch of beech trees that I particularly enjoy photographing near to Hanger Hill Wood.

When I arrived there was still lots of green except for a couple of branches where the leaves had turned to a vibrant orange. Just that small amount of colour was enough to make some early autumn compositions:

Not far from Hanger Hill Wood is a beech tree plantation which I have photographed a number of times over the years. On this occasion the bright conditions, one of the few blue sky days in October, made it hard to gain a balanced exposure. In the end I decided to use the strong contrast as a feature of the compositions:

On the walk back to the car I took a series of images of the fading sunlight high in the trees. I particularly enjoy this type of shot in autumn as it captures the colours so well. I also like the unusual point of view and the sense of perspective created by the converging lines of the trees trunks: