No. 28/32 #Project 32 - A touch of frost

Again it was another early morning trip to Ashridge, I'd been hoping for some mist but instead was met with a bitingly clean frost. I wanted to try and find a more intimate shot which highlighted the texture and crispness of the morning frost.

I actually explored a new area of the woods this time and as I walked through the path un-disturbed by the real world (mine had been the only car in the car park) I was shadowed on either side by a legion of squirrels and birds watching my every step. Ahead I spotted around 8 small deer and even though I stopped dead in my tracks they'd clearly heard me coming and scattered away into the undergrowth. I found an area of fallen trees that were heavily 'bitten' by the morning frost and tried to find a pleasing composition.

I played around with various angles and used different apertures to get a varied depth of field. At first I wanted to get the whole image in focus by using a small aperture, however due to my extreme proximity to the subject I was only getting around 75% of the shot in full focus, not wanting to get into image stacking and stitching I decided to go in the other direction. Using my widest aperture of f3.5 I tried to isolate the frosty leaf into focus and leave the foreground and background to disappear away, leaving focus on the leaf. There was a little chink of light just on that part of the branch which helped isolate the leaf further.

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No. 27/32 #Project 32 - Ashridge Panorama

Ever since my first trip to Ashridge this image had been in the back of my head. I knew that the woodland would look great in the mist, and with the autumnal colours and the trees stripped bare it would all come together nicely.

Being sort of on my way to work I've made 3 or 4 visits here since September in the early hours of the morning, during these trips I'd narrowed down the exact place I thought the panorama would work best in. On this occasion I really was pushed for time and so the pre-planning I'd already done in my head kicked in and made the image possible. I'd been scoping the weather forecasts and I knew there was a pretty good chance of mist on this Saturday morning. I arrived and was encouraged by the first signs of a mist sitting in the woodland. After a high paced walk to the exact spot I'd planned it was a military operation of tripod up, camera out, checking the horizon was balanced and shooting away. I'd already dialled in the camera settings the night before knowing this would save me 30 seconds in the morning.

Click image for a larger view

The final image as you see it is 12 shots stitched together left to right, it's quite difficult to appreciate a panorama like this in full without seeing a large print of it, perhaps I'll bite the bullet and get that ordered for the house before long...

Click here to see the full #Project 32 series

No. 18/32 #Project 32

No. 18/32 Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

No. 18/32 Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

Another early start and I found myself alone in the woods at Ashridge. It's a large area of woodland in Hertfordshire and even in more sociable hours you can find plenty of quiet spots for a nice peaceful walk. I arrived at around 6.45am (15 mins before sunset) - I'd really been hoping for some early morning mist so that I could get a nice lonely, atmospheric shot of the textured solidity of the trees surrounded by the maliable softness of a morning mist. However, no such joy on this occasion (despite following the weather forecasts religiously!). 

There was a wonderful silence broken only by the crunch of my shoes on the fallen leaves, upon approaching my preferred shooting spot I caught sight of 5 deer gently moving through the woods. Although I stopped in my tracks they'd clearly spotted me and before I could even contemplate reaching for my camera they had drifted off into the endless maze of trees.

I find it a challenge to find any coherent compositions in woodland sometimes (can't see the wood for the trees!), although our own field of vision can make it look ordered the 'eye' of the camera sees differently and great care is needed to find a visual route for the viewer in the image. Just a bank of trees can be lacking in depth and provides a visual barrier to the eye as it tries to wander through the image. By using the fallen branch in the image above I'm trying to help lead the eye through the scene into the dense woodland beyond, there is something of a straight path that leads on from the branch and into the seemingly never ending woodland realm beyond. I did make one other image here that I was really happy with but I'm keeping that hidden for now as it's going to compliment another release I'll be making on the completion of Project 32.

Aside from the 5 deer (and 100+ squirrels!) I only saw 1 jogger in my 60 minutes at Ashridge, it was indeed a very peaceful way to start the day...

To see all the images in #Project 32 please click here