Last Days of Autumn...

Morning Glory...

Towards the back end of October I managed to get 90 minutes or so alone in Ashridge during what can only be described as a 'fog-fest'! As you know I'm partial to a bit of fog and mist and especially in woodland, it helps distinguish features and brings a sense of order to what can often be difficult vistas to distil.

Arriving at around sunrise I headed deep into the woods to an area I'd spotted on a previous casual walk a few days beforehand. Upon reaching my destination I spotted a group of deer, and a stag no less sitting around some trees, despite presumably seeing a fair amount of humans in this area these animals are very shy and despite my best attempts to remain un-noticed they soon sloped away into the dense woodland. Other than this brief encounter I was alone with the trees, the fog, and the cold...perfect!

I reflect on this morning as the peak of my local Autumnal explorations. Going into this time period I had thoughts of multiple mornings out exploring but reality always bites and I didn't get out as much as I would have liked. That said, the peace and tranquility of this morning in particular was very special. I find it's not just about the image making, it's a chance to start the day in a beautiful way, not far in miles from civilisation but far in mood. The images I make here are really for me to 'lock' in the feeling and atmosphere I experienced on the day, these types of images are very personal to me and it's probably a result of the freedom I have in using my photography primarily for personal reasons as opposed to any pre-determined or timeline driven commercial demands. To work under those conditions would surely illicit a different feeling, response and thus logically a different end result.

In the area I was exploring there is a huge tree that demanded some of my attention. Taking a successful image of something so tall and wide within a woodland is not exactly easy. Where do you position the trunk in the image? How much do you try and squeeze in towards the top, it's impossible to get it all in. With that in mind I centred the composition below and tried to use the foggy backdrop to let the rest of the woodland recede and bring forward the structure, size and reach of this impressive specimen:

See more images like this in my WOODLAND GALLERY


New Project 33 Images - Home Counties

So, it's time for a bit of 'tree love' with the first in the series of new images for the 2015 Project 33 location of the Home Counties. Living within striking distance of the lovely woodland of the Ashridge Estate means that I often use it as a base camp for shooting woodland and inner landscapes.

The three images I've started the Project 33 (Home Counties) gallery with were all taken on the same day. If was a particularly misty Sunday and I actually ended up with five images I was pleased with, the other two will be released very soon.

I had risen early to catch the sunrise from the local Ivinghoe Beacon area, however throughout the whole Sunday the sun never made it through the think layer of mist and fog! After spending a couple of hours circumnavigating the 'Beacon' trying to find some shooting possibilities I was actually heading back down the path to the car to head further into Ashridge when finally the sun made something of a attempt at peaking through. The fog acted as a beautiful diffuser of the light and backlit the trees nicely in the scene below:

The diffuse light brought just enough colour to the slightly damp grass around the trees and the path winding through the shot hopefully helps lead you into another world...

It's often a good idea not just to look left and right but also to look up...I composed the shot below thinking of the veins in the eye, a subject I've been exposed to images of quite a lot in the last 18 months due to my partners degree course in Optometry! It's interesting how images and scenes I see daily can influence the compositions and feel of my images. So, Giulia this one was very much inspired by all the slides and images I've seen you studying!

And some of the inspiration...

An example of the images of the eye I've been exposed to recently...guess they rubbed off into my compositions!

An example of the images of the eye I've been exposed to recently...guess they rubbed off into my compositions!

After this short spell of shooting on the path back to the car I drove further into the Ashridge Estate and went for a walk deep into the Forest. The challenge is always trying to find order in amongst the chaos, whilst it can be appealing to our eye at the time it's quite something else to distill the medley of branches, trunks, leaves etc into a suitably tranquil scene with the necessary order to sustain the viewers gaze.

I came across the clearing below which interested me due to the contrasting purple and green grasses and bushes in the foreground that led nicely into the scene with the natural buffers of a couple of strong trees at either side of the image to help keep the eye from wandering out. 

The final image was actually made of 5 images stitched together in a panorama. Ideally you'd normally set-up your tripod to ensure an even horizon so the stitching could be less problematic but due to the nature of the uneven and rough woodland floor beneath me I actually hand held the 5 shots and just pivoted my body right to left to catch the images. This was the first time I've attempted a 'standing panorama' and I was delighted to see I'd kept everything straight and overlapping nicely to enable the computer to stitch them together seamlessley.

Click the image to see it full width

Please click here to see the Project 33 (Home Counties) gallery and all the images full size.