1. Just around the corner

    As I write this it hardly feels like spring given that it’s a dark grey, rainy morning but in our woodlands, right now, nature is simply bursting into life! Wild daffodils and primroses are in flower and soon, there’ll be wood anemones and sorrel, too. But, like so many that enjoy photographing the countryside, there is one flower in particular that often gets me out of bed at an unearthly hour, the bluebell!

    Having always lived in Southeast England, I guess you could say I am spoilt with the sheer volume of bluebell woods that I am surrounded by and, since my closest is less than ten minutes away, there has never been a year when I haven’t spent time photographing these stunning flowers. It suits my ‘close to home’ approach to nature photography well where, aside from the workshops and tours that I lead, at least three quarters of all my photography is undertaken not more than 20 miles from my home. This enables me to not only have repeated access to species but allows me to visit nearby woods, downlands and marshes even during office-bound days.

    Finding new ways to capture bluebells is always a challenge but, regardless of the time of day I choose to visit or the lens which I fit onto my camera, it’s always less about the photography and more about just simply being there.

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    bluebell_002

    bluebell_003bluebell_007bluebell_009bluebell_008Bluebell (Endymion non-scriptus) close-up of flower, Kent , England, April.bluebell_006bluebell_010Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), flowering at twilight, Kent, England, may

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  2. Kent’s wildflowers

    It was a very good spring and, thus far, summer for our wildflowers with prolonged spells of warm weather and showers ensuring thick carpets of bluebells, anemones and ramsons. I am fortunate to have several woodlands and expansive areas of chalk downland within a few a few miles of where I live and so I was able to take advantage of early morning and evening sunlight. I was particularly keen to photograph bee orchid this year and with the help of a local naturalist and friend I was able to do just that. Whether I have been able to do justice to one of our most stunning orchids can only be judged by you but one thing is certain, I’ll be paying them another visit next year. I have chosen to include just one from the Twilight project (it was my last and my personal favourite) since these can be seen in a previous post as too can wood anemones.

    Primrose I have always had an issue with primroses. In that, when seen from above they just merge into one another but when seen from below, their translucency is revealed.

    Primrose
    I have always had an issue with primroses. In that, when seen from above they tend to merge into one another and so I spent a considerable length of time peering through an angle-finder in the hope of producing a different perspective.

    Lesser celandine

    Lesser celandine

    Ramson (wild garlic) at sunset

    Ramson (wild garlic) at sunset

    My secret place. Everyone should have one!

    My secret place. Everyone should have one!

    bluebells_1 bluebell_2 bluebell_1

    Bee orchid

    Bee orchid

    Fragrant orchid

    Fragrant orchid

    Grasses in evening sunlight I love working on the edges of light, when the shadows from nearby hills lengthen, spotlighting elements of the landscape. You have to work quickly and intuitively and so I often handhold the camera as a result. Not being tied to a tripod can aid creativity and it allows me to secure a number of images of the same subject.

    Grasses in evening sunlight
    I love working on the edges of light, when the shadows from nearby hills lengthen, spotlighting elements of the landscape. You have to work quickly and intuitively and so I often handhold the camera as a result. Not being tied to a tripod can aid creativity and it allows me to secure a number of images of the same subject.

    Fragrant orchids at sunset

    Fragrant orchids at sunset

    A faint path leads to the top of the North Downs.

    A faint path leads to the top of a hill at sunset

    White helleborine at twilight

    White helleborine at twilight

    The moon wasn’t visible from the spot I’d originally been shooting from and as I walked back with an aching back and neck I saw the bright, full moon. I knew what this meant and so, with a sigh (I simply cannot bare to miss an opportunity!), I trudged back to see if I could find a specimen in a suitable position for a silhouette which just so happened to be the very last before exiting the reserve.

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  3. Twilight

    The Twilight project (for now at least) has come to an end as I now have other projects I wish to concentrate on. Its been one of the most challenging projects I have done to date from both a technical and artistic standpoint and, as a result, has been all the more enjoyable and worthwhile.

    Rather than post all the images singularly and having seen the effectiveness of Niall Benvie’s Panels and the work of Matthew Chase-Daniel, I have decided to produce a panel of my own which, I feel, gives a cohesion to the series.

    So why did I choose to undertake the project in the first place? Like many others, I’m forever striving to improve my photography and try out different techniques in the hope of producing something fresh and original, to draw the viewer in and look more closely as opposed to merely moving from one image to another. From what I could see, few images had been created during this period and that was all the motivation I needed! It, also, wasn’t weather dependent and subject matter lay all around and so if I’d spent the day at home processing images I could still pop out for a couple of hours to a nearby woodland and look for subjects there, thereby ensuring I remain productive.

    Ultimately, I want people to appreciate and care about our immediate environment and for photographers not to think you have to travel to far flung destinations to obtain rewarding images. My ethos has always been to work close to home and this project is a testament to that where all were taken less than 5 miles from where I live.

    Click on the image to see the panel in its entirety.

    twilight

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