Monday 11th November 2019
The weather forecast was poor for today so I decided to spend the day in front of my laptop.
At the moment I am struggling to keep up with the comments on my videos.
I also had to do an interview for Shuttout, organise my workshops for 2020 and start planning a new series of videos that have been on my todo list for a while.
I am starting to realise just how much work is involved in being a full-time photographer.
It has been 4 days since I last went out with the camera so it was a relief to get out this morning.
“Fail to prepare…” and all that.
As I am in the Chiltern Hills to shoot the beech trees we spent some time exploring the woods. As I (like a lot of people) find it difficult to photograph woodland it took me a little while to get into my stride.
I found that my eye was drawn to the patterns that the trees formed in the canopy above our heads.
✓ – Interesting abstract image that makes the most of the autumn colours and the patterns formed by the trees
✓ – Something a little different from the norm; generally I would focus on compositions that feature the base of the trees
✕ – Breaks one of my fundamental beliefs that an image should have a primary subject that acts as a focal point
After we had finished at Coombe Hill Mike and I headed to Wendover Woods for breakfast.
It was great to catch up and chat about all things photography related. Mike is about to start a new chapter in his own photography journey so it was great to hear about his plans and to share some of my own experiences.
After breakfast we recorded an interview for his podcast. We covered a wide range of topics including my decision to go full-time.
If you would like to listen to the interview you can find it here.
This morning I decided to head to Ashridge. It must be well over 10 years since I was last here but it doesn’t appear to have changed much at all.
Conditions were near perfect. Bright, clear with very little wind.
I spent a happy few hours exploring the woods grabbing some of the best woodland shots that I have ever taken.
✓ – The bridge is the primary subject of the image creating a strong focal point
✓ – It acts as a leading line that draws the eye towards the trees in the distance
✓ – The autumn colour around the edge of the frame provides the images with ‘atmosphere’
✓ – The branches of the tree create an interesting, reasonably well balanced shape
✓ – Texture in the branches gives the image extra depth
✕ – Over all the image is a little boring
✓ – Simple composition featuring just 2 primary elements
✓ – Backlighting creates strong contrast that helps show the autumn colour at its very best!
✕ – A longer focal length could have helped to simplify the composition and create a stronger image
While I was exploring the woods I stumbled across and old abandoned cabin.
I love to photograph man made objects in the landscape and this one seemed to have potential. However, at the time I was put off by the messy foreground.
I decided not to waste my time setting up a ‘proper’ shot and so just grabbed this quick one with the Canon M50 that I use to record my videos.
In hindsight this was a missed opportunity.
The cabin is an interesting subject surrounded by wonderful autumn colour. The ‘weeds’ in the foreground are part of an unusually strong narrative.
In future I need to remember to look beyond the aesthetics of a scene in order capture the story.
On the way home from Ashridge I passed Wendover Woods.
I hadn’t managed to get a shot when here yesterday and so as conditions were still good I decided to call in.
After 2 hours exploring a small area of woodland I came away with 15 shots from which I had to choose just one to feature in my video.
In the end the decision was easy.
This shot is all about the shadows created by sun setting behind the trees.
They create strong leading lines that draw the eye up the frame towards the focal point, namely the dominant tree and the brightest part of the image.
The foreground features the woodland floor covered in the leaves from the beech trees. The background shows some of the wonderful autumn colour illuminated by the setting sun.
In the mid-ground the trees silhouetted by the setting sun provide contrast and a place for the eye to rest.
For me it is this sort of scene that comes to mind when I think of the Chiltern Hills.
After a couple of days of decent weather the rain arrived this morning.
Fortunately I had more than enough footage for next week’s video and so I set about pulling it together.
I am pretty pleased with how it turned out. I can definitely see an improvement in my editing and story telling.
A delightfully uneventful 4 hour drive from the Chilterns to the Lakes.
Whilst I do enjoy photographing other parts of the country my heart will always be here in Cumbria.
It is so good to be home; there is no place quite like it…
We all have problems to deal with in our personal life from time to time and after a tough few days I was keen to get up into the hills.
Mrs Sale and I decided to climb Raven Crag in the central Lake District.
It really helped to clear my head and the view of Thirlmere from the top is well worth the 250m climb.
Of all of the sub-genres of landscape photography I think woodland photography is the trickiest.
As with anything the more I practice the better I become and I was pleased with the progress that I made this week.
But there is still a lot of work to do…