Bluebell Woods

On previous years I have captured photos of Bluebells, and today I was checking out the location for a possible portrait shoot, with only my nifty 50 to hand – and the frustration that this brought really highlighted the importance of anticipating the shot and taking the right equipment or traveling with a full camera bag.

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Bluebell Wood

I love the woodland – but with the nifty 50, I could not zoom in and compress the background, bring the flowers closer together – the dull light of an overcast day though meant great lighting conditions and only very soft shadows.

I focused instead this time of thinking where I would sit subjects within the woodland, how to make the images light and airy… I like a softer style and when I compare the subject with images taken in previous years I can see my composition has improved too!

Bluebells 2017
A bluebell
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Woodland Details
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Bluebells in the Spring
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Year Two (41) – Photo Buddy is back!

Photobuddy is back and is the star of today’s photoshoot, I wanted a focal point in the bluebell wood and my border collie was a willing model… well put it this way, he was keen to come for a walk and was happy to have the camera pointed in his direction, whereas the rest of the family really want to these days.

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Lying among the bluebells

Continue reading

Year Two (39) – Starting to look at flowers

I am planning to have a few days out in the coming weeks taking photos of flowers – I won’t have any control of the light – other than the direction in which I take  create the images from – I am not in charge of the weather – so whether it is too harsh or not bright enough… I will just have to work with it.

Today I started looking at what I felt worked for flower photography …  to focus my mind… I experimented with: Continue reading

Year Two (35) – Playing in the Woods

I have been shown one of two different abstract effects recently that I you can take in camera, so this weekend I headed off to visit the bluebells with a prop, and some ideas to try something different.

These are the results of my experiments.

Back in the Bluebell wood
Back in the Bluebell wood

This is the same wood that I visited recently … but there are lots more bluebells out and it is a lot harder to just choose that one perfect flower Continue reading

Year Two (32) Bluebells Revisited

It’s bluebell season – last year I took photos of bluebells at the end of April … and shared my topical post here and another one here – this year I knew I had to try again, to see what I remember from last year and to experiment more with different lens and because I just love the delicate nature of the flowers.

The morning I choose was overcast and there had been rain the day before – so the results included some lovely water drops on the flowers. I started off with my 100mm macro lens, shooting without a tripod, aiming to select one flower from the background.

100mm lens, ISO320, F9, 1/80sec
100mm lens, ISO320, F9, 1/80sec

I then had a helpful photobuddy, Continue reading

Day 130 – Another 10k and Going Wide in the Bluebell Wood

This morning I completed another 10k – it sounds like I am a runner but I am not… I started running just over a year OK and today I ran that race again, slower than I did then … hubby steamed a head – he is a new runner too…. but although I would like to get a 10k under an hour (today was about 1 hr 5mins), to me it is more about the journey … I can’t take photos and run, I can’t stop to look at things, I am not competitive … I expect to come last (I did always at school… and if I ran slow enough I only ever ran half the course as they sent me back to change early), but I am running cause I can … I never could till I turned 40 … but now I can.

I am signed up for the Great South – I don’t know how I will do that (it is nearly twice as far) but I am trying….  so my first photo today … my running shoes before my race.

Nifty 50, ISO100, F4, 1/160sec - My running shoes
Nifty 50, ISO100, F4, 1/160sec – My running shoes

Emma’s challenge #Remarkable2015 is to think creatively … so this shot is … it represents the run but is a different shot … below is the standard post run shot.

After the race - on an iphone by my daughter
After the race – on an iphone by my daughter

After the race … I went for a walk with the dogs… 4.5k, a good muscle stretch and back to the bluebell wood, this time with my nifty 50 and my Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens – back button focusing to see that I could capture and to compare them to the other two visits – see here  and here.

I started with the nifty 50 … limited with what I could get in shot, but loving the sharpness of the image and the depth of the field that a shallow aperture gives.

Nifty 50, ISO 200, F7.1, 1/80 sec
Nifty 50, ISO 200, F7.1, 1/80 sec

Same Aperture, same speed, different ISO and a different lens – wide angle and a totally different feel … the trees in the backgound are too soft but so are the bluebells in the foreground in my opinion … it is a slightly different location… but the foreground is much messier.

10-20mm wide abgle, ISO100, F7.1, 1/80sec
10-20mm wide angle, ISO100, F7.1, 1/80sec

Staying wide I looked down a path in the bluebells at the old tree .. there is a great sense of space but the camera seems to limit what I can focus on.

Wide angle 10-20mm, ISO100, F7.1, 1/125 sec
Wide angle 10-20mm, ISO100, F7.1, 1/125 sec

Lens change … I can’t get as much in shot, but I think I prefer the closer angle and the quality of this shot. Lenses really can’t make a difference … more than I thought.

Nifty 50, ISO100. F5.6, 1/160sec
Nifty 50, ISO100. F5.6, 1/160sec

I stayed with the nifty 50 and backed up … the path is not as clear through the bluebells but I feel there is more individual detail in each flower with the prime lens .

Nifty 50, ISO100, F5.6, 1/250sec
Nifty 50, ISO100, F5.6, 1/250sec

I tried getting lower with the wider angle lens, the trees are no longer straight and you get an impressive sense of scale … it is much more a creative look at the woodland than I would normally consider.

10-20mm, ISO100, F9, 1/80sec
10-20mm, ISO100, F9, 1/80sec

I thought about foreground interest to add something to the shot… I had forgotten how close you could get with the wide angle lens, I could touch the root… but it made the bluebells behind seem much further away.

10-20mm, ISO125, F5.6, 1/30 sec
10-20mm, ISO125, F5.6, 1/30 sec

Almost back at the start … I should have focused on the foreground bluebells… but with the wider lens you can see so much more than in the nifty 50 (similar location to my first bluebell shot) – here the sense of space and scale works.

10-20mm wide angle, ISO100, F5.6, 1/100 sec
10-20mm wide angle, ISO100, F5.6, 1/100 sec

Today really was an eye opener into which lens is the right lens for the job, and how using different lens can add a different feel to the end result … recommendation for today experiment with your lens, use one you would not normally use and compare them … you definitely see the world differently!

Day 120 – Bluebells, Bluebells and Bluebells

I have been out on four separate occasions to capture bluebells and I have chosen a selection of my favorite images here. Trip 1 & 3 – 18-250mm lens, trip 2 I had my 17-70mm lens,  and trip 4 my 100 mm lens – the middle two trips were to Roydon Woods and the 1st & 4th  trip was to Great Newbridge Copse in Lymington.

Sorry for the long post but I struggled to choose my favorite images … as the bluebells offered such variety!

Trip 1 – my first trip to look to bluebells on the 23rd April, there was one or two out but I could not capture the feel that I wanted and a lot were still in bud… so I waited a few days and choose another spot to explore – these was at Great Newbridge Copse in Lymington.

18-250mm lens, f6.3, 1/320 sec, ISO 250 - Back focusing, I think I am beginning to understand and it does help. I think this photo is really calming!
18-250mm lens, f6.3, 1/320 sec, ISO 250 – Back focusing, I think I am beginning to understand and it does help. I think this photo is really calming!
18-250mm lens, f6.3, 1/320 sec, ISO 250 - Just one bluebell but you know there are more....
18-250mm lens, f6.3, 1/320 sec, ISO 250 – Just one bluebell but you know there are more….

Trip 2 – Roydon Woods near Brockenhurst with my 17-70mm lens … this was not the lens I would have taken … but I did not check my camera before leaving home – these were captured on the 25th April. I was not sure where to spot the bluebells, but I do remember visiting last year and soon remembered the way.  Time was rushed … as hubby and eldest teen were with me too!

18-250mm lens, f6.3, 1/320 sec, ISO 250 - Just one bluebell but you know there are more....
18-250mm lens, f6.3, 1/320 sec, ISO 250 – Just one bluebell but you know there are more….
18-250mm lens, f8, 1/250 sec, ISO 250 - a bank of bluebells backing onto the woodland at Roydon Woods.
17-70mm lens, f8, 1/250 sec, ISO 250 – a bank of bluebells backing onto the woodland at Roydon Woods.
17-70mmmm lens, f6.3, 1/250 sec, ISO 250 - A closer look at Bluebells
17-70mm lens, f6.3, 1/250 sec, ISO 250 – A closer look at Bluebells

Trip 3 – A return visit to Roydon Woods with my 18-250mm lens, just the dogs and quite harsh sunlight which meant more contrast in between the sunlight and the shadows.

18-250 mm lens, f6.3, 1/80 sec, ISO 100 - Foreground interest to draw you into the wood.
18-250 mm lens, f6.3, 1/80 sec, ISO 100 – Foreground interest to draw you into the wood.
18-250 mm lens, f8, 1/125sec, ISO 125 - O love the bendy young tree for contrast against the blue bluebells.
18-250 mm lens, f8, 1/125sec, ISO 125 –  love the bendy young tree for contrast against the blue bluebells.
18-250 mm lens, f13, 1/140 sec, ISO 160 - Illusions are everywhere - this was a narrow path barely wide enough for a rabbit and some very thin trees!
18-250 mm lens, f13, 1/140 sec, ISO 160 – Illusions are everywhere – this was a narrow path barely wide enough for a rabbit and some very thin trees!
18-250 mm lens, f13, 1/50 sec, ISO 100 - This marker was in the shade, but it lead you through the bluebell wood.
18-250 mm lens, f13, 1/50 sec, ISO 100 – This marker was in the shade, but it lead you through the bluebell wood.
18-250 mm lens, f13, 1/60 sec, ISO 200 - I loe the grassy path that you could walk down and explore.
18-250 mm lens, f13, 1/60 sec, ISO 200 – I love the grassy path that you could walk down and explore.
18-250 mm lens, f4.5, 1/125 sec, ISO 100 - I thought a lot about getting down low with the bluebells and choosing my focus
18-250 mm lens, f4.5, 1/125 sec, ISO 100 – I thought a lot about getting down low with the bluebells and choosing my focus
18-250 mm lens, f6.3, 1/320 sec, ISO 500 - The sunlight sparkled in the background.
18-250 mm lens, f6.3, 1/320 sec, ISO 500 – The sunlight sparkled in the background and caused lots of distraction.
18-250mm lens, f5, 1/250 sec, ISO 100 - Bluebells in the shade and in the sun - the forest is magical.
18-250mm lens, f5, 1/250 sec, ISO 100 – Bluebells in the shade and in the sun – the forest is magical.

Trip 4 – Back to Great Newbridge Copse in Lymington, a more cloudy day and as I had finally got round to looking at the other shoots I had a different idea … what if I tried to work with a fixed lens – would that work in the woods, would it control what I looked at, what I tried to capture and would the quality be the same?

100mm lens, f9, 1/320 sec, ISO 400 - getting down low, choosing a background to blur and you could be anywhere!
100mm lens, f9, 1/320 sec, ISO 400 – getting down low, choosing a background to blur and you could be anywhere .. but if you did not get low enough the shot did not feel quite right.
100mm lens, f6.3, 1/160 sec, ISO 160 - this is a dark footpath behind a housing estate littered with rubbish yet with the bluebells it looks amazing!
100mm lens, f6.3, 1/160 sec, ISO 160 – this is a dark footpath behind a housing estate littered with rubbish yet with the bluebells it looks amazing!
100mm lens, f6.3, 1/160 sec, ISO 160 - I loved the contrast where different flowers grew together, a real sense of Spring.
100mm lens, f6.3, 1/160 sec, ISO 160 – I loved the contrast where different flowers grew together, a real sense of Spring.
100mm lens, f5, 1/160 sec, ISO 250 - Trying to capture the essence of the bluebell wood and a sense of scale.
100mm lens, f5, 1/160 sec, ISO 250 – Trying to capture the essence of the bluebell wood and a sense of scale.
100mm lens, f10, 1/160 sec, ISO 500 - Capturing the scale of the wood was hard with the 100mm fixed lens, as the forest floor was clutter with sticks etc.
100mm lens, f10, 1/160 sec, ISO 500 – Capturing the scale of the wood was hard with the 100mm fixed lens, as the forest floor was clutter with sticks etc.
100mm lens, f8, 1/125 sec, ISO 200 - Back button focus with the intention of foreground blur.
100mm lens, f8, 1/125 sec, ISO 200 – Back button focus with the intention of foreground blur.
100mm lens, f3.5, 1/1250 sec, ISO 100 - the front of the sign in the Bluebell Wood
100mm lens, f3.5, 1/1250 sec, ISO 100 – the front of the sign in the Bluebell Wood
100mm lens, f7.1, 1/160 sec, ISO 400 - the Signpost adds interest ... a great place to walk
100mm lens, f7.1, 1/160 sec, ISO 400 – the Signpost adds interest … a great place to walk

The quality of the light was different on my fourth photo walk, but I did come to the conclusion that with any of the three lens I could capture Bluebells – it might be fun to try again with a wide angle lens … but the diversity of the woodland filled with bluebells is amazing… to just stand and enjoy the fragrant flowers, to hear the bird song and enjoy places that few people venture too… make it worth going out with your camera!

It is hard though to get the essence of the woodland, to avoid the clutter, the other woodland plants and debris when you just want the focus to be bluebells without isolating them from the background… and you never know I might share with you some more bluebells yet!

Have you got a bluebell wood near you?

100mm lens, f5, 1/160 sec, ISO 200 - Love the shallow depth of field and the colour from the cloudy sky
100mm lens, f5, 1/160 sec, ISO 200 – Love the shallow depth of field and the colour from the cloudy sky

Day 119 – Unhelpful Photo Buddies

I have been out on a few walks recently trying to capture Bluebells as they are just coming into flower in some pockets of the New Forest National Park, and I love them – rather than posting each time I photograph the bluebells my plan was to collect all the images together and choose a few of my favorite shots to share over a couple of days.

Most of the time when I am out taking photos and walking … I am taking my photo buddies along with me – Mack is a Golden Retriever, he is about 8 and belongs to my husband – he plods along slow and steady and Sparky (my Border Collie, 11 months old) is a bit of a wild card, full of energy and up to mischief and likes to try new things… Trying to get them to behave whilst I position my camera is never easy – if they are on the lead they tug, and ruin the shot by causing me to move the camera, they frighten away the wildlife and they just can’t help getting into shot.

Taking photos of bluebells was a real challenge – they liked the same spots I did, Mack liked to roll on the bluebells and flatten them … Sparky like to sneak into a picture unannounced just as a I pressed the shutter button.

So today’s photos that I am sharing are of my “unhelpful photo buddies”.

ISO 250, F8, 1/250 sec - 18-250mm lens, 63mm zoom -
ISO 250, F8, 1/250 sec – 18-250mm lens, 63mm zoom – “I am watching you”
ISO 250, F10, 1/100 sec - 18-250mm lens, 147mm zoom -
ISO 250, F10, 1/100 sec – 18-250mm lens, 147mm zoom – “I ‘ll rest here!”
ISO 400, F6.3, 1/400 sec - 17-70 mm lens, 70 mm zoom -
ISO 400, F6.3, 1/400 sec – 17-70 mm lens, 70 mm zoom – “I’ll just lie in the middle now!”
ISO 250 F8, 1/1600 sec - 17-70mm lens, 25mm zoom -
ISO 250 F8, 1/1600 sec – 17-70mm lens, 25mm zoom – “We will just sit in your shoot and wait till your done”
ISO 1600, F6.3, 1/320 sec - 18-250mm lens, 178mm zoom -
ISO 1600, F6.3, 1/320 sec – 18-250mm lens, 178mm zoom – “I think they are better over there”
ISO100, 100mm fixed lens, F3.2, 1/200 sec - I love how the flowers are in focus and then Sparky appears!
ISO100, 100mm fixed lens, F3.2, 1/200 sec – I love how the flowers are in focus and then Sparky appears!
ISO100, 100mm fixed lens, F8, 1/125sec - I got  down low to capture the dappled shade on the bank and Mack sat down in front of me!
ISO100, 100mm fixed lens, F8, 1/125sec – I got down low to capture the dappled shade on the bank and Mack sat down in front of me!
ISO160, 100mm fixed lens, F6.3, 1/40 sec - I shady path perfect to walk along... with the slow shutter speed Sparky is blurred slightly!
ISO160, 100mm fixed lens, F6.3, 1/40 sec – I shady path perfect to walk along… with the slow shutter speed Sparky is blurred slightly!

The plan is to show you some more bluebell photos tomorrow – I have to edit them first and I have downloaded Lightroom CC to experiment with for a month’s trial.