Woodland Photowalk - Rough Hill Wood Report
On Tuesday 5th February, we held the second of the new monthly woodland photography walks. The idea is simple. Visit different woodlands on the first Tuesday of every month, in 2019, and spend a couple of hours together on a meetup, exploring the woodlands and taking photos.
This is the healing way of Shinrin-yoku Forest Therapy, the medicine of simply being in the forest. Shinrin-yoku is a term that means "taking in the forest atmosphere" or "forest bathing." It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.
The woodland walks are aimed to promote our senses and connection to trees/woodland/nature - as we walk, observe and take in our environment we may decide to make a photograph, or not.
Rough Hill Wood
The weather conditions and light on the day was chilly but not frozen, fairly flat lighting with an overcast sky and the hint of a little haze and fog.
Rough Hill Wood - From Warwickshire Wildlife Trust - Ancient woodland on a hillside
This reserve contains ancient woodland on a hillside. It is predominantly oak with more diversity of wildflowers on the lower slopes. Coppicing has been reintroduced to the wood and there is a small area of heathland.
Dominating the hillside along ‘the Slough’, this splendid woodland reserve is teeming with diversity, its mixed geology giving rise to distinct woodland types. Although sessile oak is prevalent, the wood also offers birch, rowan, aspen and small-leaved lime. Even its cousin the large-leaved lime can be found. An understorey of hazel and midland hawthorn competes with holly and wild privet.
Bluebell, wood anemone and primrose celebrate spring and provide a blanket of vibrant colour to the dappled woodland floor. Uncommon bilberry, heather, broad-leaved, helleborine and betony also grace these woods with their presence.
It was my first visit to these woodlands and I found navigating a circular route using OS Maps on my phone a tad tricky with the many pathways that didn’t show on the map. Therefore we did a bit of a wander and see where we end up and hopefully not miss out on too much. The bottom half of the woods seem to have more interest, for me at least, with a good mix of copper beach, ferns, snowdrops and my favourite tree, the silver birches.
There are also good signs, with young foliage, of an extensive bluebell population that should make it a great spot come April. The woodlands are on a partial slope that provides a good opportunity to shoot either from a lower perspective up into trees or vice versa, higher perspective down through the trees which eliminates the usual challenge of photographing woodlands with the sky/light dominating the exposure as soon as it’s included in the composition.
One note of caution is that the car parking is a small area of mud/gravel (enough for five or six cars) just off the roadside on the A448, marked on maps as Woodside Cottage, that doesn’t actually exist as a cottage anymore.
As for the shots made on the day…
I am often asked how does the shot published compare to the original from the camera. For me that question is an annoyance because it tends to come from a place of “judgement” that is based on an uneducated perspective that “reality” is not about perception but about how one individual sees and experiences something very literally.
For me, photography has always been an expression rather than documentary so I make no apologies for spending all of three minutes editing this shot in Lightroom and NIK plugin to change how I wanted to interpret what I saw and recorded.
If you were asked to show how a cake looked before it went into the oven… what would you think about the motive of the questioner?
Move the slider left/right to see original RAW file and final output after editing.
A shot from a small climb up a slope to see this wonderful Oak and it’s root limbs sprawling across an expanse of infertile ground.
A lovely copper beech, close to the entrance that really stands out as you walk the path. You need to meander through a few brambles etc to get a clear shot of it but worth it for the lovely arch of rusty colours against the greens and vertical structures of branches and trunks.
The next four shots were taken about half-way along the path through the woods where the is a small side-track to the left and a clearing. Lovely golden brackens and copper beech leaves create spectacular winter colour
I hope you will be able to join me on the next or any future woodland photo workshop. These are different from my normal photography workshop format in that they are not restricted to six participants with my focus being the tuition and guidance of the participants. Instead these walks are about meeting like-minded people who enjoy photography and woodlands who want to explore, share ideas, chat and enjoy a gentle stroll together. Of course, I am on hand and happy to advise, guide and answer any photography questions along the way.
Woodland Habitats to explore in 2019
Only £10 - Places filling quickly so don’t delay
Tue 5th Mar - Moseley Bog - Birmingham - only 3 places left
Tue 2nd Apr - Clowes Wood - Earlswood, Solihull
Tue 7th May - Millisons Wood - Meriden
Tue 4th Jun - Snitterfield Wood - Stratford Upon Avon
Tue 2nd Jul - Ryton Wood - Coventry
Tue 6th Aug - Tocil Wood - Coventry
Tue 3rd Sep - Elkin Wood - Coventry
Tue 1st Oct - Piles Coppice & Brandon Wood - Coventry
Tue 5th Nov - Crackley Wood - Kenilworth
Tue 3rd Dec - Hay wood - Solihull
Take a look at what others took on the day
Not everyone sent me photos from the walk but you can see from those who did just how varied the shots made were. Each person, working alone to create an image conveying their connection and vision of their surroundings. Wonderful images from a lovely group of people. Thanks to everyone who attended, it was a special morning and I hope to see you again on another one soon.
Only a few people sent me photos, not sure if that’s because others are just shy or didn’t make an image they want to share. Thanks to those who sent me images and I hope the others still got something from the morning even if their images are not included in this blog post.