Landscape Photography, Berkshire
(Being the first of three from a few hours in the woods)
Berkshire, the home of Wind in the Willows, is not known for being possessed of dramatic landscapes. Its landscape is soft, gentle and pastoral. There is the large amount of woodland though none of it is particularly old and almost all of it is managed. Crowthorne woods is not far from my home and I have the good fortune to pass it almost every day.
Each time I drive past my head swivels to look at it: a flashing blur of trees and grasses. Having it bathed in mist is a bonus and so it was that for a few days this month we had the good fortune to be blessed with thick dollops of the stuff. Of course I went by one morning when I had to get to work and there just wasn’t the time. Damn.
Scanning the forecast for the following morning, showed that the mist was due to make a reappearance the following day. Perfect. 5am start. Not so perfect. Mind you being a father of an early bird has tweaked my requirement for sleep. I still need it but grudgingly accept that I won’t get as much as I want! Nevertheless I’d be there for 5.15 which would give me at least a couple of hours before I needed to head off to work. Deal!
Heading outside I could just about make out my car. The mist was like blobs of cotton wool. Thick, dense and oddly caressing. The dampness coating my face.
The wood was silent; not menacingly so. But just enough to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. You know that slightly uncomfortable feeling? Brooding possibly. The mist ebbed and flowed, revealing features and trees then swallowing them again. The feeling that I got that morning was similar to the menace of an M R James ghost story. I shrugged my shoulders and my mind. Concentrate Aubertin. Tricky as my stomach started rumbling, rebelling at not having been fed before heading out!
(Reading on your phone? Try turning the screen landscape to see the picture in all it’s glory.)
The mist made it initially very awkward to get my photographic eye working. I know the woods but it’s a vast place so I don’t know its every fold. “So start at the beginning” my inner voice told me. Fair enough as I wandered just 10 feet from the car. A fire, which decimated the wood a few years ago, is still making its mark. Though many of the trees survived they have been weakened. Add in the horrendous winds at the start of this year and it’s a recipe for pushing the trees over. The gnarled root ball of two fallen pines had a disconcerting feel about them. I thought that if I stared long enough the headless horseman from Sleepy Hollow would come galloping out of the mist behind!
As I shouldered my bag and headed further into the wood the sun was rising in the east and amazingly the mist had started to glow all around me.
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