Back from the New Forest, and I certainly do have a lot of pictures of trees. Unfortunately there aren’t many that excite me, or give me that little glow inside that you get when you produce something you really like. It’s proved a point to me – that my work is much, much better when I concentrate on a small, familiar area and keep going back to it. I want to write some more about that, but will save it up for a later, more in-depth, post.
Photography or not, we had a wonderfully relaxing time just walking through the beautiful, lush, green place that is the New Forest. I’d never been ‘properly’ there before, only having driven through it a number of times on the way further west. However when you pass through on the A31, it crosses open areas of moorland and I always used to wonder where the trees were.
I’ve learned since then that when the word ‘forest’ was introduced into the English language it originally meant ‘wild land set aside for hunting’ and there was no requirement for trees to be present, so the Forest includes some areas of heath and moorland, too. There are plenty of trees, though, and one of the things that struck me was the way in which the Forest manages to absorb large numbers of people without losing its essential nature or feeling of wildness – we walked for hours on some days and barely saw another person.
Feeling mostly dissatisfied with the shots I’d taken so far, I experimented with some intentional camera movement and this seemed to capture for me more of the feeling of the place. In the image above I held the camera still for a short moment before moving it, and that gave a little bit of definition to the leaves and a kind of painterly look. I can’t say I’m totally happy with it, but it does bring back for me – quite vividly – the memory of how wonderful it was to walk in the sheltering half-light of the trees, with sudden dazzling shafts of sunlight illuminating the forest floor. If I could have picked even part of the forest up and taken it back home with me, I’d be a very happy bunny indeed. I suppose, in a sense, that’s what photographers do.