Into the Woods
Published on: 17th November 2016
By F11 Magazine
What to do when the leaden skies of November weigh heavy? Head into the woods, where the low contrast of that flat grey light becomes an asset; a necessity even, if capturing the glorious colours of autumn that lurk in the wooded valleys beside the rushing streams is your bag. It’s mine, most certainly. One tree deep in the cleft of Horner Water, resplendent in its autumnal finery, its golden leaves swaying in the breeze, was all I and the Band of Five needed on our recent Exmoor Photo-Explorer Adventure. We were scattered through the woods nearby, all engrossed, doing what we photographers do at this time of year: getting all arty and self-indulgent with captures of leaves, water and mist.
Autumn, surely the most photographic of seasons, can be over all too soon. One storm rolling in off the Atlantic can strip the trees bare just when the colours are reaching their peak. And sometimes those colours just don’t peak at all; greens turn to browns, wither and die. But not this year: my autumn has spanned two months, an ocean and four countries, and it’s still not over yet.
It started in Canada; Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park to be precise, but you know that because I’m sure that by now you’ve perused my Behind the Lens feature and watched the accompanying Video Blog in this month’s Chasing the Light Online Magazine. Being there in the woods by the rushing rapids was a special moment, even in the pitch black of night. Above, the Milky Way arced through the night sky, its Galactic Centre visible just above the trees that lined the banks of the Oxtongue River. It was another session that Wendy and I will remember for the rest of our days – there have been a few.
By mid-October I was on the west coast of Ireland, evaluating the new Canon EOS 5D Mk IV, a Field Trial that continued on Exmoor and in amongst the cows who graze the fields around Milborne Port. Cows? Yes, it’s become a bit of a tradition; all my camera tests now feature me kneeling in amongst the still-steaming pats. Trust me, there’s a reason for it, but I guess you’re just going to have to read the Field Trial and watch the associated Fundamentals of Post-Production Video Tutorial, also in this month’s edition of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine.
And while we’re at it, there’s another camera, the Nikon D500, being put through its paces by Ross Hoddinott in his monthly column in the magazine. Meanwhile our other f11 magazine regulars have been on the road: Bas Meelker takes us to Marrakech, and Ben Pipe to Kerala. As usual there are your images in the f11 Member’s Gallery, and finally, this month’s Guest Feature journeys to East Anglia. Now, I appreciate that’s a destination unlikely to spark your wanderlust, but just take a look at Justin Minns’ evocative Eastern Promise set. These are proof positive of the advantages of working your own patch, and of the fact that there are scenes to inspire and captivate all around us, if we can only see them.
It’s all there in this month’s Chasing the Light Online Magazine, which, as you surely know by now, we publish exclusively for our f11Members. Not yet an f11 Member? Well, watch this video. Know someone who would like to become a Member? With Christmas approaching, an f11 Membership Gift Voucher makes a handy gift, especially when you consider that f11 Members get unlimited access to all 58 back issues of the magazine, plus a free download of each of my three ebooks, all for an annual subscription of just £39.
Just over a week ago we were in the woods again, this time with our group on our first Photo-Explorer Adventure in Franche-Comté. Where? By now I’m well used to the blank looks that accompany my mention of that region near the Swiss border; it does seem to be France’s least known. That is part of the attraction of course; introducing our photographers and partners to the delights of the Jura’s gorges, waterfalls, villages, chateaux, and, yes, woods was fun, and photographically productive, despite the odd grey sky and drop of rain. All water of a duck’s back to us photographers, and besides, as our final session amongst the yellow vineyards beneath Château-Chalon demonstrated so well, it only takes one fleeting shaft of light to make a whole day of waiting for the light worthwhile. And as for the sight of mist wafting through the autumnal woods; well, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. We’ll be doing it all again next year.