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Sunday April 10th - Re-visiting Erlestoke Park Woods

I had visited Erlestoke for the first time at the start of March, and at the time I had written

'in the past, when I have been similarly excited about a new photo location I will repeatedly visit it to within an inch of it'itss life and overload my hard drive with photos that I ultimately have no passion for - let's see how it goes over the next couple of months...'

As we were now in April and my scouting for Bluebells was beginning in earnest, that statement was about to become prophetic, as I took a particular liking for this little patch of Wiltshire! (is it prophetic if I wrote that several months after the event happened - probably not, but let's pretend that I at least have some idea what I'm talking about..).

On this particular Sund,ay the forecast was only soso, and so I set out without any expectations of taking a good photograph. Inst,ead I wanted to see how far the Bluebells might be from their peak. As you'll begin to learn over the next blog or so, my judgement isn't based on any significant experience and if I suggest something might be 'a week or so away from peak' you should probably interpret that to be about 3 weeks in reality. This lack of experience, and a lack of talent, and the fact I don't really like people is why I'm not thinking of offering photography workshops any time soon!

The good news is that I met my expectations on this shoot, in that I didn't capture a very good photograph, however, I thought it was still worth blogging about this trip as collectively these musings might demonstrate to you that there is actually a bit of graft behind my photography, and that I do take it seriously, despite my flippant persona. A lot of my adventures end up with subpar images, but by getting out consistently, I give myself the best opportunity to actually be in place when the conditions are right.

Early spring in Erlestoke woods
I liked how the light hit certain trees at different times on a previous visit, so at first light I hung out here, hoping I might be able to capture 'something'. If the trunks were wet from rainfall this might work, but without that extra contrast, I think even a heavy black-and-white edit leaves me wanting a bit more. The image is also off balance and there's a bit too much space in the foliage in the background which reveals too many distracting elephants (a typo of elements, but I preferred elephants!)
Early spring in Erlestoke Woods
This was the scene I was pinning my Bluebell hopes on - still a week or so from peak coverage. Blow your highlights much Dave?
Early spring in Erlestoke Park Woods
This section of the woods faces directly in to the sun and I was begging for some kind of mist to help elevate my images. There wasn't any about however, so I tried to 'create' some by overexposing a little. A few more leaves and this might have worked...
Early sprint in Erlestoke Park Woods
I quite often fall into the trap of getting fixated on something in the field, sticking with it for a while, and then being underwhelmed with the results when I get home. This tree was one such example of that. The texture on the trunk of this tree was really cool, and the way the light was hitting it seemed nice. However, I don't think this translates into the photograph at all, and instead we end up with a slightly overexposed tree trunk among a random clutter of thinner trunks!
Early spring in Erlestoke Park Woods
Of all the images I took I think this one has the most potential. With a bit more time spent on working the composition this scene could have been elevated significantly. However, the trunks are thicker on the left than the right and the main elements lean the same way, making the image appear off balance and odd.
Woodland photography at Erlestoke Park Wood
This tree was too large to photograph properly, however I took a photo anyway just in case some inspiration about how to do it justice comes to me at some point in the future.
Early spring in Erlestoke Park Woods
I was taken by the light on the branches of this pair of trees. A nice image but nothing would really benefit from some nice sidelight, but this would be unlikely in the mornings due to its position against the woodland.
Early spring in Erlestoke Park Woods
I love the colours in Spring as much as the colours of Autumn. I tried hard to find some order amongst the chaos of this section of the wood and came close I think, but I think it needs more to break up the verticals and I lost a lot of the contrast from the scene in my edit. The detail is nice though.
Early sprint in Erlestoke Park Woods
16:9 crop was my only choice to eliminate the sky from this scene and I'd hoped the horizontal branch might act as a nice frame, however I find the image lacks interest, especially on the right side, and I probably should have tried a square crop instead...(see below)
Square crop of previous image
Or maybe not..!
Early Spring in Erlestoke Woods
A fine photographer who I follow on Social Media (Diane Vose) had posted a smashing image from Autumn last year that I was thrilled to discover was taken at this location. As a standalone shot, this almost works, but without any mist to add atmosphere, it could be improved significantly. I hope to capture that someday...
Exposed roots at Erlestoke Park Woods
I loves me some exposed roots...

It's funny how it goes isn't it? I had been feeling a little underwhelmed about Erlestoke Parl Woods up until the point that I came across the exposed roots section - but with that simple discovery all of that malaise was forgotten and I was now back in the 'EPW is amazing' camp. Annoyingly, the conditions never really came through for me at this location this year, so I'm still yet to take a shot I actually like here, but now I was confident that with a bit of mist I might just get a shot to be proud of....

See you next week where I'll be (checks notes) at Erlestoke Park Woods again...must have been some mist in the



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