Ashenground Woods

Just a short distance from our house is a small wood. Because it’s relatively close and its various paths create an easy walking loop from our house and back again, it’s become a bit of a go-to wander route for us, as long as it hasn’t been raining too heavily.

Fortunately, the first time we went there it was a sunny winter’s day, which for me is some of the best light to be had for photographing, especially wooded areas. This said, the first thing I photographed was not quite a tree. At least, not any more.

1/500sec, f/4, ISO 100, 24mm

The light was great. A solid blue sky with the softer sunlight of winter made for lovely scenes.

1/80sec, f/8, ISO 320, 40mm
1/40sec, f/8, ISO 320, 24mm

As you can see I’m shooting at an aperture of f/8 , to make more of the scenery in focus. Which is good, because usually that’s the sort of thing I forget at the moment because I’m so out of practise at shooting with a DSLR (I’m still currently doing most of my photography with an iPhone).

One of the other things I love about shooting in winter is the leafless trees look more interesting to me. I love seeing the intricate details sharp against a clear sky.

1/640sec, f/4, ISO 100, 55mm
1/125sec, f/4, ISO 100, 24mm

The other thing I love is when the trees that do still have some dead leaves clinging on, because the brown colour looks great against a blue sky, especially if there’s any green still around too.

1/125sec, f/4, ISO 100, 85mm

Ashenground Woods, alongside a few of the other woods nearby, collectively make up a Local Nature Reserve, and it is pretty well inhabited by various forms of wildlife. The first creature to greet us was this robin, which necessitated a switch to my telephoto lens.

1/125sec, f/5.6, ISO 640, 300mm

He soon dropped to the wood floor to say hello, making the background not quite as photogenic but still giving a good view.

1/60sec, f/5.6, ISO 640, 260mm

We were also greeted by a squirrel, and I always love photographing squirrels. This guy was sitting in a shaft of light on a moss-covered tree.

1/400sec, f/5.6, ISO 640, 300mm

Lots of the trees in the wood were covered in moss, which in the soft light looked lovely.

1/80sec, f/5, ISO 400, 70mm

As we walked around we came across what looked like an old rag hanging from a tree. I presume it is a well-worn and weather piece of rope once used as a swing. it by the sun from behind made it stand out against the shadowy trees.

1/320sec, f/5, ISO 400, 130mm

Continuing our wander we came across some plants which I’m sure have a name, but which basically look like unbattered corndogs. I’m sure I’ve seen videos on the internet of silly people trying to eat them and getting a face full of fluff.

1/400sec, f/5, ISO 400, 140mm

Our walk around the woods was a short one, but one that can easily be done from home without needing to get in the car, so it’s a nice wander to do (unless it’s been raining, in which case it’s a little bit precarious). We can also do it as a big loop that doesn’t double back on itself much at all, which is something I like in a walk.

The wood is on the other side of the railway to us, and although our walk out is across a covered bridge, the return is across an open one. Admittedly the sides were a little high so I had to hold my camera above my head, but it allowed me to get a shot of the tracks disappearing into the distance. I do love a perspective shot.

1/1250sec, f/5, ISO 400, 24mm

As you can see, this time the light was not in my favour and was casting a big shadow of the bridge we were on across the shot. That’s a shot probably better taken in the afternoon, or the summer, when the sun is shining in the right direction.

Ashenground Woods is just one of the little spots near us we can explore and which has a decent amount of photographic potential – I can probably take several trips there and never see the same creature twice.

This has been my first post in a while. Turns out looking after a baby is a tiring and distracting job. However he’s now almost five months old and starting to settle into a decent pattern of sleep, so I’m hoping I can start getting more posts out again. Plus, I’ll be on parental leave very soon and I’ve all sorts of plans to get back into the habit of taking my DSLR out with me when we go places.

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