Hitherto, by using a reductive strategy, through the use of camera movement and multiple exposures, in Practice 2, I tried to give a sense of being among rather than being an outsider looking in. By reducing focus and attention from any individual components of the forest I sought to capture the being of the woodland and give a sense of the shapes, movements, light and colours that animals or birds might see. I had also been trying to capture a sense of the magical and the dreamlike quality that I often glimpse when surrounded by trees.
I presented my images of Among Trees to a group of serious amateur photographers last week and the feedback I received was that I needed to work harder to convey the sense of interiority and also vary my viewpoints, a point my supervisor had made at our recent meeting. I need to lie down, kneel down and use different lenses and perhaps also find some more dense woodland locations.
So, after a rest from working with my camera, I set off on foot through the woods to begin Practice 3. First, lingering to take some micro aspects of trees such as the prolific amounts of lichen hanging onto the bark and the different shades of moss clutching to a damaged trunk.
As I explore, I try to find access to different areas of the woodland. My path is blocked by deep, peaty ponds and burns but I soon find accessible woodland, on the other side of the path, that has bright, mossy tussocks and pinecones on the floor with beautiful sparkling light falling on the topography of the sponge-like surface. I perch in a comfortable spot to take in the opportunities. I stay low to the ground as I start pressing the shutter, before looking up into the tree canopy.
I emerge from the wonderful world of the woods, the sun feels warm and inviting as I start to climb through a much larger forest. Again, I struggle to find a way in, but keep my eyes peeled for animal tracks that might lead me over the earthy burn hugging the edge of the path. This forest if more exposed and the trees much taller and slender. Their tops swaying and creaking significantly in the strong wind. I take in the soft green and silver tones of this magical forest. I try taking images without showing the foreground and the base of the trunks to give a sense of the chaos and dense vegetation making it difficult to venture in very deeply.
As I continue my climb, I come to another magical forest that I often dwell in when out walking.
The light of late winter sun has risen higher as we drift towards March and the first day of spring. Unfortunately, this makes the wood less magical than it can often be in the depths of the Skye winter. However, I explore the terrain with the intention of returning in early morning next time. The images I did take, will give me ideas of what might work in terms of composition and angles of view. I make a mental note to spend more time here. . .