I return to the forest with a plan in my journal. The pages are still wet from my last trip before storms Malek and Corrie hit. I note down the following as an aide memoire for shooting high key images: wide aperture; shutter speed sufficient to capture the movement; sharp focus on the subject of the image and use the ISO setting to achieve over-exposure of three stops.
Notwithstanding the weather forecast, the shoreline seems calm, although I notice that one of the solitary trees across the headland looks a little unstable. As I walk through the log piles the wind strengthens and when I move into open landscape it hits me with its full force. Now I realise why the lone tree is bending at a precarious angle.
As I set up the tripod my hat flies off and lands in the nearby quarry. It is all I can do to hold onto my tripod and camera. I notice that a small tree has sheered across the widest part of its trunk and the debris has blown across the track.
I am forced to work quickly as I am concerned about the stability of the trees and the likelihood that the wind might sweep me off my feet. I contemplate whether to continue into the area in which I had intended to work, where there are larger trees but decide that the weather and conditions are simply too dangerous for me to continue. I am very disappointed as I had worked out in my mind the technical settings I would need and the locations where I would get the images I had in my head. I clamber over the quarry rubble to retrieve my hat and ensure that all the kit is securely returned to my bag.
I return home and have a look at the images I produced, and the technique appears to have delivered the aesthetic I wanted. I am desperate to return to the forest and after gazing out of the window willing the weather to improve, I decide to try again. I also decide not to take my hat or tripod to give myself maximum flexibility in terms of viewpoints and carry less that can be blown away! As I walk beyond the site of my previous shoot, I realise that the two storms over the weekend had felled a number of trees.
My path is blocked, and it is a scene of devastation on top of the previous demise of many trees a few weeks’ earlier. As I pick my way through the debris, the larger trees are looking vulnerable and precarious without their previous neighbours to provide protection and support. I move quickly past. As I turn onto the track by the beach, I realise that my path is blocked by another fallen tree.