The Fairytale Bluebell Wood

I first discovered this Sussex bluebell woodland on a hot May afternoon back in 2012. I found myself very taken by the small-scale intimacy and intricacy of the woodland landscape, with its valleys, meandering streams and winding paths. I had only just begun taking landscape photos in 2012, so I lacked the skill to portray the location as it should. 

I take landscape shots from an elevated vantage point and use a polariser filter to eliminate reflections in foliage. A soft ND grad filter is useful when one part of a scene is much brighter than the others. Side lighting is very effective for creating good, long shadows, while preserving colour in the flowers, as the wrong lighting direction can easily wash out the blues. For close-up shots, I get on the ground and use either a macro or super-telephoto lens. Sometimes a lens hood is not enough to stop glare from the sun, so I use an umbrella to block it out.

The valley location means the woodland only receives direct sunlight between 09:00 and 18:30, therefore the bluebells flower much later than elsewhere and can last into June. I prefer this bluebell woodland to others in the Home Counties, because it offers a greater challenge. I've learned the hard way not to be a mug and give away location details, as it's not my job to help persons or persons unknown to create better versions of my ideas.

Hearing the sound of a waterfall made me wish for a moment that I could live in the forest forever as a deer. But I'm just a privileged visitor, who stayed at home with the central heating on during Monday, when we had a month's worth of rainfall and the temperature never rose above 5°C. By Sunday, the temperature reached 25°C and the Roe deer and I roamed the forest in comfort. 

I had thought Sunday would be my last encounter with the bluebells for 2018, but I was glad to have changed my mind - look at photo number two. But I didn't realise until I got home on Thursday evening, that there were hundreds of dead midges in my hair and all over my face, glued on by repeated applications of insect repellent. Not that anyone in Brighton would have noticed!

Sussex Bluebell Woodland

High Weald Bluebells

Oak Tree & Bluebells

Uncoiling fern and bluebells

Bluebells and Uncoiling Fern

Bluebells & Uncoiling Fern

Fern in bluebells


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