The Millennium Woods – April 2021

I’ve been thinking a lot about my photography recently, about the things I’d love to shoot and the things that are accessible to shoot (unfortunately at the moment the two couldn’t be further apart but that’s something to work on for the future) and I’ve come to realise two important points;

  • I rarely shoot near home. In fact the only time I shoot within walking distance of my home is if it snows.
  • I don’t often revisit the same location and when I do it’s generally to try a new lens in a familiar setting.

I have mixed feelings about revisiting a location, on one hand I admire the dedication of photographers who engage in long term projects shot in a single location but at the same time I’m reminded of an exhibit in a degree show where the photographer had photographed the same location every single day of the year. All 365 images were shot from the same spot with near identical framing and presented on a long banner style print. The photographer was, quite rightly, proud of the work and enthused about the project. I admire the dedication involved but couldn’t shake the feeling of monotony.

When I’ve felt a restlessness around my photography in the past I’ve found having a project a useful way of either settling me or bringing along some sort of shift in my photography so I’ve decided to see what happens if I push myself to shoot close to home and revisit that location over a period of time.  The Millennium Wood is just around the corner from my home, as the name suggests it was planted to mark the new millennium and local schoolchildren were invited to plant a tree. I went along with my daughter and she planted two trees, as I look now at this small area of woodland it’s strange to think I was there when it was planted.

I’ve decided that I’ll approach each visit with an open mind, I’ll take time to absorb my surroundings and I’ll shoot whatever I feel drawn to on that day. On this first visit I was drawn to both the forest floor and the contrasts of man made and nature, although I couldn’t resist a rather predictable image of blossom and blue skies. I must confess that as I photographed the blossom I was annoyed to find myself thinking of Instagram and how the image would work there, I try not to shoot with social media in mind I don’t like the way it can influence (stifle?) creativity but that’s a whole other topic for another post!

(this was the only image I felt inclined to add a texture to, I used one from the Wilderness Collection at a low opacity)

I also played around, mostly unsuccessfully, with in camera double exposures. The only one I was happy with is another version of the leaf above. This leaf has fallen and become caught on a twig lying on the ground, it’s not obvious that the image below is a double exposure but I do like the ghostly effect and I felt it suited the subject.

In the spirit of trying to make myself do something different I left behind my Lensbabies and vintage lenses and just took one autofocus lens with me – a Fuji 50mm f2 – I enjoyed the experience and will be shooting a lot more with the lens although I think if I’m going to keep revisiting the location I may need to take a different lens each time to keep boredom at bay!