It's bluebell season. My Instagram feed is awash with beautiful photographs of woodland scenes, the earth covered in swathes of beautiful bluebells.
I haven't found a photogenic bluebell wood close to where I live. Not really surprising as I live in a city. The park doesn't really have many bluebells. The deer probably eat them. The Isabella Plantation within the park does have bluebells, but it isn't exactly a wild woodland. It's a very carefully managed area of the park, fenced off from the deer. There is a lovely bluebell walk within it's grounds, but the bluebells are roped off, as the human visitors can't be trusted to not stomp all over them.
Bluebells are a very sensitive flower. If they are damaged it can take years for them to recover. In the UK, it is against the law to pick, dig them up or destroy them. Apparently, half of the world's bluebells grow in the UK!
I decided to cycle over to the Isabella Plantation with my 80-400mm lens and macro lens. In the absence of a wild woodland (preferably in misty conditions!), I thought that by using my long lens and shooting wide open, I could create some atmosphere using depth of field, rather than relying on the weather. It was nearly 3 hours after sunrise, and I wouldn't usually dream of heading out so late in the morning. I took just my camera with these 2 lenses, and a tripod. It was rather liberating not carrying my own body weight in camera gear, and having a bit of a lie in.
I found a quiet corner of the plantation, and completely lost track of time, crawling around on my hands and knees on one of the paths, with my camera attached to the tripod, trying to make sense of the bluebells and ferns and foliage. It was really relaxing not having to worry about the losing the light, as the light was already pretty boring - cloudy and dull. It was rather nice for shooting bluebells though....
I decided to take a wander and found this little scene, with the a nice patch of bluebells growing under the tree.
I LOVE the way the trees look at the moment. The perfect new leaves look incredible. I really hope that we get some misty woodland weather soon as I'm desperate to take some woodland images.....
This is a close up of a bush of amazing pink flowers. The Isabella Plantation is a very beautiful and carefully curated garden. In the spring it is a riot of colour, as everything starts to blossom. Don't ask me what this plant is - it just caught my eye, and so I took a photo of it. :)
The image below is a photograph that I took around this time last year, when I was up north visiting family. It's a woodland just 10 minutes walk from my old childhood home, and it was full of bluebells. The weather was actually quite wild during my visit - lots of wind. Definitely no mist! I think this photograph was the first time I tried to take a woodland image without misty atmosphere. All things considered, I was actually rather happy with how it turned out.
I've decided to enter this image into the @photofeed 'Around the World Contest' in the Europe category. Bluebells are only found in Europe, and so I thought it would be an appropriate entry.
On the way back to where I'd locked my bike, I met a very shy Mandarin duck. These ducks have the most amazing feathers. They're absolutely beautiful looking birds.