Tag Archives: Epping Forest

Dog walking with Rufus…

Rufus has been with us almost a year. Difficult to imagine the home without him now. He’s been the best in what has been a tough year…


He is either a very intelligent dog, who decides to ignore the pathetic goings-on of the humans around him, or else he is very thick and simply doesn’t understand our commands. Either way, he is clearly very happy.

Processed with Snapseed.

Early morning walks are good – for me as well as the dog! And we’ve been treated to some superb sunrises over the past few days. Here’s my local Caspar David Friedrich tree, just next to the Lizzie Bennet lane…

Processed with Snapseed.

Rufus is very bound-y, just like Tigger, and chasing a ball is absolutely what Rufus does best. Or licking the dishes in the dishwasher – perhaps that is what he does best; or maybe the challenge of a big stick on an early morning walk? No…, I have it, best of all is the chance to go for a swim in water, the smellier the better.


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(I do like that tree – very CDF for sure.)

So long may our dog-master, master-dog morning walks continue. Great fun for us both, and a chance to go hunting for sticks…

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The mycologist in me will out!

OK. So I know I’m pretty obsessed by all things photographic. But I must admit I always thought mushroom photography was a step too far! But no, it seems not. The mycologist in me will out. And finding this rather impressive specimen in the forest, I just had to. I am clearly turning into a weirdo…


Where is all this going? What will I end up photographing next? Buttons? Garbage? Grass clippings? Mind you I didn’t set out to photograph mushrooms. I just sort of came across them. They were there, and clearly demanding to be photographed…







I shall have to kid myself – it was a test: “See if you can make an interesting image out of some fungi!?!” Well, I’ve tried. Now I’ve even gone so far as to look them up. Golden Scalycap no less (Pholiota aurivella)! Seriously Tom, get a grip! Get back to some serious photography, portraits, landscapes, nudes, anything, but keep me away from the ‘shrooms!!!



The Blazing Forest

Wake Valley Pond_press

I have to admit, I’m a teeny weeny bit nervous. Today I’m hanging the pictures for my first exhibition, and I’m wondering if anyone is going to come along to see it, and if they’ll like the images! It’s not as if it’s a big exhibition, it’s not in a prestigious Bond Street gallery (I wish), but it’s 30 of my pictures, & I’m an exhibition virgin, so I’ve come over all shy and apprehensive…





My theme is Epping Forest in the autumn – the Blazing Forest. The tiny world around Epping will vibrate with exquisite colour. The leaves are turning right now. In 4 weeks the forest will be shimmering yellow and burnished gold.  Morning mists, sharp frosts, still ponds, twirling leaves. Come November a storm will hit, the trees are stripped and winter will have arrived.

Wake Valley Pond mist_press



The show is on until 30th October at The View, 6 Rangers Road, Chingford, E4 7QH. If you’re around, come and have a look and make sure my pictures don’t go unseen. If you’re not around, get a plane, train or automobile and come over (joking…). The private view is on Sunday 4th, 2-4pm, and you are all invited. Come, say hi, and have a glass of wine. And enjoy the forest…

Loughton Meanders_press





Engage brain and question…

Is this image too complicated? Compositionally it’s ok – a square halved, lead in line from the top, met by branches from the bottom. But how does the mind ‘get’ this? Confusion? It is, of course, a tree at the top half, and a reflection at the bottom. But because the pond stretches back behind the tree at the top the forest is reflected in the top half too… hence a more complicated image.

Pond reflection

Pond reflection

Actually, that’s why I like it. They eye needs a few seconds more than normal to work it out. Engage the brain.

This one is easier. The post in the water gives it away, the mind recognises reflection straight away and everything falls into place. Easy. But as interesting?

An easy pond reflection

An easy pond reflection

I made this image on the same day. For me this works because the mind can wander – along the path, up out of the image… I find that quite teasing and stimulating. Mind you, I was told the other day that my pics don’t have enough of ‘me’ in them. And this  would be a classic example of that. Going to have to work on harder…

Forest Path

Forest Path

Football vs photography. No contest!

There is one good thing about an early exit from the World Cup – more time for photography!

Golding's Pond

Golding’s Pond


I managed to spend a couple of hours in the forest this morning, processed and published the pictures by the evening. The benefits of digital!

Wake Valley Pond

Wake Valley Pond

Apparently, this pond is infested with terrapins, one of which is meant to be a giant. That’s according to the angler that I chatted to. Mind you, we all know how anglers have a tendency to exaggerate, especially about size…

Sun, reflecting.

Sun, reflecting.


Perhaps he's under the lily pads?

Terrapin, lurking out there somewhere…

Photography vs football. No contest at all. The one gives pleasure, the other pain. I’ll concentrate on the picture making, and the hunt for terrapins!


(By the way, I have a series of articles being published in Black + White Photography on the why certain images create an emotional impact. Check them out and let me know what you think)




Seeking freedom and a bit of wobble!

I was told recently that my photographic style was neat, straight and classic. Well that made me sit up. Actually it made me get off my backside and into the forest to see if I could do something less neat, more wobbly and completely unclassic. Below is the result.

Birch trees in Epping Forest

Birch trees in Epping Forest

I deliberately left the tripod behind. Closed the aperture down, let the shutter speed go to 8 secs plus, and then let the camera wobble. It’s meant to be impressionistic. Pictorial. Un-photographic. Actually I quite like it!

Birch copse

Birch copse

It’s all a bit hit and miss. But fun! Makes a change from trying to get front to back sharpness and perfect exposure for land plus sky… I shall definitely take more images like this.

Dancing trees

Dancing trees

Wonder if anyone else likes these, or whether they just look like shaky camera technique. Let me know… Anyway, back to the classic style for the next post no doubt!

Metamorphosis in the Forest

I’ve swapped the wet – but hot – climate of the Caribbean for the wet and cold climate of Essex. It’s a tough exchange, but there are compensations (some…), namely that Epping Forest is ablaze with colour. Even on a dull day the forest glows.

The colours of autumn

The colours of autumn

The next 3 weeks or so are just the best. Green and yellow now, turning to gold and brown by end November. Then along comes a storm, the leaves are down, and the show is over. Got to enjoy it while it lasts.

Tree canopy

Tree canopy

I saw him before he saw me.

I saw him before he saw me…

Careful, these ones are dangerous!

Careful, these ones are dangerous!

I may even have to force the kids to go for a walk this weekend… It’ll do them good, even if they do squawk and squabble and wish they were in front of the playstation. Could even drag Mrs P along! And then a delicious steaming sausage pie with onion and madeira gravy to cheer everyone up again. Yes, autumn does have its advantages! And luckily I have some spiced rum to remind me of the Caribbean!

A Forest wander.

A Forest wander.

Blazing Forest!


Everything is different in the forest.  Sound, sight, but above all, time. Right now, the forest is at its peak. Blazing with colour. It is holding off the drabness of winter. Time stands still. For a week or two, the forest positively glows, in defiance.

Wake Valley Pond

The colour is spectacular!

Epping Forest is still a secret. It’s on the outskirts of London – still on the tube network! And yet I took this photos this week, and the forest was empty. Not a soul. If there was movement it was deer or squirrel. Sound only from birds and wind (plus the inevitable rumble of traffic in the distance…) Time really does stand still. It’s bliss…

The Lost Pond

Quiet reflections

The Loughton Meanders

The forest is predominantly Beech, hence the yellow and orange. Not too much Ash, thank heavens! A tragedy if the disease were to wipe out the forest. Like a thin finger it stretches 10 miles long, and roughly 1-2 miles wide north/south, right into London. An east London haven and escape.

More meanders

Sentinel trees

The forest has been inhabited for ever. Legend has it that Boudicca, queen of the British and scourge of Roman invaders, was trapped and killed in Ambresbury Banks.

Iron Age fortifications

Boudicca’s resting place

Whether or not the Boudicca legend is true, it feels ancient. Time really does stand still. Breathe deeply, refresh, stop and watch the glory of the season. Then, enough, back to the hurly burly…

Ancient pathways

New growth, the cycle continues.

Woodland in Blue

Last weekend was dreary. I didn’t want to get out of bed. Cocooning warmth vs the eternal drizzle of the wettest spring in decades. But then the inner voice – “you’ve got to go to the Bluebell wood today, because next weekend it will all be gone!” So I dragged myself out of bed, and thank God I did….

The farmer planted rape this year – he’s a colour artist

A the vibrant zing of contrasting colours. In a weird way the incessant mizzling makes the colours leap out even more. The woodland is an enchanting place. No other people around, but the wildlife seems to be erupting everywhere. A cacophony of sound – mainly from the birds; within 15 minutes I’ve seen deer, fox, pheasant, kites, squirrels and rabbits.

stitched panorama

In fact, I think I’ve disturbed the fox. He’s clearly more intent on the pheasant than on me. And once the pheasant explodes into the air, cracking wings and squawking in panic, I swear the fox gives me a disgusted look as he lopes off into the undergrowth.

Woodland track

Having ruined the fox’s breakfast, I then manage to disturb the deer too. In the middle of the wood, surrounded by bluebells, a young deer. Being the advanced photographer that I am, I have the camera switched off, wrong lens, and have to put down tripod and backpack gear before I can raise camera to eye. By that time – no deer anymore. Ah well, that’s one that got away…

Blue star

Even the kite, screeching away as he circles over the wood, seems to mock my efforts to photograph the wildlife. So, thank heavens the flowers can’t move! In contrast to all the fauna, the flora revels in posing for the camera. To the benefit of the enchanted wood! Ah, the warm bed might entice with its soft folds. But that is a momentary pleasure easily forgotten. My morning in the enchanted wood… That will stay with me forever.

Bluebells and rape field

If you liked this post, then try out:

Blue is the colour

Dick Turpin in Epping Forest

Frothy White Easter

The Easter weekend – time to celebrate that Spring has sprung! The hawthorne is out 3 weeks earlier than usual this year, and it looks as spectacular as ever.

The hawthorne blossom

A fluffy delight.

Epping Forest bursts back into life

Wake Valley Pond

Epping Forest country lane

The hawthorne is pretty difficult to photograph – I’m never really satisfied with my shots. But I keep trying, every year. And regardless of the final images, I get a strong sense that Spring is here, bubbling over in its frothy whiteness. Gorgeous! Bring on the warmer weather!!!