Pond at Baldwin's Hill
At last, the snow has arrived! And with a blast. Now I know that for other parts of the world a 10 inch dump of snow is not particularly interesting, but around here, 15 miles outside of London, that’s awesome. Epping Forest is immediately transformed into a winter wonderland, hushed and still.
The still forest
Tomorrow we will all complain about not being able to get around. The traffic will be awful and the tube won’t run. But today, we can enjoy the beauty and the transformation.
The trees are shivering
The snow seems to strip the world of colour. None of these pix have been changed into black and white – these are the straight colour shots.
tracks in the snow
And I guess that’s where the transformation really comes from. The overloading effect of colour is blanketed by the white. Just for a day or two. Magical!
A path through the forest
I managed to get a couple of hours free this last weekend, so I shot off into the Forest. It’s at its greenest right now, and after a shower (of which there were many this weekend) it fairly glistens…
The Forest is full of tales. The tree below for instance, is close to the Lost Pond which is on the edge of Loughton Camp, an iron age fort. This is where Dick Turpin, robber and highwayman had his hideout. There’s probably booty buried nearby, waiting to be discovered. Lots of places to hide such stuff round here! If there were buried treasure under this tree, it wouldn’t be giving up any secrets too quickly. Look how it grips the earth!
Gripping tight to the earth
All these pics are taken in the same area, about a mile into the Forest from Epping. This spot below is probably my favourite in the whole Forest. It’s a stream which twists and turns and coils upon itself. It snakes down through the Forest. And just here there is a beech tree growing on one of the meanders. Will it make it to maturity, or will the stream cut it off? I’ll probably never know as time has its own pace in the Forest, and I won’t be around to see the resolution of this particular race.
Meandering along Loughton brook
So here’s a little look into Epping Forest. I’ll be back here with more photos later in the year when the colours turn orange and yellow. And stories of Queen Boudica’s stand against the Romans – all in Epping Forest!
Every year I go out and try and take a good photo of the bluebells. It’s not easy – the blue comes out purple if there’s any sunshine because the flowers reflect ultra violet. So the recent weather hasn’t exactly been good for (bluebell) photography! On reflection, I think the best weather for bluebells is mizzle but we’ve had solid sunshine for weeks and weeks now Bring back the rain (joking – we Brits are simply never happy whatever the weather!!!)
The straight shot
Below I’ve gone for the abstract view and played about with the camera. Quite liberating! (Honest, this wasn’t just me dropping the camera at the wrong (right?) moment…
The abstract shot
A friend has got a print of this one in his loo. Freshens things up, I suppose….
The classic shot
This is one of my earliest pictures – on Velvia film, hence the slightly weird colour cast I think. From a bluebell wood just of the A59 near Poppleton, York.
My favourite shot
The year both began and ended with a huge dump of snow! Well, I say huge – it was about 4-6 inches around here, which, as many of my friends from overseas tell me, is pathetic. But in true English fashion everything comes to a halt as soon as the first few flakes begin to fall. I was telling a Russian colleague that the kids had got a few days off school and he commented (drily) that in Moscow they only shut the scholls when the temperature gets to -30 degrees centigrade. Mmmm, that puts it into perspective…
Fresh Snow Fall
OK, so -30 is real weather. But even so, a few inches of snow makes Epping Forest look magical! So these are some of the pics I took back in Jan 2010 just a mile from the house at the nearest lake in the Forest. I love the way the snow seems to make everything quite abstract, and I think the black and white helps emphasise that.
In an odd way the snow seems to make it easier to photograph the Forest. In the full riot of Spring and Summer it gets difficult to see what to focus on, too much going on, the Forest all crowding in upon itself. In Winter, especially with the snow, the sightlines seem reduced, the views become foreshortened, and its easier to pick out a point of focus. Like the tufts of snow collecting at the base of the reeds.
Here’s the overview of the lake. Very hidden and secretive, although it’s only 20 yards from the main road, it’s a lovely spot. ‘Foresty’. And in the depths of winter, it feels isolated and unchanged for ever. A good place to focus the camera lens.
The Wintry Lake