Daniel Greenwood

The language of leaves

Posts tagged ‘South Downs’

Cowdray - 12-2-2019 djg-14

Leaving work at five o’clock in the dark is never nice but it depends how you look at it. Inspired by the Dark Night Skies initiative, I made a stop off on my way home to see some stars. I have been photographing trees in the dark since about 2008, mainly of trees under street lamps in south London. It was something to do in those long, drawn out winter evenings. Since then I have started photographing trees in the daylight, too. Having had the chance to volunteer and work in woodland conservation has taught me a lot about trees and their ecology. Having moved away from practical woodland conservation in the day-to-day sense, though still leading the odd tree walk, I am reveling in photographing some of the trees that are found throughout Sussex. One of the trees I have had the pleasure of spending some time with is the Queen Elizabeth I sessile oak in the South Downs National Park. This tree is completely hollow and has perhaps been around for 1000 years.

Cowdray - 13-2-2019 djg-3

Photographing the same tree again and again isn’t always interesting for you or other people. A recent interest in the night sky (the fact I can now see it, being away from a city, rather than knowing anything beyond the moon and the plough) gave me the idea to use the early nightfall to try and photograph this amazingly old tree under the stars.

Cowdray - 13-2-2019 djg-4

The photos were taken with a wide angle lens and a tripod. I used my mobile phone torch to light the tree. The bright light above is the moon, something that plays havoc with night photography due to the fact it outshines many of the stars.

Cowdray - 13-2-2019 hi-res-5

The problem with my phone torch is that it goes off after a while so I had to trot back and forth to keep the light on. In this light the tree looks fleshy and bulbous, quite animal-like I think.

Cowdray - 13-2-2019 djg-7

When the mobile phone torch light did go out, this is how it looked. I like how the branches reach out to the stars and the astronomically-illiterate thought that they might get snagged in them.

Cowdray - 13-2-2019 djg-8

There are many ancient trees at Cowdray Park in West Sussex near Midhurst. It is almost a point of pilgrimage for people who love old trees and feel some kind of emotional connection to the eldest we have left. This oak has lost almost all of its heartwood and has sinewy remnants decaying inside the bark. I love the purple hue in this photo and the way the distortion of the 10mm wide angle lens warps the trees in the background. I love the rawness of the tree in itself and the stars touching the outstretched twigs.

Cowdray Park, West Sussex, South Downs National Park, February 2019

 

 

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Pulborough - 2-3-2019 djg-2

A winter walk around Pulborough in West Sussex, just inside the South Downs National Park. Despite last week’s record high winter temperatures, spring was still absent, bar the odd queen bumblebee and flowering primrose.

Pulborough - 2-3-2019 djg-18

For someone who can’t afford a massive telephoto lens (both in terms of relative biceps and cash), March is the best month to photograph birds. There are no leaves to block them and birds are busy as spring builds. This robin barely moved. The photo has been cropped.

Pulborough - 2-3-2019 djg-20

Let’s see him or her again… I tried to frame the robin against a silvery water body and the green moss of a tree behind. As in, I moved a bit to one side and crouched down a bit.

Pulborough - 2-3-2019 djg-1

The South Downs ridge hangs over Pulborough and gives an extra layer of interest to photographs that might, in counties like Essex and Norfolk, be a little more flat.

Pulborough - 2-3-2019 djg-33

The river Arun runs through Pulborough, a key wetland area in southern England. The sun came out in the afternoon to lift the atmosphere. The South Downs add their irrepressible magic even in shade.

Pulborough - 2-3-2019 djg-51

The silvery wetland areas of the Arun valley. This area was once marshland and has strong evidence of Roman activity and settlement, including a bath house.

Pulborough - 2-3-2019 djg-42

Pulborough Brooks is managed by the RSPB and has a large area of heathland at Wiggonholt Common in addition to the wetlands.Β  The South Downs veer into distance beyond the pines.

Pulborough - 2-3-2019 djg-46

I love the soft palette of a winter heath.

Pulborough, South Downs National Park, West Sussex, March 2019

 

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