Bluebell Wood Photography Project

June 05, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

For most of my life, I didn’t realise that bluebell woods are actually quite a British thing. Bluebells are something we take for granted in the UK, but in fact not many other countries are treated to this annual floral carpet. Bluebells require the climate, tree cover, and ancient woodland that we have here, and some of my favourites are amongst primarily beech tree woods.

I’m lucky to have a spectacular bluebell woodland not far from me, and since my first occasional visits, I’ve never really dedicated enough attention to the subject. So this year, I was determined to get out at every opportunity during bluebell season, and collect a series of photos documenting the changing nature of the flowering woodland, in various light and weather conditions.

On my first visit, the trees didn’t have many leaves on them, and the bluebells were seizing their opportunity to come into flower…

I’ve always enjoyed woodland pathway photos, and I was pleased to have taken what I consider my best yet, from the same point I’d tried two years previously…

The sun lighting up a pathway through a springtime bluebell wood.Bluebell CathedralThe late evening sun illuminating a corridor through the bluebell woods.
Spring is a fantastically busy season, and the bluebells flowering is the first sign that summer is on it's way.
Part of a
bluebell landscape project.
Landscape Photography, UK.

 

I also tried some panoramas and this was my favourite, comprised of several photos stitched together to create a wide-aspect woodland scene…

Panorama of a bluebell wood, as sunset approaches; painting the bluebells purple and goldBluebell Wood PanoramaThis is a super-wide, super-large image created from several photos stitched together, to best represent that feeling of being surrounded by woodland. The sun is setting to the right of the image, and the long shadows of the trees create a depth and texture to light on the carpet of bluebells below.
Part of a
bluebell landscape project.
Fine Art Landscape Photography, Bedfordshire, UK.

As the leaves sprouted and the canopy increased, the bluebells had taken over on the ground below…

The low sun is setting behind the trees and bluebells of a Bedfordshire woodlandLow Sun in the Bluebell WoodThe green trees are painted gold by the setting sun, and the bluebells are illuminated from behind. The sun is placed to one side here, so we see the shadows of the trees stretching out at an angle.
Part of a
bluebell landscape project.
Fine Art Landscape Photography, Bedfordshire, UK.

In strong winds, I was able to blur the movement of the trees to create an ethereal sketch-like mood to the images…

wide-aspect photo of a bluebell wood, with blurred tree movementBluebell Wood BlurThis was a shot I really wanted to get. It uses a slow exposure to capture the movement in the branches of the trees and create a blurry, painterly effect. It's also a wide-aspect photo, which is very effective for woodland images.
Part of a
bluebell landscape project.
Fine art nature photography, Bedfordshire, UK.

 

 

I also played with black and white images, which I think worked really well in the more graphic compositions, like below… Sunset in a bluebell wood, shown in black and whiteWoodland Sunset (B&W)In fact this is a bluebell wood, presented in black and white, to accentuate the contrasting lines and tones.
Part of a
bluebell landscape project.
Black and White Nature Photography, Bedfordshire, UK.

The more I visited, the better practiced I got at handling the brightness of the setting sun, combined with the darkness of the tree’s shadows, and this was my last image as the sun set on my final visit…

The sun sets behind the bluebell wood, highlighting the bluebells carpetBluebell Wood - Low Centre SunWhen the sun is this low, the shadows of the woodland trees are almost the star of the show. Combined with the colour of the back-lit bluebells, and the setting sun, it's an image I really like.
Part of a
bluebell landscape project.
Fine Art Landscape Photography, Bedfordshire, UK.

Post by George Wheelhouse, 2015.


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