Bluebells are one of the happiest flowers, evoking strong emotions and memories. For me, they create a magical feeling of imaginary woodland folk and fairies (don’t tell anyone!) and tales of Winnie the Pooh!
Not quite sure these thoughts were shared by my photography workshop students at Saturday’s Bluebell workshop, but you never know. At the start of our photography workshop, I set a number of small challenges to create a purpose and framework for taking photographs. We discussed what each person wanted to gain, in terms of experience and knowledge, from the photography workshop so that I could adapt plans accordingly.
Our workshop day began with quite a lot of rain, fab! was my first thought – we’ll be sheltered in the woods and the bluebells will have gorgeous droplets and the light will be soft and diffused.
Then the sun came out just before our workshop began and the woods were bathed in a glorious dappled light which changed with every waft of cloud that passed over the sun. Even better!
Sturdy walking boots on, we met outside a church and strode off into the woods, a mere 30 seconds later we were greeted with a breathtaking carpet of blue nestled in soft mossy woodland. Treading carefully and sticking to paths wherever possible we began to take photographs.
Dave knelt down to take some close ups of a patch of bluebells only to discover that his images were looking overexposed and bleached of all detail. We ran through his settings on his camera and discovered that his exposure compensation setting was hugely over exposed by 3 1/3 stops, we had a quick chat, clarified the best way to use these settings, returned the setting to a more normal level and he was happily on his way.
Caroline and Jennie were contorting themselves into unusual angles to take some fabulous photographs & everyone was happily immersed in a bluebell wonderland! Neil concentrated efforts on a wooden grid interspersed with bluebells and we all discussed what could live down one particular animal hole, which we decided must be rabbits.
3 and half hours went sooo fast. We walked through fields, admiring the views of the South Downs Hangars, along the way to photograph three beautiful areas of woodland covered in bluebells. We spotted and photographed butterflies, weird fungi, orchids and ate wild garlic (Neil & I even took some home!) We ended our workshop in the fabulous café/restaurant Fork Handles Kitchen in Petersfield with some freshly made cake and delicious coffee, comparing notes and photos.
So, what did everyone think?
Jennie wrote: “I’m still ploughing through my photos, but I had a great time on Saturday. So much so that I took a friend back to those woods this morning to put into practice what I learnt on Saturday! We even popped over to the waterfall and attempted a few rushing water shots! Need a bit more practice with those, but was fun to try!
I thought the entire afternoon was great! I really enjoyed the ‘Monet’ technique and would love to learn other tricks and techniques, I really enjoyed the challenges too – it was good to have a focus of things to achieve! I’m really looking forward to the coastal one in a few weeks!”
Neil sent a lovely email with his favourite photos: “It was a great opportunity to refresh all that I had learnt with you before and to develop new techniques and skills that you introduced throughout the afternoon. I was delighted with some of the pictures that I managed to take, and you were very patient and helpful throughout. It has refreshed my enthusiasm for experimenting with the camera. Thanks Tina.”
If you’d like to come along to our next location workshop – please get in contact. An up-to-date list of our workshops can be found here. The groups are kept small so that everyone can enjoy some useful tuition and quality photography time.