Adventures in Photography Challenge Day Three

Day 3 of my photography challenge – Staverton Thicks

Today I was prepared for the fog and decided to head for the woods to take my three images. My mission for today was to create a triptych from the woods. This is essentially 3 panels displayed side by side but instead of being three random images they should have a common theme and should sit well together. They should say something about the subject they depict – together they should be greater than the sum of their parts. In other words each shot should be compelling in its own right but when displayed together all three should convey more about the subject than they would alone.

I am currently in the middle of a two year project to capture the beauty of Staverton Thicks, a small area of ancient woodland just outside Butley. As this is such an atmospheric place I thought I would see what it looked like in todays misty conditions.

Despite being fairly dense on the coast the fog didn’t seem to penetrate the woods as much as I had hoped. I arrived just before sunrise and set about looking for some compositions. I decided that I wanted my triptych to feature some of the characterful tree stumps that litter the wood.

Every time I visit Staverton I am reminded what a special place it is. It was so peaceful and the trees were full of small birds who seemed to accompany me wherever I walked. I used my 24-70mm lens today without any filters but with a tripod as the light was quite low despite the fog.

Staverton is a really chaotic environment so the trick is to find subjects which can be isolated from their backgrounds. This is not always easy, but the fog helped. My first image was shot at F5.6 with a 0.3 second exposure at 29mm. I used a shallow depth of field to try and isolate the tree stump from is busy background.

My second image (left) was shot at F11 with a 0.5 second exposure at 34mm. This image was all about the front tree stump with its characterful shape and beautiful range of colours but I also wanted to mirror the tree behind and include some of the holly foliage to create a colourful background.

My third shot features this huge oak tree which caught my eye because of the width of its trunk. I was once told that you could tell the age of a tree by the number of people it took to link hands and circle the trunk. By this method I reckon this tree (right) has to be at
least 500 years old. This image was shot at F14 with a 0.5 second exposure at 24mm.

Putting all three images together I have created my triptych with I hope conveys the essence of the woods on a foggy winters morning.