Nature Connections Day One – 30 Days Wild
The 1st June marks the start of the Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild Campaign, an initiative set up to help promote a connection with the natural world. The campaign encourages participants to seek out ‘random acts off wildness’ everyday for the month of June.
This year I thought I would take part photographically with a daily photograph and blog post that represents my connections with the natural world.
I love spending time in nature – it is my way of staying grounded in a fast paced and often stressful world. I have been taking landscape photographs for many years and firmly believe that having a good connection with the natural world will make you a better photographer. Connecting means slowing down, observing what is around you (with all your senses) and learning about your environment and the animals and plants that you share it with.
For my first photograph I drove out to Staverton Thicks – one of my favourite places on the Suffolk Coast. I arrived about 7am and the sun was already high in the sky resulting in some fairly contrasty scenes.
As I entered the welcoming shade of the wood I was startled by numerous squirrels who, disturbed by my presence, scattered in all directions and took to the trees. The momentary commotion soon subsided and peace returned to the wood.
I followed the dappled sunlit path past ancient oaks, towering hollies and flowering rowans. Above me blue tits and great tits foraged for caterpillars amongst the verdant oak leaves and higher still a couple of shelducks chattered as they flew above the canopy.
The air was cool beneath the trees and smelt of soil and blossom, a heady combination that felt fantastically calming.
Spring was finally taking hold of the wood. The stark woodland floor was scattered with unfurling bracken fronds and where the sunlight hit the ground common stitchwort and bluebells grew amongst the grass. At the back of the wood the white rhododendron flowers shone brightly in the sunshine.
Recently I have begun to run a series of workshops which have nature connection as their central theme. These ‘Part of the Landscape’ sessions are accompanied by a free workbook which is all about contemplative photography and connecting with the landscape.
I was only in the woods for an hour or so but it was an hour well spent.