One of the things which really appeals to me about woodland is how quickly the mood within them can change with the weather. My favourite of the local woodlands is Woolley Wood, which I visit frequently during two key periods in the year (the other being mushroom season).
Woolley Wood has the designation of being a Local Nature Reserve, and lies astonishingly close to Meadowhall shopping centre. In spite of this, its existence comes as a bit of a surprise to many of the people living in the area (but not all)
We’re currently nearing the end of the peak season for bluebells, and over the last three weeks I’ve collected a number of images. I love the contrast of colour at this time of year, and even the greenery seems to come in a huge range of tones.
There is a real charm to English bluebells. Their drooping appearance seems to echo their status as the underdog of the bluebell family, in stark contrast to the bold and brassy posture of their Spanish counterparts. For roughly a month every year, they can transform even the smallest of woods into a dream-like landscape with the most magical appearance.
The following shot taught me a little about how the Tamron 24-70 works. To get this effect, pioneered by Michael Orton in the eighties, I took two frames with the lens focused at different distances. One was in focus, and the other was intentionally over exposed and focused at the shortest possible distance. The blending was done in camera to produce a single RAW image. However, to get the two images to register perfectly, I also had to use two slightly different focal lengths.
This is because when you use close focus distances, the angle of view gets wider. This is a typical trick of zoom lenses. As such, the focused frame was shot at 55mm, and the out of focus frame was shot at 62mm. I used live view to make sure I had lined the images up correctly. This gave a very subtle glow which enhanced the colour of the bluebells.
Since the 24-70 is not a one-trick pony, it was possible to take photos with very different characteristics to them without changing lenses. This week I had a chat with a fellow Tamron user, and reassured her by pointing out that she already has quite a capable close-up lens, even though she has yet to buy a macro lens.
Even six months on, I’m still surprised by the difference in how it feels to use a full frame camera rather than a cropped sensor. The closer working distances really give a more intimate feel to photographs, and the narrower depth field that results from working closer can used to isolate subjects very clearly, even with wide angles (and with a full frame field of view, 35mm feels pretty wide)
The last couple of shots were taken at a different local wood, with straighter stands of trees. I wasn’t impressed with the current management practices in there, but at least I managed a couple of shots.