New Forest 2023

New Forest 2023

After heading to the New Forest for the first time last year with Mark Bauer, I decided to come back again for another day on my own to see how I fared, and hopefully get some shots we were unable to before.

Mogshade Hill

I was going to follow an identical route to what I did the year before with Mark, so that meant starting at the crack of dawn at Mogshade Hill. I started at the ponds at the top, which I previously attempted but didn't get anything I liked. This time I got something a bit more to my liking.

Sunrise at Mogshade Hill. 0.8s @f/10

The was just a touch of colour in the sky and the pond was fuller, giving me a much bigger reflection to play with.

As before, once this bit was done, I headed down the hill, but conversely this time the light just didn't quite work and there were next to no clouds in the sky to add any interest.

Blackwater Aboretum

Following the route as before (and enjoying breakfast in Lyndhurst) it was then on to Blackwater Aboretum. This time the river was running much higher, so I went with a slightly more familiar shot for me, a long(ish) exposure of some water.

River through Blackwater. 3s @ f/22

I found a nice, gnarled tree branch to act as some foreground interest, and the colour of the water was a beautiful rusty brown. To try and get some movement in the water I forced this shot to 3 seconds, which left some slightly funny shaped streaks in the water, which were actually from the foam you can see being deposited in the little tufts of grass in the middle. My only issue with this shot was some of the highlights got a bit blown (on the tree branch and on the foliage to the right of the image), but overall I was quite pleased with how this came out.


Onwards to Bolderwood. I started with the same shot by the road as before, but I cropped this to a wide ratio to cut out some of the unnecessary clutter and being focus to the road and colours of the woodland.

Bolderwood. 1/20s @ f/11

I turned down a nearby track, trying to find some nice birch trees to shoot against the autumnal colours, when I spotted this lone tree sat squat on its own.

Lone tree at Bolderwood. 1/160s @ f/11

When I glanced over the light hit it really nicely, highlighting it against the denser forest behind it, so I scrambled over to position and waited (and waited...) until the light hit it again.

After this I looped back to a place Mark found last year whilst I was with him, where some colourful trees arc over a small bridge down an unimposing track.

Autumn down the track at Bolderwood. 1/2s @ f/16

This one I applied a little bit of post production magic (over and above what I would usually do) which gave the trees a slightly soft, mystical effect, particularly in the deeper parts of the image. I don't think I pushed it too far and hopefully the effect is subtle enough you wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't told you!

Finally, I decided to try and do something I don't normally do, an ICM (Intentional Camera Movement) photo.

For the uninitiated, ICM photography is just a fancy way of saying you wiggled your camera about a bit when you took the photo, something we normally take great strides in preventing.

I'll be honest, never been a huge fan of these, but I wanted to try and be just a tiny bit more experimental every now and then, so gave it a go.

Woodland Bluriness! 15s @ f/14. Bounced on a tripod

I must say, I don't hate it. High praise indeed. I enjoyed the process of capturing it. Having to think in a different way about the basics of colour and patterns, and then the technical side of actually doing it. I took the very scientific approach of rocking my tripod back and forth and seeing what happens, I'm sure there are better ways of doing it!

This type of image works particularly well in the New Forest at Autumn, and is a little bit of a cliché, with the silver birches providing the striking lines and the autumn leaves giving some colour.

Rockford Common/Ibbsley Common

Finally it was off Rockford Common, a location I went to last year just as the weather started turning grey and drizzly. Thankfully this time, it was much nicer!

Winding through autumn. 1/60s @ f/18

Looking East from a track on the common, you can see this nice S-bend in the road. A large fluffy cloud was passing at the time, so I waited for it to centre before hitting the shutter.

As the sun started dipping, some heavy clouds started appearing in the distance over Ibbsley Common.

Drama over Ibbsley Common. 1/50s @ f/13

This was a shot I tried to get the the year before, with the individual trees in the middle making a nice focal point, and the foreground trees with a lovely mix of colour. The added drama of the clouds contrasting with the bright, autumnal pre-sunset light was the icing on the cake.

And finally, whilst waiting for the above image to materialise, I checked behind me to make sure the weather wasn't sneaking up on me, and saw this fantastic cloud formation appear.

Rockford Common. 1/400s @ f/13

The lone tree looked like it was bending in a similar direction to the clouds, which was a nice touch.

Overall, this was a successful trip, and it was a nice boost to see that I could go to these places and not only get some shots that I'd tried before, but also find some of my own. I have no issue taking shots others have a million times before, as I believe every photograph has something unique about it, no matter how many people have photographed it, but its always nice to come away with a few bits that feel uniquely your own!