New Forest with Mark Bauer

New Forest with Mark Bauer

In early autumn I went on a one to one workshop with pro landscape photographer Mark Bauer, to the New Forest, just over the border in Hampshire. Autumn is the ideal time for most photographers to wander into the woods, and with the New Forest pretty much on my doorstep it was pretty shocking I'd never done it before. I'd always struggled shooting in wooded areas, as I found it hard to find order amongst the chaos, so this was one area Mark said we would focus on, but first, it was off to Mogshade Hill for a sunrise.

We started at a pond at the top of the hill. Whilst the reflections were nice the elements didn't quite align exactly as I wanted, but its always worth showing off the failures as well as the successes.

Pond at Mogshade Hill. 2s @ f/11

Luckily I did go back a year later and got a shot I preferred. I'm not sure what it was about this one I didn't like, just didn't inspire me.

Down the hill a bit further, there are some very photogenic birch trees. This year there had been quite a drought across the UK which had affected a lot of the trees, but once the sun hit these trees they still lit up very nicely. I lined up this shot (with some guidance from Mark!) so all three trees could be individually seen, and whilst the sky didn't give us the epic sunrise show we were hoping for, there were some nice high wispy clouds.

Birch trees in the morning sun. 1/15s @ f11

I do wish I'd chosen a faster shutter speed as there is some movement in the branches at the very edge. Live and learn.

After this, and some breakfast, we headed into the forest, specifically Blackwater Aboretum. This is a great place to just wander around and get lost. My objective was to try and find some order within the chaos, and after lots of prompting and directing, I came away with a few images I was happy with and a much better understanding on how to find that order and pick out what you want. The trees were still remarkably green for the time of year, but there were still some nice colours and patterns to pick out, starting with this nicely framed bridge.

Bridge over the river. 1/15s @ f11

Then a telephoto shot of some nice shapely trees. A little mist would have been lovely here.

Trees in Bolderwood. 1/10s @ f22

And finally this colourful, low spreading tree showing off its leaves.

Spread of colour. 1/20s @ f11

After some more exploring, we headed to Bolderwood, but the weather was starting to turn, so usable images were a little in short supply. I did however get to see a number of spots which I would go back to next year and capture, which was an added bonus of going around with a pro who knew the area.

All in all it was an excellent day which taught me a heck of a lot about an area of photography I was severely lacking in. I was thrilled when I went back the year after and was able to fill in some gaps on my own. If you get a chance, Mark is well worth spending the day with. You can book individual or small group 1 to 1s on his website covering various locales around Dorset (and the New Forest of course), and he also does courses through Dawn 2 Dusk with a number of other fantastic photographers. I'm not getting paid for these recommendations😄