Bluebells in Oakley Wood:
There are a number of areas in Oakley Wood to photograph the bluebells but one of the best of them is the area around what is known as ‘The Fort’.
Time of Day/Lighting
All kinds of light have their advantage here but strong contrasty light is perhaps the most difficult to manage. Soft light is more straight forward.
Take a tripod. I’m not a great user of tripods but here, where accurate focusing and control of the depth of field are important aspects, a tripod or camera support will be very useful.
Wide angle – will give you a large swathe of the bluebell carpet but at the same time may reduce their impact.
Telezoom – Shortens the perspective and will give the impression of lots more flowers than there are.
Macro – Best choice for showing individual flowers.
Fisheye – Gives a ‘different’ perspective and an unusual viewpoint.
You can get interesting results with almost any lens but on the whole, close up lenses used to isolate individual flowers works well.
It is not a ‘point and shoot’ exercise. The challenge is to get a simple uncluttered composition. ‘Tidying up’ is acceptable so long as no extra damage results. Try different angles and try to compare high and low viewpoints. The best pictures will be the ones that are a bit different from the obvious.
Shoot in RAW and ‘shoot to the right ie. Make sure you are getting good detail in the dark areas. Be careful to not overexpose as this will result in loss of information in the burnt out areas.
Modern cameras work well in ‘Auto White Balance’ and contrary to common belief amongst some less enlightened judges, the colour will vary from pale violet through blue to strong purples. However, if there is strong sunlight setting the white balance to ‘sunny’ will help to keep the colour ‘true’.
Change the viewpoint regularly. Try moving the camera vertically or horizontally whilst shooting at low speed (try 1/8th to 1/15th sec).
Don’t forget that other things are going on in the wood at the same time so don’t miss opportunities because you are too engrossed in bluebells.
The gallery with members' photos of the wood is here.
Details of the outdoor field trip workshop on Sunday 30th. April 2017 at 11:00 am is here.