Photographing woodland ecosystems, Wednesday 15th JUNE in the evening

Posted on 16th June 2016

When writing the grant, we planned a lovely summer evening photographing all the summer-flowering woodland wildflowers and trees in the summertime. I checked to see if all the summer wildflowers and summer trees in summer were there the day before and they were. Saltburn Valley Gardens positively sparkled…it was great in a summery way.




So we started with a bit of health and safety; steep paths can be slippery when wet, look out for dog poo (there wasn’t any – well done dog owners) and don’t look at plants whilst walking along a coggley path in the woods unless you want to end up looking really, really closely at them; either walk, or look at plants, but don’t do both.

Then I covered a few practical pointers for photography in general; make sure you charge the battery, check the settings on the camera are as you want because if, to take a random example, you are trying to take a photograph for ten minutes but the stupid thing isn’t working properly it may be because you have knocked it by accident onto the video setting and it is recording everything you have been saying for the last ten minutes whilst trying to take a photograph, and finally before you travel to a site make sure you have packed the camera in the car…we’ve all been there. Oh, and it’s really not worth bothering with photography in the pouring rain as everything gets very wet.

We then all set off in the rain to look at the flowers.


I talked about trying to position yourself so that you take a photo that is clear and shows some of the flower, the leaves and the stem whilst having a background that doesn’t distract from the flower, and people got wet.


I demonstrated the use of a wet umbrella to point out a particularly interesting woodland wildflower (sanicle), mentioned some other wildflowers that open when it is sunny that we would have seen more easily if it was sunny, and people got wet.


I talked about arty photos and it was wet.


We walked through a really gloomy bit of woodland where I was going to talk about photographing plants in gloomy conditions, but it was too dark to see the plants.


Then, excitingly, we all walked out into the open to look at some really genuinely interesting plants of the locally scarce orchid Common Twayblade…and there were lots of them, although looking a bit wet in the rain. Erm …yes it is in full flower, they were green-ish and if you looked really closely they are a bit like a man with really long legs.


At the end of the workshop Kate asked for comments on what people had thought of the event so we had feedback to give to the project funders the National Lottery via the Heritage Lottery Fund.

  • It was good – excellent effort considering difficult weather conditions
  • Wet but very interesting – good advice on settings and how to best photograph the features of plants
  • Weather meant we couldn’t practice
  • Rather wet unfortunately, but useful for future photographs
  • Light hearted in view of the weather

Thanks to Kate for the photos of everyone looking wet, but in a cheerful summery sort of way.