It’s this time of year again…

Currently I have a few spare moments – which this close to Christmas I’m feeling pretty smug about -and I thought I would share some of the most recent photos I’ve been taking.

Every year a managed forest called Westonbirt Arboretum located between Bath and Cirencester puts on a fantastic winter wonderland.

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After the typical food stall and a mini Christmas market the real show begins. It’s a little hard to explain, so bear with me. The organisers use lights, music and interactivity to set up a series of mini exhibits which show some of natures giants in an completely different way to usual. Whilst nothing can compare to the golden hours to show off the trees and forests or the blue hours for silhouette – the uplighting used by Westonbirt makes the texture of the bark pop like no other.

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The lights can bring out hidden features that I never would have noticed otherwise – now this may be just the fact that I have looked at this photograph for far too long but I’ll be damned if I can’t see an owl in this picture.

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And I’m pretty certain something upset this tree…

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There are all sorts of ways they encourage interactivity, from trees that light up when you drum on different tree stumps to ones that light up when you sing or play music into a microphone to – my favourite- one that fires smoke rings at you. All in all I was pretty happy with the way these photos came out. I had gone last year but didn’t have a tripod and was struggling to avoid camera shake, especially in the cold! But this year I took it with me but came up against a new problem – lack of time. We had been delayed in getting to the woods and hadn’t checked the closing time. So after we had only been in around 15min a group of very polite and apologetic volunteers came and told us that is was closing in the next 20min. Not ideal for setting up shots and tripods! So, I will go and try again next year, armed with tripod, gloves, remote shutter etc – and a list of the opening and closing times!

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On the same weekend, the town I live in held it’s annual Reindeer and Santa procession through the high street. Though I have been before, this is the first time I took my camera – and well, it was a bit of a disaster. From pushchairs and buggies blocking the pavements ahead to people ignoring barricades and standing right in front of my lens to the sheer numbers of people in high – vis jackets it seemed like everything was conspiring against me! Next year I get a high vis jacket myself and pretend to be an official photographer – there were so many “officials” there that it would be impossible to keep track of them all! Now I don’t want to appear rude to the organisers – it’s a great event and one that should continue for many years to come. In the end, I think I only have one usable photograph of the reindeer and none of the procession. I can’t blame the situation for that – the pro’s get shots of every even they go to and I must aspire to that.

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In case I don’t get a chance to blog between now and then – I wish you all a Merry Christmas  and a very happy new year!

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