Friday, 8 November 2013

Day 312 : a fun day with fungi

After attending my first Robert Canis workshop back in May where we cavorted in bluebells I suspected that I'd be back in another season. This time we’re in a different wood looking for Autumnal inspiration. I’d set my heart on some baby fungus shots but was also keen to find some perfect sweet chestnut specimens.
Robert had cased the joint and warned us we’d need wellies. Hmmm, hiking boots are my normal nod to sensible footwear but I guess if there is a total mud-fest my hiking boots aren't going to cut it. My first problem with wellies, being an inveterate high-heel wearer, is that they're rather flat. I did once try on some wedge-heeled wellies whilst visiting Oxford, and that takes me neatly to my second issues with wellies. Rubber! I'm allergic to rubber! If there was any doubt, it took me maybe a minute or two to don said wellies and then about 40 minutes to have them laboriously pulled off. The first minute or two were okay and then my feet and legs blew up in a violent reaction to the rubber and then the more we struggled to get them off, the hotter I became which always exacerbates the whole anti-rubber reaction. But if I did some research I reckoned I could at least procure non-rubber wellies, a slight heel would be a great, but unlikely, bonus. So leopard print wellies duly scored, not much of a heel though! But at least I'm prepared for what mighty puddles and mud may await us in a Kent woodland.
I don't quite get there in time, annoyingly, it’s a right old trek involving a bus, a tube, another tube and hopefully a train but then it turned out to be yet another train and then a taxi. And then I'm there suitably booted in Blean Woods. Everyone else has seen some of Robert’s inspirational photographs as this is a familiar stomping ground for him.
I try to catch up and first I'm drawn to screwing on the closer ups filters and checking out some fine sweet but oh so prickly chestnuts. They are really well protected with their vicious spines but I have to tweak one a little to get the angle I desire. The only safe way to relocate the spiky creatures was to gently grab the fleshy bit between two long finger nails and shift them to a more desirable pose.
After the sweet chestnuts, I experimented with ferns, some still verdant and frondy and others brown and crispy against the background of the wood. A couple of weeks ago I was photographing in Cambridge Heath park and the colours were reds, oranges and ochres. Likewise more recently in Richmond, the place is awash with vibrant hues which my camera loves. This wood is older, the abundance of oak trees eschews the orange and red palettes so it’s all shades of brown, with a smattering greens and yellows from the mosses and leaves not turned for Autumn yet.
I'm fascinated by the edged of crenelated leaves against the soft focus bokeh of the surrounding trees.
Robert found a fabulous acorn that had started sprouting into a tiny oak treelet. He found a a mossy covered cradle between two gnarly trees and placed it there. He knows there's great potential but he’s here to tutor us so he resolves to return on another to capture the shot. As he's set it up so nicely, it seems rude not to nip in there and try myself before he finds a safe spot to secrete the acorn for his next visit. I hope a squirrel doesn't discover his hidey-hole.
I've been hankering for a perfect fungi specimen and Robert spotted some teeny, tiny parasol that he believes will be entirely up my boulevard growing on a old tree stump on his last trip. It transpires to be very me, a miniature umbrella emerging out from a clump of delicate moss. The parasol is a perfect pearlescent miniature dome with its woody backdrop. Everyone is eager to have a go so I relinquish my spot for the next photographer.
I move to more fungi, much larger this time so no need for close up filters. This one isn’t so handily located on an elevated tree stump so I have to practically lie face down on my groundsheet square to get up close and personal.
Higher up my eye alight on a little arrangement of leaves that also have a single blade of grass bisecting the oak leaf splashed with the earlier rain.
Spinning around there's another intriguing fungus, hmmm my mind turns to mushroom risotto, is it lunchtime yet?
Thrusting through the carpet of fallen oak leaves is a baby oak tree. It's already proved resilient as it has withstood several waterproof blankets flung over it and a Wellington boot planted dangerously close. I'm assuming a mighty oak will eventually arise from this spot.
We’re due to pack up soon but a lone leaf hanging by a silken thread of spider web is being whipped around by the burgeoning wind. I'm determined to capture the cavorting leaf.
I had intended to stay on in Blean Wood but at the time of the workshop finishing the rain started and I'm a fair weather photographer. After the rain I'm there, but I am not so keen of being in the middle of it all. Lunch is definitely a good idea and MS kindly offers to drive us to find some hearty pub food. The first pub we try is being converted to offices, curiously, so we end up in a garden centre. Not only do we procure a bowl of soul-warming macaroni cheese we discover some fine knee pads for future crawling on the ground photography excursions. Score!

No comments:

Post a Comment