Bluebells 2013

Finally, in honour of the Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend, the sun obliged by shining and in the space of a day we visited four Bluebell woods. A fifth wood (first image below) had been visited a few days earlier when the sun failed to shine.

Wood Burcote

Wood Burcote

It has been my impression this year that the woods are darker than usual  – the result of the bluebells being delayed more than the beech trees, meaning that the canopy seems denser and therefore sunlight is restricted.  But with a choice of woods, there is always something to find.

Dockey Wood, Ashridge Estate

Dockey Wood, Ashridge Estate

In my previous Post – Re-interpreting Blubells – I wrote of my attempts each year to find a different approach to an icon of Spring. Bluebells are not easy to photograph – the haze of blue that you see from a car in passing is the quintessential image, but it can so easily look like an out of focus mess when you try to capture them.

Coton Manor

Coton Manor

The images in this post include some traditional images – they are de rigueur  and still bring delight. This year I found a fern to add interest and variety.


Dockey Wood (compare with Mirror Lens image, below)

Also this year, I have experimented with my 500mm Mirror lens: on a DX camera that equates to a whopping 750mm lens. A tripod is required! A Mirror lens image is immediately identifiable by the donut shaped bokeh. You either love them or hate them. But the lens does have the capability to produce unusually atmospheric images.

Dockey Wood - Mirror Lens image

Dockey Wood – Mirror Lens image

Finally I experimented further with panning during the exposure and motion blur during processing. These techniques yield an appropriately impressionistic approach to this flower although it won’t be to everyone’s taste.

Panned image during exposure plus Gaussian blur in processing

Panned image during exposure plus Gaussian blur in processing

Motion blur created during Processing

Motion blur created during Processing

Hopefully, there is something here for all lovers of the Bluebell season. Do let me have your thoughts – it’s always good to get your comments. And don’t forget to sign up as a subscriber or for RSS feeds.

About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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39 Responses to Bluebells 2013

  1. Gracie says:

    Another beautiful series!

  2. seekraz says:

    Beautiful images, Andy…what a place…..

  3. These are nice – the density and colors of the bluebells reminds me of Texas bluebonnets; in the spring, entire hillsides will be solid blue. ( – not my photos, because bluebonnets don’t grow in my part of Texas.)

    And, put me down as a fan of the donut shaped bokeh.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thank you Melinda. I’ve seen a few image of Bluebonnets recently on some other Blogs and really liked the same blue haze that they create when seen en masse. Glad you like the Bokeh – sometimes they can be rather intrusive,

  4. Chillbrook says:

    Smashing images Andy. I like the vertical panning! 🙂

  5. ken bello says:

    Your lead photo is my favorite but I also like the motion blur photos, as well. They have a nice watercolor quality that I like.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Ken. That first shot was taken in a wood with a large clearing – certainly helps the light – shame the sun didn’t shine that day.

  6. Len says:

    Absolutely killer shots Andy. The great color of Bluebells along the great light and tree trunks make them quite compelling.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Len. I really didn’t think I would have much success this year, but I really enjoyed this day of hunting down some worthwhile images

  7. Fantastic images Andy. I love the vibrancy of the Colors and am really enjoying you creative blurs.

  8. munchow says:

    Those blues are amazing – and beautifully captured. I really like the way you play with the technique to create a variety of images. Well done!

    • LensScaper says:

      Many thanks Otto. When faced with a very familiar object, I always find the best way to approach it is to look for a different ‘angle’. Otherwise one gets stuck in a rut of taking the same old pictures

  9. ehpem says:

    Hi Andy. I love that bokeh too – I probably would have tried a shot (or more likely a crop) with just the bokeh. My favourites are Wood Burcote and the fern frond with a load of bokeh (not titled in the gallery). But, I like them all. It brings back memories of the blue bells at Bushy Park and planted sweeps of flowers (not blue) among trees at Hampton Court (where my wife studied and then taught in a program that used to run at Hampton Court and so I spent lots of time in the area through the cycle of seasons for several years). Around southern Vancouver Island we have Camas that grows in similar ways, but its natural Gary Oak habitat is very much diminished and large areas are now nearly impossible to find.

  10. Jim Nix says:

    wow such beautiful work Andy, great series!

  11. Phillip says:

    Wow Andy, what amazing images. I liked the different shots, close ups, and the ones that you panned. Very creative.

  12. Mike says:

    Love the images Andy. A soul could get lost in there.

  13. I’ve seen photos like this before. Are forests like this common in the UK?. I think it’s such a magical place. I’d love to go there one day. Stunning photos 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      Bluebells are widely scattered across the UK, and I believe through Northern Europe too. I read there are over a 1,000 Bluebell woods in the UK, but how accurate that is I don’t know. Characteristically and classically they are associated with Beech woods but they will grow in other habitats too. We have quite a number in our garden. They are certainly an icon of our Spring.

  14. linhartb says:

    Beautiful pictures! Such dense areas of bluebells – like a purple carpet!

  15. ShimonZ says:

    The whole series is very beautiful. A pleasure to appreciate the scenes with you.

  16. Inspired and pretty says:

    Far from a mess, I think you’ve captured them beautifully. I have never seen something like this where I live, it’s very beautiful. I love the mirror lens and the panned images, it’s very creative 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks for the comment. They are a special feature of our Spring. It’s a challenge for me every year to try and use a slightly different way of capturing them

  17. I have never seen anything like this, so very beautiful

  18. Hi Andy……Followed a link from Scott to have a look at your bluebells…….they are impossible to resist when they carpet the woodland floor. Your varied shots that place the context and provide the details are a pleasure to view. We have some gorgeous bluebell woods here in SW Scotland as well….love the heady aroma.

  19. Beautiful images! I’ve always wanted to have a bluebell woods, inspired by ones in the UK, and have started planting a few bluebells in my own woods. You’ve inspired me anew with these photos!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks so much. We have some bluebells in the orchard area at the foot of our garden. They spread progressively, each year there are a few more.

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