Having had almost no photography inspiration so far this year, I finally felt motivated to spend a couple of days out there as the weather-forecast was for frost and snow. My parents were away, so I looked after their house too. I arrived on Saturday evening to find the ground white with a light covering of snow, but by Sunday morning it had gone. I did a little photo trip out in the afternoon to catch the last light and sunset, leaving the dog at home (he's no help when I'm trying to take photos - very impatient little chap).
The sun came up as I reached the river. Unfortunately, just below Latimer House the riverside is private fishing land, so I had to walk along the path set back from the river with barbed-wire fences blocking off the river. I would love to have been at the water's edge to catch the reflections of the winter trees. I chatted to a man on the first bridge who pointed out a kingfisher in a nearby branch overhanging the river.
Eventually I had to head back - the dog's breakfast time had long gone past, so I rushed back up the hill, through the woods, arriving back to a very hungry dog. I headed out again in the afternoon, this time taking Henry to the woods with me. As expected he got very impatient if I stopped to take photos, and he also got very muddy.
On the way home I tried a few panning shots of the bare tree trunks, but I didn't have my tripod or polariser filter, so they were a bit shaky, and the colours not quite right. Will try again one day...
The following morning both frost and fog were forecast, and I was quite excited about that! I couldn't quite work out where the best spot to go would be. From the top of the woods there was a view over the distant hills, which would look nice in fog, I thought, but also the river valley would look stunning. Unfortunately I don't have a car, so wherever I chose required walking. I hadn't brought my 70-200mm lens with me, so any landscape shots were a little too wide to get the fog on the hills in the way I wanted. Lesson learnt!
I headed out at 7.30, this time having fed the dog first, so I didn't have to rush back. A light fog hung over the trees behind my parents' house.
I could have spent all day there, if only my toes weren't frozen and a warm welcoming dog wasn't beckoning. I revisited the dead nettles, startled a massive rabbit that quickly hopped away to safety, and went on one field across, where a flock of sheep came to investigate me.
The sheep were a little menacing to start with, all coming down to a small stream, on the other side of which I was standing. One then came around the edge of the stream and towards me. Not knowing much about sheep I did feel a little anxious, although they didn't look like the type to ambush and trample me! After a few minutes a farmer appeared at the other end of the field with a couple of buckets and off they trotted for their lunch. They eventually wandered back towards me after the farmer had reassured me that they were just been friendly (and hungry).
I investigated some great frozen puddles and the sheep came with me. I left feeling quiet endeared with them!
I had to break myself away, as it was already midday, and some of my toes were definitely in need of some warmth. As I climbed over the fence to leave the field a tiny muntjac deer darted out of the undergrowth and hopped away. A van pulled up alongside me as I wandered up the road and the driver asked me about my camera. Again I felt a little nervous being a female photographer out alone in the middle of nowhere. It turned out that he just wanted to share with me that his similar camera had broken, but I did feel a little uneasy (must be the suspicious Londoner in me). I hurried back through the woods, and home to an extremely happy dog and the luxury of warm feet!
It had been a great couple of days, and when I returned to London I was welcomed by a package containing some new Tiffen ND filters for me to play with, so hopefully the motivation to go out and shoot won't end there!