Caroline Shipsey

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Bluebell Time in the UK

It's been a sweltering week with temperatures more akin to July or August and this has brought the bluebells into flower really quickly.

I'm Bluebell obsessed - there are places I visit every year, almost like making pilgrimages. It's quite a frustrating exercise because I never find quite what I envision, a deep blue carpet stretching into the distance with a few beech trees strategically placed with some dappled light coming through their fresh, new leaves.

Second choice is a winding path flanked with bluebells and a deer looking straight into the camera, standing in a patch of sunlight - dream on Caroline!

The reality is that the woods where 'my' bluebells grow have patches of scrubby brambles, fallen branches, and other vegetation that intrudes into my blue dream with annoying splashes of yellow or just too much plain green.

The colour of Bluebells has always been notoriously difficult to reproduce both on film and digitally. More than any other flower I find the colour is affected by the direction and brightness of the sun, and so it's necessary to experiment and make visits at several different times.

In 2000 using my first digital camera, a Nikon 950 (I think - or maybe 990, I can't be sure), I took a photo of a path, winding up through a bluebell wood. It wasn't perfect but came close to fulfilling my ideal components, without the deer!

Vintage 2000 photo - taken with my first digital camera.  I've tried to reproduce this but despite taking  a printed copy of this pic with me I cannot find the place I took this from.  I walked the path several times but it seems trees have either fallen or been cut down and 11 years of change has beaten me!

And so with a print of it tucked in my camera bag I decided to return to the area and see how things have changed. Despite walking up and down the path several times examining every key detail, I couldn't find the spot this photo was taken from. More disappointing was that I wasn't inspired by what I saw to press the shutter at all.

There's still time to capture more Bluebells this year so I'll keep looking for the perfect shot for a couple more weeks yet.