Posts tagged ‘landscape’
December 22, 2012
The ghost of an English elm that died forty years ago from Dutch elm disease (Ophiostoma novo-ulmi).
In an English meadow, this stump is all that remains of a majestic elm Ulms procera that once typified the English landscape until the arrival of Dutch elm disease in the 1960s.
See more of my Elm series
I always say to myself, “don’t forget the camera“. You never know when you may come across a great landscape scene, newsworthy event, or chance upon something really photogenic. Today was one of those frantic mornings – getting the kids ready for school and dashing off for work – and of course I forgot my camera. It turned out to be a stunning morning in rural Oxfordshire. A heavy ground mist clung to the rolling hills and sunk to the languid and frigid River Thames, despite the winter sun burning brightly.
As I was kicking myself I remembered the phone in my pocket. Now, I’m not a great phone camera fan but when needs must… So with my iPhone 3GS, which has a 3.2mp camera, I parked the car and took a quick walk across a meadow down to the river. I tried to compose the shots carefully to make the most of the low angle of the sun. For one shot of a solitary pine tree I used the tree’s shadow to lead the eye into the shot, while using the tree’s canopy to carefully reduce the amount of flare from the sun.
Back at base I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the images. They’re not scalable for printing in large sizes but they captured the beauty of this December morning perfectly. I may remain a bit of a camera snob but next time I may not be so distraught when I leave my camera behind … as long as I remember my phone!
Here are some of the shots taken with my iPhone
November 14, 2011
Should we be planting more trees or managing our existing woodlands? I have strong views on this that may not be shared by others. I’ve written on my blog before about the hundreds of thousands of hectares of woodlands in England that are not being managed (England’s wall of moribund woodland). I have also had a poke at the large number of short-sighted planting schemes that are resulting in low-value (read ‘unsustainable’) woodland littering our countryside (More forest plantations less green fuzz). Finally, I have discussed the likely scenarios of a future where, with 7 billion people to feed today increasing to 9 billion by 2050, land will be too important for food production to permit an increase in land area dedicated to the growing of wood fibre (Land for trees or food).
Next time I tackle my teenage daughter over the state of her bedroom, I could say “Never mind, just leave it and have this empty room next door and start over!”.
In short I believe simply that we should be managing our existing woodlands better before we plant more. If I was allowed a caveat it would be “to manage existing… at least while we plant more” so I may be tempted to answer “Both”. But what do you think? I would like all my readers to have a say by completing this poll. I am sure I can be criticised by trying to persuade my readers first and then ask them their views, and I’m sure a social scientist would have a field day! However, I am confident that there are many readers with equally strong views that will differ from mine and that they will not hold back in setting out their arguments by using the Comment box below, so we should have a good debate to help inform. So over to you …
I will keep this poll open for several months in the hope of a good response rate. I am sure that this poll need not only apply to English forests and land use, but also to many other countries around the world. So wherever you’re from, do have a say.
Barrow Wake is a well-known viewpoint near the village of Birdlip in Gloucestershire, England. It has fine views from its seat on the Cotswolds, looking West over the Vale of Gloucester towards the distant Malvern Hills.
The view was particularly fine earlier this week when I happened to be passing through the village. The rich autumnal colours looked stunning in the late afternoon sunlight, adding a wonderful luminescence to the bright green fields and bronze tree foliage. The sun’s low angle in the sky also emphasised the interesting landforms.
I took three photographs (DMC-GF2, 14mm (28mm), f11.0, 1/60th, ISO100, handheld). It is always good to fix as many settings as possible when taking photos that you intend to link later in a panorama. So, if you can adjust manual settings on your camera, select a suitable aperture (f stop) and focus point. I stitched these together, using the excellent program Hugin – panorama photo stitcher, to create this panorama. Hugin is a very powerful program which enables all types of panoramas to be created, including 360 degree images in different perspectives: see some inspiring examples. Not only is it powerful and flexible but as it is open source program it is free to download. Post editing in Adobe Lightroom allowed some fine tweaking using saturation, clarity settings, and a subtle graduation filter to be added to the sky.
June 10, 2011
Early dawn in rural Oxfordshire, England. The sun was about to rise over the Chilterns (left) early on this morning in June, and would soon illuminate the Wittenham Clumps, visible in the centre distance.