Through the park to the woods on the other side, I’m hunting dappled shade in the bright midday sun, the only solace for my camera’s sensor from the whitewash of overexposure. My eyes find possible frames and the world falling outside of them falls easily out of attention. Lets see if there are any shots to be had in this wooded half light. I’ve not been here before.
Two ‘it’ll do’ lenses in my bag (kit zoom and 50mm prime) and I find myself hungering after that elusive wide angle. Expensively evasive. Well, another day another dollar (…or several), until then these two are trusty. The Jack Russell is joining today, he never fails to find all sorts to entertain his curious mind on the trail, happy to do the walk-and-pause that frustrates most non-photographers. Perfect company. I’ll be hard pressed to get a shot without something of him in it, as he loves to hoard my focus.
We choose our wooded path and further in it opens to a stream in a clearing… mirrored reflections? Longer exposures for smooth waters?… I see a nook where knarled trees, irises and water seem to form their own tight composition. I smile then click at the haven.
The wood trail continues, we saunter for a while and my eyes just can’t find a fit. More and more I’m thinking before shooting. Quite suddenly, we pop out from under the cool umbrella of trees onto a small country lane and into the sun’s heat. Across the way is clearly the road to the Wizard of Oz. I secure Jack to one side in case of traffic and play with focus on the fence and field beyond. He eyeballs a vintage car as it passes at lazy summer speed and I curse for not being quick enough to shoot it before it turns a bend.
Despite the lure of the yellowed dirt road to an emerald forest beyond, I decide I’ve done enough hunting for courage, wisdom and heart recently and besides, Jack has scented something more interesting, probably a fox. We turn back.
Skirting the trail round just inside the woods, Jack and I get a run for a while until I spy a profusion of bright irises beaming from the murk under a tree. Stop! The contrast is perfect. Jack skids to a halt and I move around capturing green vertical stripes interrupted by bursts of sunshine bloom.
The lane we had been on a while back must bend around the woods not too far from where we are, as the tinny melody of an ice cream van interrupts my absorption. I stretch my legs from kneeling at iris height and pause. The world’s re-entered the frame, I’m thinking about cool vanilla in a crispily chewy cone with a chocolate flake and I know I’m done with shooting for a while. I’m hungry, though not as hungry as for that wide angle lens. Jack? He doesn’t care about breaks for ice cream, he knows I’ve got treats in my pocket.
These photos and others from the walk can be found at:
kempspace in Hertfordshire