‘Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson
It was great to be joined by some new members on our recent Cambridge Camera Club trip to Thetford Forest. As usual Ann wasted no time as she set about exploring the forest floor. On the ridge just above the car park, at St Helen’s picnic area, she found a lot of fungi. With a variety of ground sheets to lie on and our cameras at the ready we began to position ourselves to take pictures. Yair and I focused on a rather pretty mushroom I had photographed last year. As usual I couldn’t remember its name! Ann and I noticed a rather unpleasant smell and Ann suggested we look out for its source. It seemed likely that Yair had stood or laid in something rather nasty! We got up to check out the area and it was at this point I committed a cardinal sin! I stood on the mushroom we had all been photographing! Sorry Yair! I had been so busy looking for the source of the smell I completely forgot about the mushrooms underfoot!
Moving on I found a rather pretty yellow mushroom in just enough light. Lying on my stomach I was just about to take a picture when suddenly a young retriever puppy came rushing over with his ears flapping and his legs all askew. Deciding I looked more edible than the mushroom, he began licking my face and nipping my ear before jumping on my back to survey the scene. I was pinned to the floor for a few minutes until finally his owner called him.
I joined the others and we wandered through the wood and explored under trees. It began to rain and the branches supplied the shelter we needed. Although stationery, mushrooms are not the easiest objects to photograph. Initially a decision has to be made about whether the mushroom is a good enough specimen to photograph in the first place, especially as some of us find it more difficult to lie flat and then get up again! They are usually dirty and I had forgotten my brush and being delicate they disintegrate at the slightest touch. Light under the trees can be problematic. It was cloudy one minute and then the sun shone. On occasions though, we did manage to find fungi in lovely dappled light.
Dissatisfied with the natural order of things Ann set about doing some rather more creative woodland gardening. A very attractive set of mushrooms suddenly appeared on a pretty log covered in lichen. It was a lovely display and we all set about trying to capture it.
The rain became more persistent but undeterred we all continued to take photographs. At one point we found what could only be called a mushroom massacre. There were broken mushrooms all around us, possibly caused by a squirrel or by people collecting mushrooms to eat and deciding many were not good enough.
After lunch – thank you Caroline for the sandwiches and ginger beer- we walked further into the forest. We took some long exposures of the trees moving our cameras at the same time. I love the abstract effects this technique creates. Sylvane and I stopped to photograph a grey horse in an adjacent field. He posed willingly with ears pricked and I felt sad we had no reward for him. Despite warning signs telling us to keep out, we continued deeper into the forest, surmising there would be nothing dangerous happening on a Sunday. As we approached a clearing, freshly cut logs provided another unexpected photo opportunity.
As we were about to give up looking for fungi and make our way back, we came across an oak tree and hiding in the foliage were some very interesting spiders. They were difficult to see in the light available and we all had to resort to wearing our reading glasses to find them in the leaves. Focussing was difficult as our cameras couldn’t see them either! It was at this point that determination and tenacity set in. We were not going to be beaten by tiny spiders, one of whom seemed to be able to move horizontally as well as vertically. We couldn’t quite understand how a little green spider could do that but s/he was certainly reeling out the web at a fast pace. It attached itself to my lens hood and then to Ann’s, seemingly undeterred by the flashes going off. It was hard to get a sharp shot but we persevered. Eventually we lost the light and made our way back.
It was another very enjoyable day despite the rain and the poor light. Thank you Ann for organising it.