Landscape masterclass

BB+D810+1645Stunning. That’s the word which springs to mind when you first glance through Paul Mitchell’s amazing portfolio of pictures chronicling the seasons in one of Britain’s most famous woodlands.

It’s a magical world which is constantly changing through the seasons, as Paul demonstrates in his startling photographs of Burnham Beeches – that tiny remnant of the ancient woodlands which once covered so much of the country.

BB+D810+1730Paul’s ‘album’ contains dozens of uncaptioned shots of the woods throughout the year – draped in snow, dappled by sunlight, looking mystical and enchanting, sometimes intriguing and welcoming, sometimes otherworldy and even scary.

He explains: “The portfolio is my response to this world of wonder and features images made in the icy grip of winter, the vibrancy of springtime, the green canopy of summer, through to the richness of autumn.”

Burnham Beeches was bought by the City of London Corporation in the latter part of the 19th century to safeguard the area from property developers and to protect its future for generations to come.

As Paul explains, the landscape of the Site of Special Scientific Interest was created by human management going back many centuries and has provided grazing land for livestock and fuel via the pollarding of beech and oak trees which has not only helped to  prolong the lives of the trees, but help to give them their characteristic  gnarled appearance.

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Born in East Yorkshire, Paul now lives and runs his own design consultancy in Buckinghamshire and tries to devote most of his free time to photographing the landscape.

He has had numerous exhibitions and has had articles and images published in many photographic magazines.

Tree of inspiration

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NEW DAWN: the gnarled tree in Langley Park

Those who love an early morning walk in Slough’s Langley Park or Black Park may already be familiar with the work of landscape photographer Kevin Day.

The Slough-based photographer has contributed a number of pictures to the gallery linked from the Friends of Langley Park website – and the story of one major photography project is told in an old profile article in Amateur Photographer.

“I often get up at five or six in the morning and go to the park, which is a ten-minute walk away,” says Kevin in the article. “It’s the light that interests me, and the way it affects the landscape. It’s constantly changing, at different times of the day, different times of year.”

The gnarled tree in Langley Park showed how you can return to the same subject again and again and get a different picture every time. But Kevin goes on to explain how the tree was also a symbol of his photographic renaissance.

Today, his personal work continues to complement his professional output and a selection of his nature pictures reflect this. “It’s more of a little hidden gallery occasionally people stumble across!” he says.

For those who share Kevin’s love of those two local parks, it’s a real treat – with 185 pictures to choose from – and the option to purchase copies too.

Miniature mariners

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It’s great to see tiny sailing boats out on the Black Park lake – and other marvellous scale models like this little rowing boat.

The figures look so lifelike it’s sometimes hard to believe you are looking at models, unless there are a couple of ducks around to help put everything in perspective…

The park is home to the Black Park Model Boat Club, a friendly, non-competitive club which is open to new members at any time and covers all aspects of model boating from yachts to scale models.

The club uses the lake at Black Park on Thursday afternoons from 12pm and Sunday mornings. The park itself is signposted from the A412 between Slough and Iver Heath and  has toilets and cafés.

Once a year there is a whole-day regatta at the lake where other clubs are invited and money raised for a local charity.

For more information turn up at the lakeside on sailing days and ask for Frank or Alan, or e-mail the secretary at: secretary@blackparkmodelboatclub.org.uk.

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