Face in the trunk

Face in the trunk

Self-portrait with a wind-swept beech tree one day of freezing gales last March high on Roundway Hill in Wiltshire.

I have had a number of requests to include my lensed tree photography and not just pinhole photos on my website. I really feel that aesthetically the two styles don’t mix well at all so I have created another blog parallel to this one containing only tree photography of all types. As time goes by I will be adding to it from my past and current collections. It can be found at http://texturedbark.blogspot.com

Silver birch with grasses

Birch with grasses

Over the Christmas period I had the opportunity to use for the first time the beautiful spalted hawthorn camera which was made for me by Mark Goddard. The light this day was soft but directional. The waving twigs made the dry grasses on the floor of the wood shimmer and glow.

Winter trees, rooks

Oaks and rookery

I always love the intricacy of oaks against the leaden winter sky and the primeval, elemental cawing of rooks at dusk. It really is one the great joys of winter; a simple, subtle pleasure which never seems to diminish.

Ladle Hill

Ladle Hill

Winter sunset from the top of Ladle Hill on the ridge of the North Wessex Downs, a line of chalk hills in the south of England. This is a spot which I used to frequent as a child and which has lost none of its magic, engendered in part by its location inside an unfinished Iron Age earthwork and in part by its relative isolation. Thomas Hardy says in his poem Wessex Heights:

“There are some heights in Wessex, shaped as if by a kindly hand
For thinking, dreaming, dying on, and at crises when I stand,
Say, on Ingpen Beacon eastward, or on Wylls-Neck westwardly,
I seem where I was before my birth, and after death may be.

In the lowlands I have no comrade, not even the lone man’s friend —
Her who suffereth long and is kind; accepts what he is too weak to mend:
Down there they are dubious and askance; there nobody thinks as I,
But mind-chains do not clank where one’s next neighbour is the sky.”

I hope some of this is captured in this pinhole photo.

Self with tree

Self with tree

Even as the September sun is shining, the morning chill today has my thoughts leading from autumn to winter. The wonderful sky is created by the vagaries of the pinhole process – though I’m still not sure how.


Ash tree

The beautiful autumn weather is nearly upon us. My heart always quickens at the approach of this lovely time of year. I especially love the breezes, smells and, of course the trees. This photo is one I have used as part of a diptych but seems to embody for me the effect of the winds on the trees in the early part of the season. Oddly enough, it wasn’t taken in autumn but in early summer It hasn’t been until now that it has started to speak to me and I now realise that, in the wonderful pinholy way, the oak 8×10 camera I used had actually pictured another season.


I have been slowly gathering together a collection of tree images as part of a series I hope to make into a book. Here is the first of the pinhole photos which will be part of the initial draft. I am using a 35mm Populist camera hand-held which has a wonderful perspective and, when not tripod-mounted at one half or one quarter second exposures, shows movement to add a hint of the dynamism of trees in the landscape.

Pinhole landscape: trees