A weekend in the Forest of Dean

May 24, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

View from Symonds Yat before dawn Back in 2015 I did the Open University/RPS course in digital photography.  After the course was over, a number of us students formed a group on Flickr so we could carry on sharing and critiquing each others photos.  We developed a good online interaction, but most of us had never met.  But then, one year ago, an inspired member of the group suggested we get together for a weekend of photography.  Eventually, a group of eight of us spent last weekend together in the Forest of Dean, sharing what we like doing most - taking photos.  A local photographer, David Broadbent, who knows the region so well, was engaged to guide us to the best spots in the Forest and generally to inspire us.

Based in the charming village of St. Briavels, we explored the Forest under David's expert guidance.  As well as the natural beauty of the Forest, the spectacular views from Symonds Yat before sunrise, and the wildlife, we also explored a disused drift mine - for industrial archaeology shots, caught a cross-country bike event, and visited Lydney Docks.  Forest path Such a range of photographic subjects!  And just to add another element, on Sunday morning, after a session showing the group our favourite four shots from Saturday, we spent some time paired up shooting portraits of each other.  This we did in the garden of the pub where we had shared good evening meals (and a few drinks) on both evenings.

Getting out of bed at 3.30 am on Saturday for our sunrise shoot was a bit of a challenge for some of us (particularly me who, to be honest, had only gone to bed at 3.30 am the previous night), but rewarded us with excellent views from Symonds Yat before and after the sun poked its head over the horizon.  That sun remained in the sky all weekend, really lovely weather, but bringing very strong light and rather a lot of heat, which found us all running out of energy a bit by mid-Sunday afternoon.  So we called it a day and headed off on our journeys home, all the way to Edinburgh for one of the group.  Everyone seemed happy with the shots that they got over the two days.

The winch room of a disused drift mine It was an excellent weekend of photography, of learning from each other, and with some good social times too.  I'm pleased with a number of the images that resulted.  My thanks to Kirsty, Richard, Ilya, Brian, Lesley, Tony and Lily for being great companions, particularly to Kirsty for organizing the weekend, and to David for being an excellent guide and mentor.  We've already pencilled in dates for another such weekend in 2019!

You can see a selection of my images from the weekend here.


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