|Light on the Wiltshire Landscape||30 January 2018|
This week we welcomed Stephen Davis to the Devizes Camera Club to hear his talk entitled Light on the Wiltshire Landscape. Stephen had travelled right across Devizes to share his photographic love affair with the Wiltshire countryside, especially that within easy reach of a curtain twitch on a day with enticing light.
He told us that he moved to this area about 20 years ago and joined Wiltshire Wildlife Trust about 6 years ago. He has always been a naturalist and enjoys exploring meadows and woodland in search of landscapes, wild flowers, trees and butterflies. He said he likes making prints and tries to envisage the finished output at the time of planning and taking his images. Stephen explained that his presentation would follow the year from January to December and that the majority of the images were taken in the Pewsey and Marlborough Downs area.
True to his word, his first images were of Avebury Stone Circle in the January frost with dramatic skies. (left)
He followed this up with some snow scenes taken in Savernake Forest in 2013. He stated that we don’t often get a good amount of snow these days and advised us to get out quickly when snow does settle as it is likely to have melted by lunchtime!
Martinsell is one of his favourite spots when there is mist in the Vale. He showed us several excellent images and explained that he often likes to take this sort of landscape image with his 70-300 lens because different zoom lengths can provide a completely different feel to the same scene. Other images from February and March included Starling murmurations at Lavington vedette and Silbury Hill with a fabulous dawn sky.
In April, Stephen was in the Pewsey Vale with an image of Woodborough Hill. He confided that the field around the clump of trees was a haven for Green Winged Orchids in the first two weeks of May. He showed us several images of Fritillaries taken at Clattinger Farm, explaining that he liked to have just one flower in sharp focus with the rest, in front and behind in soft focus. He also had images of Marsh Marigolds, taken at Drew’s Pond, Bluebells at Gophers Wood and West Wood, and Wild Garlic taken near Castle Coombe.
For June and July he had several images of wild flower meadows, especially extolling the virtues of Clattinger Farm meadows as some of the best in the country. In August, a time that he regards as the worst of the year for photography, he had a lovely image of stooks of corn (left) and returned to Martinsell to take some more misty images at 300mm. In September, he headed for Caen Locks shortly before the equinox, to capture golden light in the mist at the bottom of the flight.(right)
For October, he had a wonderful sunrise image taken through some trees across the road from Silbury Hill. Then there were a series of lovely compositions with autumn colours taken in Savernake Forest. He showed us a wonderful sunrise image taken at Langford Lakes and by December we were back in the Pewsey Vale with some original shots taken from the Pewsey Downs between Oare and Walkers Hill. Stephen ended his talk back where he started with some more stunning images with dramatic skies taken at Avebury.
During the break we had an opportunity to take a closer look at many of the images he had presented displayed as prints.
After the break, Stephen showed us samples from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s book, entitled Wild Wiltshire, on which he and 12 other photographers had collaborated. Some of the memorable shots, amongst a range of stunning images, included a Sparrowhawk, taken from the photographer’s kitchen window; Pewsey Vale in the snow, taken from Walker’s Hill; a fiery Firecrest; Waxwings taken in a car park in Wroughton; and swans, deer and otters taken at Lower Moor Farm.
A lively ‘question and answer’ session followed Stephen’s presentation during which it was clear that the audience had been inspired by Stephen’s images. When asked where is favourite location was, Stephen tactfully said that different places gave him different pleasures. His list of favourites WWT reserves included Clattinger and Lower Mill Farms, Jones Mill, Morgan’s Hill, Coombe Bisset Down, Ham Hill and Conigre Mead.
The Chairman thanked Stephen for an inspiring evening and the audience backed that up with a warm round of applause.DF