Series published - Outdoor Photography magazine; issue OP289
This series of images have all been made in the same woodland which happens to be very local to me. It's a little known Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve that I've been visiting for many years – at least, it was rather more little known before lockdown. Since then, of course, people have found themselves exploring locally and discovering that you actually don't have to travel too far in search of beauty. It's still a relatively quiet woodland however, and one can often have it all to oneself.
British wintertime doesn't see heavy snowfall, so a winter wonderland it is not. For the most part, winter is a time of grey stillness, but it is peaceful in the woods. Even the birds are quieter, saving their energy for the lean times ahead until the abundance of spring, although the quiet can often be broken by the welcome ‘tchack, tchack’ of jackdaws or a shrieking woodpecker.
I really wanted to capture that sense of a peaceful, dormant woodland. Whenever there was a hard frost I'd take myself off to the woods. It really is astonishing how a simple layer of frost adds a touch of beauty to an otherwise drab winter landscape.
In the cold bleakness of winter there is secret movement at work. One can sense a numinous energy among the trees which I cannot put into words, nor do I think the words exist to describe those feelings.
In the Anthropocene, we have lost touch with the rhythm of the seasons. Winter is a time for rest and reflection. When we sit awhile and allow ourselves to fully relax, we can sense the quiet work of the woodland. There is no rush. There is a vast network of roots under our feet, communicating with one another, a force that we can’t fathom. But we don’t need to; simply being aware of the mystical, mysterious ways of nature is enough. Its cyclical rhythms are as much a part of ourselves as of the woodland and deserve our love and respect.
Edit: You can now purchase a Winter Solitude Boxset with eight of my favourite images from the series - HERE