Well hasn’t been a strange year. Back in February I was in Costa Rica on a surfing retreat and there were the rumblings of a virus were starting to turn into of a thunder of panic. It was surreal hearing about it from the middle of a jungle, and it didn’t feel quite real.
Fast forward just a couple of short weeks and lockdown hit us. I was due to go into my busiest time for shoots so to say it was a shock is an understatement. I had bluebell sessions planned for clients who now have to wait till next year.
I try my best to be a glass half full kind of girl though – the weather was appalling with torrential downpours most days and not only that, the bluebells over the last few years were in full bloom around the 2nd week of May, but this year they were actually super early and out mid April so I would have had to do a lot of rearranging anyway.
I was keeping busy with remote shoots for dog brands where they could safely send me their products, and with the exercise and travel restrictions I started to re-discover some of my local woods. Gradually I realised a few things; I had forgotten the beauty of my village for a start. I had forgotten to appreciate the fact I live in the middle of the South Downs, which has been designated an area of outstanding natural beauty and I have footpaths less than 5 minutes walk from my house!
The other things I realised were that, because I photograph for my clients so much, I can’t actually remember the last time I was truly motivated to photograph just for myself – as a photographer it’s always good to have creative projects to keep the mind ever curious about the craft.
So I started taking my camera out with me on my walks to the local bluebell woods, and I started to focus not just on the stunning sea of blue, but also the little changes over the weeks. I marvelled at how the sun would be a natural spotlight in places I probably would have overlooked before, and how the bluebells were slowly replaced by lush green ferns and delicate little wildflowers. As well as opening my eyes, I opened my ears and my nose and fully appreciated nature in her full glory and felt a sense of ultimate calm and peace – when life is busy, that kind of feeling is usually hard to find.
Now the bluebells are over, I decided to leave my camera at home, and over the last couple of weeks have explored even further, and twice even without the dogs (shock horror!). The first time without one of the dogs honestly felt a bit strange! I took a sketch pad (and a gin and tonic) and revelled in the solitude; I am most definitely an introvert – I love meeting people and am always interested in their stories, however I need long periods of recharge in the peace and quiet of nature – and spending 4 hours on a solo walk has been pretty therapeutic.
Without further ado – I hope you enjoy the journey of documenting The Bluebell Diaries – mostly from one spot at my local woods, with a few from a little further afield.