Tehidy Country Park

9th November 2013

Tehidy Country Park  is the largest area of woodland in West Cornwall and is owned and managed by Cornwall Council. Set in 250 acres of woodland and lakes, with over 9 miles of paths, a café and a picnic area.
With 5 main access points and 2 car parks – North Cliff and South Drive, Tehidy offers something for everyone. Accessible for dogs and horse owners with bridle paths, it also has a nature reserve area with a lake, swans and ducks, tame squirrels and a man made waterfall.

A trip was organized to Tehidy Park and an assignment set to ensure practice of a wide variety of photographic skills including composition, lighting, panning, macro, wildlife and landscape. The day gave us the opportunity to be creative with our images and to spend time learning about focal length, shutter speed, and apertures; it also gave the opportunity to work closely with lecturers experienced in wildlife photography to help improve skills and knowledge in this area.

I wanted to visit Tehidy to practice and improve my current skills and knowledge especially in regard to slow shutter speeds when taking images of water.
I also wanted to capture some wildlife images using a long telephoto lens (100 – 400).
I spent a couple of hours in the Park and it has lots of variety for the photographer from wildlife images to landscape and creative photography.
On this visit I spent time mainly photographing wildlife, I took some images of the waterfalls, and tried to take some creative images which is an area that I feel I need to work on to expand my creativity.

For this image of leaves I wanted to be more creative in my approach to the composition, using diagonal lines, shadow and light to emphasize the colour, shape and pattern of the leaves.
I am quite pleased with the outcome of the image and feel that I have captured what I set out to do. The light gives emphasis to the pattern and shape of the leaves and the branch gives a diagonal lead in line to the picture, it does however lack something and I feel that use   of strong contrasting colour and light would add interest and impact and this is something that I need to improve on.

Artists as well as photographers have always inspired me and Claude Monet is a particular inspiration. I have viewed his work both in London and Paris and the L’orangerie houses his magnificent Water lilies.
My image of Water lilies was inspired by Monet’s painting of the Water Lily Pond and is my interpretation of this.  I am pleased with the overall effects created by the lilies and the reflections of the trees.  I think the image could be improved with more colour and so taking it when there are more leaves and colour on the trees may have improved the overall effect.

I wanted to create a shallow depth of field with image of leaves and set the aperture to f/5, this has worked fairly well in placing the background out of focus but still allowing you to place the branch and leaves in their environment, which is what I was hoping to achieve. However, because the image is quite busy and the branches and background are quite distracting for the viewer I have cropped the image. 
 This has allowed the focal point to become more prominent in the frame, I still feel that the image could be improved by choosing either a different view point and if this does not improve the overall composition then I would look to finding another cluster of leaves to photograph with a less cluttered background.

Tehidy Country Park has a wonderful water feature, this cascade meanders through the woodland and is ideal for using a slow shutter speed to give the water a smooth effect.

Capturing movement
Inspired by David Chapman’s images of wild fowl taken from a low viewpoint – I decided to try this technique out whilst at Tehidy.
Using a 100 – 400mm telephoto lens with continuous shooting I took this image of the gull preening. I have cropped the image as the gull was in the middle of the lake.
I used a tripod to try to eliminate any camera shake and feel that I have managed to capture the moment, freezing the droplets of water mid air, which gives the image a sense of movement and impact.

One of my goals is to improve my photography of birds in flight,. I shot several  images using shutter speed priority and a focal length of 400mm, the aperture setting was around f/4.5-f/5 and I feel that I could perhaps have improved these images by using Aperture Priority to give slightly more depth of field.
 This may have compromised the shutter speed causing blurring of the image so there is always a decision to make, on this occasion, I decided that I wanted to capture the gulls in sharp focus if I possibly could and this led to my decision.


I am happy with the overall capture of the gull in flight.
Technically it is not a good image of a bird in flight as the wings are in the wrong position but I like the action that I have captured the gull has just taken off and the water and droplets of water give the image impact.

Close Up

I have taken squirrel images previously but never encountered such tame ones as those at Tehidy. I found this slightly challenging; using a 100 – 400 lens the squirrels came much too close at times.  They did however; pose which made it easier to focus on the eye to ensure this was sharp in the picture.
I chose his face as the main focal point of the image and cropped in close to the subject to capture his quizzical expression. I used a shallow depth of field to isolate him from the background, whilst including some of his habitat (the tree trunk).  I am really pleased with the result and whilst compositionally he is in the centre of the picture, I have tried to ensure his eyes fall in the top third of the image.

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