A Walk in the Woods

Woods and Winter Sun (0994)

In my books there is little better than a walk in the countryside to clear one’s mind. And though Surrey has no dramatic hills, it makes up for much with woodland. And last weekend the sun was out and the weather was glorious, so the only question was where to go. By now I’ve ticked most of the “50 walks in Surrey”, though one that I’ve postponed for a long time was this walk near Pirbright, just a few minutes from where we live. I had been in the area when I took the Henleypark Lake picture, so I knew what to expect. The walk itself was thoroughly enjoyable, though of course after so much rainfall lately I had to endure my fair share of muddy and boggy paths. Unusually, I attracted some attention as I finished taking this picture, when a family parked closed by to start a walk. ‘Dad’, it seemed, is keen on photography.

So today’s photo is the first I’m sharing that was actually taken in 2014. I was hoping to share this earlier, but a technical difficulty came in the way. This was a rather subtle image to process, and by the time I was done and exported my finished image I realized the colours looked off. It took a while to find the cause of this, and in the end I had to re-calibrate my monitor from within the virtual machine I use for photo editing. Not much fun when my calibrator is rather old; in the end I had to download a more recent (though still ancient) driver that worked with 64-bit Windows.

Anyway, the image above was taken on a tripod as a single exposure. I composed at a very wide angle to get the view I had in mind, and planned to crop to a 2:1 proportion in post. This allowed me to keep the pitch angle very low to avoid converging verticals. A soft ND grad filter was used to balance the exposure in-camera. In post, I kept things rather simple. After a pass through Canon’s Digital Lens Optimizer and cropping, all it took was some selective curves to bring out the foreground a bit and a selective vibrance layer to warm up the foreground. I’ve found DLO to be great at getting maximum detail from images, and is useful when larger prints are planned.

As always, please click on the photo for a larger version; comments welcome.



  1. Hi, came across your blog via a twitter #, & thought to share that Surrey does actually have many hills, and some are even quite ‘dramatic hills’: The North Downs chain; Boxhill, Leith Hill (the highest point in Southeast England), Coldharbour etc; Surrey Hills; Newslands Corner, St Marthas, Hurtwood, Winterfold etc; Greensand ridge in particular around Halsemere and beyond into Sussex, linking into the South Downs National Park..all well worth a visit.. as you are local to Pirbright too, I would think you would know of these hills, but just in case, thought to let you know. Happy wandering..Kerry-ann

    • Hi Kerry-ann, thanks for stopping by! I guess I was referring to the kind of ‘hills’ you get in the Lake District and the craggy edges of the Peak District. Of course Surrey is not exactly flat. As you’ve suspected I’ve been to most of the hills you mention, and you’ll find a number of photos from these walks in older posts on this blog. Easiest way to find them is to use the search box. I’m currently based in Guildford so the walk from Newlands corner to St Martha’s and back is one I’ve done many times, at various times of year.

      In any case, many thanks for your comments and suggestions for places to go!

      • Ah well I believe those hills may be mountains, or close to! Nevertheless, walking in our little hills, such as Newlands to St Martha’s is a lovely adventure too..you are so right about the woods of Surrey though, it’s actually the most wooded county in England. You no doubt know this too! (Lake District is divine though)..all the best

      • Indeed they are! I didn’t know that Surrey was the most wooded county, though it is not surprising. Thanks again!

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