A Whimsey with Wistman’s Wood

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a good woodland photography session – and Wistman’s Wood was perfect to get back in the woodland and impressionist photography flow.

I helped My Darling Jules set up her Sew Me Something stand at a textiles fair near Exeter. Whilst she was womanning her stand for a few days I took the time to do some creative photography.

I’ve not spent any proper time doing creative photography since my accident in October 2017 (I broke my back, silly sausage that I am). Jules knew that I needed to get back to my art photography, but I was finding it hard to get motivated to do so. So she got me to come away with her, help her do her stand, and then spend most of the rest of the time waving my cameras about.

I don’t know why I lost my creative mojo, but it wasn’t lurking too far under my skin. Alone with my cameras (stills and video) the layers of resistance soon peeled away and I started to get that familiar energy in my chest, that urge to create.

I started where we had rented our Air BnB, pretty much on the waterfront in the pretty little town of Topsham, but the pull I get towards woodland got me googling.

Wistman’s Wood

Wistman’s Wood seemed just my cup of tea, I saw a few photos online and decided to grab a few granola bars, bottle of water and camera gear. Off I drove across Dartmoor.

The wood is a little walk from the car park by the road. It was the furthest I’d walked since losing my battle with gravity. It’s a bit bumpy, the further you get, but I took it easy. A few other other people were tramping to the wood to my fore and aft.

Near the closest edge of the woodland I saw this tree, and had to set up tripod and camera. It was simply the best tree I’d seen in years. Wistman’s wood is full of incredible trees.

a great tree at wistman's wood

I knew I could get held up photographing the gorgeous details here, but wanted to explore the wood further. I only had a couple of hours until sunset.

Pressing on, I got to a part of the wood empty of other explorers.

The sun was coming down, so I had to work fairly fast. This next tree had such a fabulous shape, with mossy boulders below, I had to give it a solar diamond for the evening.

wistman's wood near sunset

See the ferns in residence on its burly arms.

In some ways, I was here ‘at the wrong time’. The wood is perhaps at its most photogenic when the mists descend, and the light is flat. Then it is a pure palette of green, with foggy net petticoats.

I just couldn’t quite get the photographs I had in my head, the light was harsh, the sky was very bright.

It was time for a break. I sat on a cushioned mossy boulder, refreshing myself with a few bites of granola washed down with Devon water.

Impressionist Photography

It was time to fling away detail. I narrowed my eyes so I could only see colour and form, and ideas started to pile in.

I grabbed my camera, set it up for long exposures, and began using some of my favourite ‘intentional camera movement’ (ICM) techniques.

wistman's wood impressionist photograph

First was my twist/spin technique that I first used with bluebells several years ago. I quite liked this shot, with just a hint of the blue sky, and the lichen on the trees giving a few highlights.

This technique also works well looking up at the tree canopy too. But I wanted to capture the moss-clad boulders, and so began trying some other movements and compositions.

Less than two minutes after the photograph above, I took this next one.

wistman's wood impressionist photograph

I had the camera stopped right down, so very little light was coming through the lens. The shutter was open for a fifth of a second. I kept the camera still at first, then at the last moment just before the shutter closed I swept the lens up.

It almost looks like an underwater scene, with light filtering through layers of kelp above.

This next photo used the same settings, taken a bit further into the woods – it looks almost jungle-like I think.

wistmans wood impressionist photograph

I barely kept the camera still at all, but instead of sweeping up fast to get the long, thin light trails, I moved the lens upwards very little. This gives a very painterly, impressionist effect – broad daubs with a palette knife.

More Photos Soon

There are many more photographs, some of them moving from impressionist to abstract. They’ll have to wait for another day. If you sign up to this blog, or my Five Good Things weekly email of… er… five good things, you’ll know as soon as I put them online.

Wistman’s Wood is incredible – ancient trees, mossy boulders, lichen and ferns dressing the trees up. I could spend days there, and never get bored. It may not have been ‘at its best’, but it was still gorgeous. I’d love to visit again in summer and autumn, just imagine autumn mists there. Let me know if you go, and do let me know what you think of the photographs above.

Impressionist Flower Photography

Impressionist Photography of Flowers - Confetti Fields Heart of the Ballet by Charlie Budd The Tall Photographer

As I’ve become older, and beardier, I’ve become more entranced by the potential of impressionist flower photography.

Maybe it’s because I’m starting to look like Monet.

Black and white photograph of Claude Monet in 1899
Charlie Budd in 1899

A Visit to the Confetti Fields

On a recent excursion to the remarkable confetti flower fields with my friend, the photographer Charlotte Doran Davies, my love for blurring reality was just the thing.

Due the hot weather, almost every single bloom in the entire field had ‘gone over’ – they were dry, crinkled and looking rather sad.

The same might be said for some of the other photographers who had gone to snap the glorious blooms – some of them wanted lovely close up photos of the flowers in pristine condition, and none were to be had.

But to me it was a scintillating opportunity to make glorious swirls of colour, to make the flowers dance.

There were strict instructions not to pick any flowers, so I couldn’t swirl the blooms.

Nor could I swirl the dance floor – the field itself.

But I could swirl the viewer, my camera.

At first I was thinking of Monet

Initially, my photographs were, perhaps, more Monet-like – I used very small camera movements to create a slight dancing movement.

Impressionist Flower Photography - Dancing Delphiniums after Monet by Charlie Budd The Tall Photographer
Dancing Delphiniums after Monet

Monet Agapanthus
Monet’s Agapanthus

But then I tried a technique I started using last year in bluebell woods – the twist.

Bluebell Woodland Swirl by Charlie Budd The Tall Photographer - Impressionist Flower Photography
One of my first forays into swirling photography. No photoshop, just twisting the camera as I took the shot.

And then Degas became my inspiration

And as soon as I tried it in the Confetti Fields, I was reminded of ballet dancers.

More specifically, the ballet dancers of Degas.

Dancers by Degas
Ballet Scene in pastel by Degas

He painted them again and again.

 L’Étoile, ou la Danseuse sur Scène
L’Étoile, ou la Danseuse sur Scène

I haven’t always liked these paintings, but there is a certain whimsy about them that I find increasingly appealing.

So my camera danced.

Impressionist Flower Photography - Confetti Fields Principal Dancer and Corps de Ballet by Charlie Budd The Tall Photographer
Confetti Fields Principal Dancer and Corps de Ballet


Impressionist Flower Photography - Confetti Fields Heart of the Ballet by Charlie Budd The Tall Photographer
Confetti Fields Heart of the Ballet


Impressionist Flower Photography - Principal Ballet Dancer and Posy by Charlie Budd The Tall Photographer
Confetti Fields Principal Ballet Dancer and Posy


Impressionist Flower Photography - Pas a Deux by Charlie Budd The Tall Photographer
Confetti Fields Pas a Deux


Impressionist Flower Photography - Roaring Ballet Crowd in a Standing Ovation by Charlie Budd The Tall Photographer
Confetti Fields Roaring Ballet Crowd in a Standing Ovation


Let me know what you think of my impressionist flower photography.

And let me know whether you’d like me to write a more technical piece about how I make these images.

I’m going to be making test prints of all of these photographs, and more.

If you’re interested in a print for home or workplace, or you’d just like to tell me what you think, do drop me a line on my contact page. 


Business Biscotti in Stratford upon Avon

Business Biscotti at the Crowne Plaze Hotel in Straford upon Avon by Charlie Budd The Tall Photographer

To promote my photography and video production services, I’m trying different ways to meet business owners who might need what I do – and Business Biscotti in Stratford upon Avon seemed ideal.

I’d already met a few of the people who said they were going, at the brilliant monthly Donut Time networking sessions at Venture House.

Yes, I know, I seem to be attracted to events with biscuits, doughnuts or cake in the title.

Amy Widman from Everyone Active at Stratford Leisure Centre at the Business Biscotti at the Crowne Plaza in Stratford upon Avon by Charlie Budd The Tall Photographer
Amy Widman from Everyone Active at Stratford Leisure Centre talking about how networking can be a useful part of marketing with Anne Solomon of Venture House and and Blake Newbold of Everyone Active.

I asked the wonderfully warm-hearted June Irani whether I could attend and take photos, and she generously agreed. Continue reading “Business Biscotti in Stratford upon Avon”

Working with Wharton Natural Infrastructure Consultants

Sometimes you really gel with the people you work with, and this is the case with the team at Wharton Natural Infrastructure Consultants.

I was just thinking about getting back to work as a photographer (recovering from a broken back) when I was contacted by the company director Pete Wharton.


Pete explained that the company was rebranding, had taken on new people due to expansion, and so needed a range of fresh staff photographs for a new website. Continue reading “Working with Wharton Natural Infrastructure Consultants”

LinkedIn Local in Stratford upon Avon

Sally Crane Ian Tomlinson and Julia Suzuki at the LinkedIn Local Stratford upon Avon 12 July 2018 by Charlie Budd The Tall Photographer-1

I’d never heard of a LinkedIn Local meeting before, but it sounded like a good idea when Ian Tomlinson mentioned it to me.

I’ve been to a lot of Tweetups, and they’ve been great for business and socially. The Stratford Tweetup organised by Sharon Stephens and Lou Fox is particularly good.

I’ve organised an Instagram gathering (Instacake) which was great fun and really rewarding.

Continue reading “LinkedIn Local in Stratford upon Avon”

Do you want to meet people who are on Instagram?

Charlie Budd and Instagram Logo Original Photo by Sally Crane
I have no idea what this photo signifies except silliness and Instagram – two things I’m rather fond of. (Photo by Sally Crane, silliness by me.)

We seem to inhabit different worlds these days, the tactile, scent-laden, visceral ‘real’ world and the electronic, glass-enclosed, remote ‘virtual’ world.

Only that’s not really true, of course, because they both interweave and blend into each other.

And this is especially true when we get the chance to mobilise our sedentary arses, get out of wherever we live and work, and actually meet, face to face.

I did that yesterday, and it was fantastic. More on that later. Continue reading “Do you want to meet people who are on Instagram?”

Stop Motion Animation Coffee Cups

Sometimes you just have an urge to make a little stop motion film about belligerent, colourful coffee cups.

Don’t you?

I’ve had a little play with stop motion on my iPhone once or twice over the past year or so. But it was a challenge on Instagram from one of my favourite film makers, Xanthe Berkeley that finally spurred me on to make a ‘proper’ little stop frame sequence.

Xanthe was doing a promotion with the marketing agency Whalar, and Workshop Coffee. And the challenge was to tell a little story about coffee on Instagram.

Xanthe created this fabulously fun, and characteristically colourful stop frame animation to inspire people.

View this post on Instagram

This week I’m collaborating with @whalar for their new #ObjectProject challenge… our theme is coffee and I’ve created this simple stop motion with my own spin on it, by painting the coffee beans in bright colours… now it’s your turn to join in… by creating a photo, video or even a stop motion, with coffee as your subject and sharing it with the tag #ObjectProject_Coffee – there are some great prizes to be won from @workshopcoffee for our favourite entries. The “behind the scenes” of me shooting and a little interview, plus loads more details about the brief, can be found over on @whalar and in my stories… I do hope you’ll take part… I can’t wait to see what you create! . #xanthefilms #makefilmscourse #stopmotion #colorcolourlovers #abmlifeiscolorful #myunicornlife

A post shared by ☆ Xanthe – Photography & Films (@xantheb) on

Continue reading “Stop Motion Animation Coffee Cups”