Back to last week and my efforts at photography with ‘bad’ light – although it can be argued that there is no such thing as bad light only bad photographers . Reputedly about 1000 years old, it’s thought that the Wyndham Oak in Silton may have been planted as a boundary marker for Gillingham Forest, a chase favoured by King John. The fact that it survived the forest’s destruction during Charles I’s reign, felled in order to help build the King’s fleet, adds weight to the idea that it was already a notable tree due to its age. It was named after Sir Hugh Wyndham who bought Silton Manor in 1641 and, when wearied from his travels as a judge for the Court of Common Pleas, would rest under this, his favourite tree. It has also been claimed that it is one of the few remaining ‘hanging’ trees in the UK where rebels from the 1685 Monmouth rebellion, some of whom lived in nearby Stoke Trister, danced their last dance. Magnificent as it was, the flat light meant that the tree blended into its surroundings so I gave it a hand in post processing with partial desaturation and blur. I also tried a shot inside the hollow bole of the tree. With my lens at its 17mm widest angle and camera flat on its back on the ground I hoped for the best in terms of composition. Imagine my shock when I checked the screen to see the result and saw a macabre face looking at me. Do you see it? Look again! A little bit of fun in Photoshop – but not really necessary!
(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)