New Forest

18th September 2020

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Areas of ancient wood gradually recovered over many centuries offer an experience that today is unique.

One of the more diverse ancient woods within the national park. The whole park is a mosaic of woods mixed with grazed grassland and heath.

Frame Wood

The same beech as above but from the other side (two hours earlier).

Last time we saw this many mushrooms, it was in Sarek and Mudus NP some three decades ago. Except that they were more massive (per piece). When we needed a nourishing soup, mixed with an instant one (we carried all food with us there) we literally walked a few metres around the tent and filled the pot with what in much of Europe is an expensive delicacy. Some cracking boletes and ceps are visible in this picture. This wood is home to a wide range of fungi. That reflects its health. Also typical for the Atlantic zone - the almost luminous British moss in dry aspect. The old trees create an environment similar to the long lost European primary forest. It rivals tropical rainforests for the feel and effect on a visitor, lacking something while having something extra.

Frame Wood II

Ninety degrees turn opens a view of a large oak. This oak wood had the highest number of the beech trees that we have seen in the park among the ancient woods. They were planted and harvested for timber and other important uses in Europe since the Middle Ages. Beech is the main component of natural beech-fir woods of which small examples still exist in Europe more inland where their massive trunks have a vivid silver colour.

The ancient woodland with abundant dead wood in all forms has an atmosphere of the prehistory. The scenes like this were the world to ancient people, to the Heidelberg, Neanderthal man and our ancestors in this and similar climate. We experienced this environment for ages through profound moments and scenarios that formed lives, genes and brains. This likely is the reason why they resonate with us strongly and in ways of which potential and kinds of importance I think we may be only just starting to realise and understand.


Three ponies passed by in the distance. We wouldn’t have noticed at this point, but a sound drew attention in that direction. The leading pony was having a scratch on its side against a branch (behind it). The other two, also white, were waiting behind. Then they went on through the wood, barely revealing any shape of meaning, as flashes of white here and there.

The New Forest pony is the size of a small horse such as Przewalski’s or Hucul horse, the latter is probably a touch large on average.


The spot from where the shots above were taken, in a few metres radius. We didn’t plan to stay for a whole day so we left the head torches in the camp. Now we needed to move to reach the paths and navigate where we came from at least half of the way in the light. And we wanted to explore the sun setting light for photography as we go.

The sheet on which we rest is to put our gear on it in wet and muddy places. When we need to get rid of the bags after rain, in bogs etc. it pays off and saves us and the gear needless cleaning and time. It’s PU coated nylon that resides in the side pocket of our AA bag, as we call it (Airport Accelerator made by Think Tank Photo). It folds to palm size. We made it as a replacement for plastic sheets some time ago, as we got tired of patching it with more plastic (sellotape). It’s still in great shape and it has been through a lot. I suppose we could maybe get our hands on a better alternative material today. The AA bag itself is a very durable piece of kit as well. We have yet to find an alternative to it when it comes to packing three cameras with 200-500/5.6 VR, 100-400 and Milvus 35/1.4 attached plus quite a bit of other bits and pieces. The other bag is Gregory Maven 45 W. Its low-profile alloy frame keeps it from being used for demanding trips where the bag that can be folded is used. Similar for our default hats, three of them, we don’t take them where they would be squashed too much and often.

Zlatka has finally discovered a hole in the upper of her boot. Their old grip design and wear raised my pulse a couple of times in Meghalaya. She now plans to use them for walks over the hill when shopping. I suspect the hole will grow quickly. Despite the wear, the boots for more leisurely uses resisted water still very well (Regatta), although their comfort is now more attributed to the insole (Sidas gel 3D). Having more kinds of footwear for diverse conditions isn’t as wasteful as it seems. The the-tool-for-the-task scenario keeps them all in shape long time because each pair is used optimally for what intended. When these were bought, the segment of the fast hike/modern features footwear was still on a more conservative side. I also had so-so boots in my old Capras here. They served well and could be utilised excellently sparing the superior footwear for when needed. The mid-cut ankle, if anything, was all that was needed in this terrain and dry weather.

Generally, paying attention to equipment outdoors sharpens senses and the ability to use it, in our experience. Our experience also is that having a sharper view of things around can be beneficial in more ways. Independence, confidence come to mind. It helps to keep our feet on the ground. Something underestimated, overlooked or unknown, going by the trend. As if something is being reset with the confluence of these factors (nature). The obvious diminishing returns of ‘making our lives ever easier’ and a general sense of value “the simplest and most basic” things don’t have to us seem to have something to do with it too. Perhaps it’s because these human-environment things are considered by an ape-like mindset – where human should be. I mean things like how we plan, judge quantities or accept illusory impressions.

People before us paid meticulous attention to their tools, among other things, by choice or necessity, and it occurred in nature. Perhaps a long memory traces something deep there and tries to repair the misuse of “progress” when we get it wrong, again.

Evening & Evening II

The calm of the evening is spreading through the wood as we are heading in direction of the paths. Zlatka turned to the side at some point and soon disappeared behind the horizon sloping gently down “to check the light (there)”. That is, a subject brought out by the atmospheric lighting penetrating the wood. I took the 200-500 out of the bag and was waiting to see her. The shots were taken as she was returning with the use of subject tracking and high ISO. The rate of in-focus shots was pleasing. I noticed the difference with this latest firmware earlier already. Shame I didn’t catch to change the shutter speed; it could’ve been lower for this type of shots. That would help with the noise in backlit scenes. ML cameras lost the previous option of the excellent colour noise reduction in NX-D RAW converter – only unusable simplified version shows there now. The chroma noise removal of this software was doing a remarkably good job with high ISO images. We used to combine it (only the colour noise) with Topaz DeNoise for these images and a complete NR. The focus box (or perhaps me) picked the tripod head in the first image. There are strongly blurred leaves causing noise smudges at places (hand), the second shot in the face. It’s a part of the image.


September sunset, Frame Wood


Afternoon, one day earlier, Frame Wood

Trees of these lowland woods are left to complete their life cycle. That alone generates enough microbial diversity and rich biology to create a place of unique value.

It may come as a surprise, but on a subconscious level, we have not yet realised that we don’t live in nature (natural environment) and that our mind is still subconsciously focused on management at the expense of anything else.

This psychological pressure is highest in the most productive but harsh enough environments (the temperate zone) where the mental, cultural characteristics (such as overriding priority of greed) and reverberations of the traumatic struggle in natural environments are reinforced with the highest yields. The resulting overdrive and one-track mind focus at the expense of anything else have a dramatic impact on the life of man today and our current world.

The same prevalent mental spasm is a basal source of inequality and injustice in the interconnected world. Unless we reflect the basic changes relative to the reality at present and obvious (outside the grip of this spasm) around us, we are headed towards experiences that will give us this understanding forcefully. With the consequences this will ultimately have.

As for the woods, and the value mentioned above. More can be done for us regarding these plant pots in the surrounding sea of disorderly management of chaotic ambitions.

Eyeworth Wood


Oak II

September morning

When kids were to run to, say, Eye Tree, it meant suchlike signs in the landscape. The way of expressing this would change very slowly in the course of a million years, whether with our sibling (sub)species or our own one. Nature is full of markers and signs like these. As we know from our times, people were extremely receptive to them. Once born into this world, these orientation points came as natural as those in a city today. The dependency on the natural world got a less distracted mind focused and “details” such as bare feet physically connected with the features and elements in the immediate vicinity and far away.

11th October

Bramshaw Wood


This beech bears a resemblance to a woman’s body.

The references were used even if the point changed or was gone.

Eyeworth Wood II

The oak and yew three are the main species of this ancient wood. The yew is today a very rare sight in the tree establishment of Europe’s woodlands. It vanished from our views along with other trees that couldn’t be converted into profit, as we understood it. Earlier though, it was a useful material. Along with elm and ash, it was used for making a variety of bows and other tools (e.g. handles) - since the Stone Age.

The wood is composed of oak mixed with a great number of yews. Seeing the threes this old is a rarity. Occasional wild apple threes, now heavy with fruit, enrich the composition, last but not least for the wildlife. The wild apple tree may be one of the few trees that don't seem to have many unfavourable effects on Europe’s native woodlands. It occupies only marginal niches in both successive and climax formations. The widely distributed holly is an important but the only woody species in the undergrowth in this wood (and in others). The adaptive genus of this bush originated in laurel forests ages ago - and the yew was stroking dinosaurs’ heads as they passed along.

The Yew Tree

Next day; passing this yew, Zlatka is saying we should look at this and walks to the tree as if pulled by gravity. This seemed a great shot to show the scale and convey the size of the tree.

The bottle in the rucksack pocket is flat collapsing Platypus 1 L and it has replaced hundreds of PET bottles – even if you were trying to reuse these. After we forgot one in a shack in the Himalayas, we got another one because we always keep a pair - along with 1.9 L Klean Kanteen that we prefer when we can (this also for boiled and still-too-warm water).

Zlatka is using her versatile Ghost Whisperer 2 jacket. It generates surprising amount of warmth for her lightest jacket; she’s on her second one. M. Hardwear produced some really extreme ‘UL’ version (hooded) for this year with 1000 fill power... The “normal” one already feels like a Maori feather cloak - though it remained unscathed after encountering bushes of the spiny holly.

Apple Tree

Nikkor 24-70/2.8 S @58mm, f2.8, Photomatix merge (3exp., 1.3EV range), Nikon Z 6

Late afternoon, two hours before sunset, front-lit; a wild seedling apple tree.

Wood Pigeon

After sunrise, Eyeworth Wood

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