The bluebell and garlic season is nearly upon us

When planning a landscape photography shoot, the time of year is one of the biggest factors in choosing your location.

Spring is upon us and its a time that provides fantastic colour and light. Particularly early spring just as the clocks have changed as the sun is still fairly low in comparison to mid summer.

Bluebells are an iconic plant of spring and are often found carpeting the ground beneath the trees in our local woodlands. The British weather has made some funny turns since last autumn, plus an unusual winter and (dare I say it) the heat wave through the last week of March, which has now cooled off into April – and I hear on the weather forecast that snow may be on its way!! Bluebells require light and warmth to trigger growth before the tree canopy fills out and blocks the light, so normally we would expect to see them bloom around late April to early May

Bluebells in Middleton Woods
Bluebells in Middleton Woods, Ilkley – taken with a 17-40mm lens at 28mm focal length – Aperture f/20 and Shutter 0.3 sec

 

Wild Garlic is often found in an established, shaded woodland alongside a stream or river and when they bloom they create a striking, dense carpet of white flowers. We would expect to find the flowers appear between May and June before dying back around June.

The time of year of course varies due to weather conditions, and is also different in the South and North of England. The National Trust has set a up a very useful Bluebell watch page where you can find when and where they have been spotted, and add your very own sighting http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bluebellwatch/

Bluebells in Middleton Woods

For photography, bluebells and garlic make beautiful subjects whether it’s a macro close up of the vibrant flowers to a wide-angle view of a carpeted woodland floor, so its best to have both a telephoto and wide angle lens when heading out. A stunning bluebell wood in North Yorkshire is Middleton wood by Ilkely as when in bloom the whole of the area is awash with vibrant blue and it’s easy to spend your day finding little details. Its also best if you can head out on a day with fairly flat light and little wind, this helps with some lovely long exposures that suck in the colour. Don’t forget to be careful where you walk, as you don’t want to trample on any of the flowers.

Left image: Bluebells in Middleton Woods – shot with a 100mm lens with an Aperture of f/5 and a shutter speed of 1/250 sec

 

Wild garlic is found at many locations and a Natural Light favorite is Janets Foss woodland at Malham as you can see by the below image taken by Mark Sunderland.

Wild Garlic below Janets Foss, Malham

Another great location to find both Garlic and Bluebells is Strid Wood at Bolton Abbey, the woodland here is well established and provides a superb backdrop to your photography. We run workshops at Bolton Abbey in both April and May in the hope to catch either flower in bloom and also to Malham towards the end of May to catch the garlic.

Wild Garlic in Strid Wood
Wild Garlic in Strid Wood, Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire
Wild Garlic in Strid Wood
Wild Garlic next to the paths through Strid Wood

 

If you spot either bluebells or wild garlic in bloom why not drop us a comment below.