This Dartmoor National Park picture is a particular favourite of mine for several reasons. Anyone who ventures into a forest to shoot landscape photographs will sympathise with the challenges that this type of location throws up. Woodlands are difficult places to shoot at the best of times; they are busy and cluttered and genuinely quite overwhelming when it comes to arranging a composition.
One of the most effective ways of making woodland work in photographs is by shooting them on a foggy day. Mist or fog does a wonderful job in softening and sometimes hiding the jumbled backgrounds of a typical forest scene, tremendously simplifying compositions and helping to focus attention on the shape of trees.
That being said, there isn’t any mist or fog in this image at all, which brings me to my story. After many years since I last photographed Black a Tor Copse, I thought it was time I made a repeat visit. Waking up to a morning choked with fog I decided now was the perfect time to head back to the woods. I could see the image I was hoping for clearly in my mind’s eye, twisted branches stretching over moss covered boulders, all emerging from a thick white blanket of fog. Some of my favourite subject matter in ideal conditions; this was going to be perfect.
With that misty woodland image still firmly set in my mind, I jumped into the car to begin the short 20-minute journey to the trail head, eager to get to the wood as quickly as possible. However, within...