If You Go Down In The Woods Today…

All the interesting action was occurring about ten miles north of here… and maybe some of it about sixty yards to the left…

Okay, so I get a commission, and with nothing over the weekend, an overcast day was looking pretty promising by about 7pm. Cloud was starting to break nicely. DS-10 was making the right lets-go-out noises as well, so armed with camera, and mental shopping list (including whatever latest Man v Food style pudding craze is likeliest to make me feel sick afterwards and guarantee continued adherence to diet), we headed out by about 8pm, heading into the Forestry Commission zone to stalk sunset pics.

Unfortunately, high atmospheric wind distribution meant the weather had turned brilliant, too quickly. So instead of interesting cloud formations overhead, the interesting cloud formations were pretty much on every distant horizon, except for the important bit out west. If I’d been about fifty miles east, I’d have had a better sunset to photograph, in terms of having at least a bit of cloud in the way. Sometimes, as above, you get sod all of interest to look at. Just glorious blue skies. Boo.

We still had a good old drive, in terms of scouting to see if anywhere along the route would be worth a re-visit if the weather looked more promising on another occasion. Some nice areas of water which would make good reflection work. Some good tree patterns here and there, but most at an inaccessible range for the impact I want to achieve.

So we got distracted as usual. Passed a herd of pregnant donkeys heading along the road for the watering-hole, and a fire-engine, also heading for the ‘watering-hole’ (i.e, the pub, which wasn’t on fire). Sadly no time to waste camera battery on either, still hoping to get a sunset pic or several, before actual sunset.

Stopped at a couple of turnings into Forestry car-parks to jump out and take test shots, like the incredibly dull one illustrated here (the irony of complaining about the fantastic weather is not lost on me, you can believe that!). Didn’t want to risk bottoming out the bodywork in the potholes by going too far from the main road, and definitely not into the actual car-parks, where I could see the rooftops of other cars on site, but no dogs being walked, if you get my drift…

It was when I was standing by my car, just off-road at the entrance to one of these out-of-the-way idylls, taking pictures of the sky in all directions and basically thinking to myself stuff like ‘useless’ and ‘stupid blue sky’, that I realised the LAST thing anyone else in the area at the time wanted to see was a stranger with a camera. Especially since it was just starting to darken enough for the flash to initiate automatically a couple of times. I heard a few car doors slamming in succession (still no sound of any actual dogs though), and my camera informed me at one point that ‘Blink Detected’ was recorded on digital capture. I swear I was pointing it at the sun at the time too 🙂

Maybe it has got a longer range than I thought 😉

Good thing I wasn’t out there with a full paparazzi sniper rig, and a black hoody on. That’d have been some even more embarrassing stains to clean off someone’s upholstery.

Anyway, what with DS-10 still hooting with laughter at my announcement “I’m not going right into the car park because of the pot-holes and the doggers” and the sky being beautifully crap to photograph besides, which wasn’t going to change, I decided to call it a bust. We stopped off a bit further north to try again for some shots, but the clouds weren’t playing tonight. Still a few more dogless car owners in the car parks though. But then I guess it is pretty much early summer now, and sunset is approaching 9pm already. Too late for tea and too early for bed, for some people 🙂

Saw a herd of black cows without reflective collars on driving back, which is the other reason I avoid the forest at night. I don’t want to turn a corner in the dark and drive into a wall of Moo. When I had the Pug, I swear a llama jumped right over the bonnet out of a verge, on the way to University early one morning. I’ve seen albino muntjack, and one animal in particular driving back late at night that nobody sober should have to witness, ever. And you wonder where people like Tolkein and Stoker got their ideas from…

So anyway, all you folks walking your imaginary dogs in the forest early in the morning and late in the evenings, if you see anyone apparently taking pictures of the sky in your vicinity, Yes, that is what they are doing, and No, it is not about you.

And if you must play dog-walker, learn some dog-barking impressions. You might even get away with it. Or not, as the case may be… I’m sure there’s a huge market for human-dog impressions on Youtube 🙂

L xxx 😉

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