There are woodlands in Kent where you find a carpet of bluebells. I used to visit them as a boy and had not seen them since. You don’t see them much in the north of England although there’s one notable exception. The Rannerdale bluebells at Buttermere are a famous and lovely sight, covering the slopes in spring.

Woodland bluebells are prettier. The purple blue colour is like a soft light in the darkness. These are in a wood at the Darenth Valley where I undertook a short afternoon walk. A few days later I came back again, driving around in my car, and found a much larger display beside a road. It wasn’t a walking area and there was no path. I stepped amongst them carefully for photographs and video. It was a random, anonymous place best referred to as the road name although I forget what that was.

From Manchester I reach the Peak District in about thirty five minutes. That’s an amazing transition from one of the largest UK cities to one of the famous National Parks. I reach Kentmere in the Lake District in about an hour and a half, Cwm Eigiau in Snowdonia just as easily, where I camp and walk the lovely Carneddau the next day. The south of England is warmer and feels more relaxed. People are more content. I went to a psychogeography lecture at Manchester University and one of the audience said we don’t need London, inadvertently implying the opposite.

I miss the warmth of the south and that is reason in turn why I don’t think I’d survive Scotland. Manchester weather isn’t good. Bleak sunless winters in Scotland are considerably worse. Scottish hills are by far the best but not in ten foot visibility. I do think about living in Scotland, however, for obvious reasons.

I like these muted colours. Minutes later the sun shone through, brightening the scene, but it’s this shot I prefer. I gravitate toward bright scenes and strong colours. It’s satisfying to pursue what is, effectively, a different photographic style. A blue sky would detract from this shot. The bluebells are subtle which means the tone of the picture must be subdued.


Darenth Valley Bluebells

Friday May 15, 2015