Paul Mitchell FRPS “Woodland Ways” on 24th February 2022

Paul Mitchell’s ‘Woodland Ways’ presentation was eagerly anticipated and the evening did not disappoint.

In the first half, Paul shared wonderful images from various woodlands throughout the year including Burnham Beeches, Savernake Forest, Micheldever, Moores Valley and the New Forest.

In the second half, he demonstrated his post-production workflow in Lightroom and Photoshop and showed how subtle enhancements of colour and light can transform an image. To quote Ansell Adams, “Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships.”

Paul has been influenced by artists such as Turner, Paul Sandby, Albert Bierstadt and photographers Peter Dombrovskis, Shinzo Maeda and Christopher Burkett an exponent of ‘reaching into the woodland’ which Paul advocates.

He recommends “Reaching into the woodland” to avoid the capture of largely uninteresting sky that often comes from using a wide-angle lens looking for rhythm, texture and light and will ask himself the question – will it make a print good enough to hang on my wall?

Paul recommended a 70-200mm lens and his most used focal length was 135mm. Because of low light levels in woodland, a tripod is essential – as is a polariser but this needs to be used with caution. Using a longer lens allows compression that keeps the foreground in focus yet brings the background forward a bit. With mist and fog you also get depth.

As Auto white balance gives a colder impression of the subject, he prefers to use cloudy white balance to warm the image up. To aid composition Paul uses a card cut out with a rectangular hole that can easily be held up to view the scene, be moved about to frame a potential image and create the composition.

We were certainly immersed in wonderful woodland imagery and learnt some of the key considerations and recommendations for capturing a woodland scene from a true master of landscape and woodland photography. Thanks to Helen for providing her notes.

Link to Paul’s website Paul Mitchell Photography

Click this link to download a pdf of the flyer: Paul Mitchell Woodland Ways flyer