17th June 2011
…You will be sure of a big surprise
I woke up on Tuesday morning and the sun was shining and I knew that it was time to stop thinking about it taking self portraits in the woods and actually to start doing. So I set off to my local woods. Underneath my tracksuit (chosen for its easy removal abilities) I was sporting the little black and white negligee and not much else, the plan being that if I found the woods to be deserted then I would be brave and strip off and if it was full of other people walking their dogs then I would just enjoy the walk and return another day.
Did I mention the dog? You can’t go to the woods and leave the dog at home, and anyway, I hoped that if someone did come across me in my near naked state she might just be enough deterrent to make them think twice about getting to close…..of course this relied on the fact that they didn’t realise that she is about as dangerous as sawn off cucumber.
With my tripod in its little bag over my shoulder we crossed the road and were soon lost into the green of the woods, the sound of the road quickly vanishing behind us as we walked in the dappled sunlight. The dog loves this place and so do I if I am honest, it is a little haven of rural peace in the midst of an urban land and today, it was totally and utterly deserted. No matter where I went there was not another dog walker in sight and so when I stumbled across a perfect spot for my first shot there really was nothing to stop me from stripping off.
I have decided it is the stripping that is the worst bit. I found myself looking furtively around, checking, checking and checking again that not only could I not see someone but that I couldn’t hear anyone either and to be honest I felt a bit of a wally striping off. I can assure you there is nothing sexy about a woman trying to get her track pants off over her trainers in the middle of the woods. It was only once the camera was all set up and couple of practice shots taken that I realised that wearing trainers and socks had also not been a great plan, but I was determined by this point and so I whipped them off and proceeded to go barefoot.
6 shots later, I realised that getting the aforementioned shoes and socks back on was going to be a bit tricky as my feet were now pretty muddy, but, by this stage I also seemed to have lost any inhibitions about being semi naked in the woods and so bundled up the camera, tripod and my pile of clothes and set of the stream at the bottom of the woods to wash my feet.
On the way, I admit I got a little distracted by this amazing branch that I found laying across the path and I am glad I did and personally I think it resulted in the best picture from the whole entire outing.
Once down at the stream, I quickly discovered that the bank was far too high for me to get into the water, but again, I did find another great spot to take a few more pictures, before setting off again, barefoot and nearly naked to find a place where I could actually get into the water.
By this time I had probably been walking for about 10 minutes, not including photograph time and my feet were completely caked in thick spongy woodland mud. This was a shot that had to be taken for Him, I knew he would laugh when he saw the state I was in and length I had valiantly gone too for my art.
By this time, my legs where aching and my feet where actually starting to feel the effects of barefoot walking but I wasn’t quite done yet. The stream looked so pretty, the water crystal clear and the surroundings peacefully idyllic and so I decided to take a few more shots. I set the camera up, got the shot ready, selected the timer and waded in to the cold water. It was at this moment that I realised I had not really planned this very well because as I heard the first click of the camera go off I also heard the splash of a rather large Labrador joining me in the stream, you can see by the 2nd shot I wasn’t that thrilled at having her there, but she was delighted, and decided to stick around for shot 3 as well.
By this time I was done, I couldn’t be bothered to negotiate the muddy bank, tie her up, reset the camera and do it all again and after a brief fight trying to get my wet, but clean feet, back into my sock and shoes I headed home having learnt a few things.
Next time I need to remember to take a bag to put everything in, as walking round the woods semi naked with a tripod, camera, clothes, shoes and phone all bundled underneath your arm is not ideal. If there is any chance of water, then a towel would also be useful and also something on my feet that I can slip in and out of easily would probably be a good idea too. Oh and finally, don’t ever attempt to take any photographs in or even near water whilst your Labrador is on the loose as they think this activity is the best fun they have had in years and somehow, the erotic shots one was hoping for, don’t look quite the same with her in them.
Ps…If you want to see who else has been out scavenging for photographs then click on the button below and you can find all my Scavenger Hunt pictures on this page