By alan ranger
9 Jan 2019
This is the healing way of Shinrin-yoku Forest Therapy, the medicine of simply being in the forest. Shinrin-yoku is a term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.
The walks around these selected woodlands are aimed to promote our senses and connection to trees/woodland/nature – as we walk, observe and take in our environment we may decide to make a photograph, or not.
“The most beautiful gift of nature is that it gives one pleasure to look around and try to comprehend what we see.” Albert Einstein
Exploring your local woodlands, natural areas has many benefits to your own health, mental and physical but also allows you to become more familiar with your local environment.
I’m running a woodland photo walk series on the first Tuesday of the month throughout 2019. Hopefully, it will encourage, and I’ll support, fellow outdoor photographers to explore local woodlands around the West Midlands, Warwickshire and nearby areas.
Yesterday we met up at Ufton Fields, Harbury, near Leamington Spa, in Warwickshire for our first photo walk. A good turnout, 12 photographers, were blessed with some good sunlight for the 2.5hr morning ramble. Personally, I was just content to be out on a fresh winters morning in the sunlight with like-minded people and the possibility to make photos was not really my priority. As it turned out, the light, circumstance and probably my own relaxed state of mind led to me making a handful of images that I came back at looked and thought to myself, hey – I’m happy with that.
I hadn’t decided on any style beforehand but it seems my creativity was driven towards “low key” situations with wonderful sunlight bleaching out various aspects of the woodlands leaving other areas in dark shade. So here are the few images I took yesterday morning. Already looking forward to the next woodland photo walk on 5th Feb at Rough Hill.
I would encourage any photographer to organize a map of local woodlands in their area and organize a regular photo-walk for others to join, experience, heal and maybe make a photo or two.