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ePHOTOzine members meeting a Westonbirt

ePHOTOzine members meeting a Westonbirt - The Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire trip was arranged by five active members of the website.

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The Wessex Members Trip to Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire
Report by Barry Thomas

ePHOTOzine readers may have spotted in the forums that a trip to Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire was arranged by five active members of the website. After synchronisation of diaries and much anticipation, myself and four other members, from the Wiltshire/Berkshire area, finally met up for a photo-shoot. At this time of the year Westonbirt Arboretum has an tour called The Enchanted Wood - a one mile walk through the woods where a series of coloured lights are used to illuminate some of their very fine specimen trees and bushes.

ePHOTOzine members meeting a Westonbirt

The five members consisted of (from L to R) Chris Taylor, Roy Heath, Brian Price, Alan Benson and Barry Thomas. With the exception of Roy and Alan, who are neighbours, this was a first meeting for our group, although everyone knew each other through ePHOTOzine.

We got on extremely well with a great deal of humour and bantering going on and it was a great time to talk about each other's photo submissions and critiques.

After meeting up and a chat over coffee, our lens caps were removed and it was time to hit the trail.

The first thing that struck us as we wandered around was the enormous volume of people who had a similar idea. The tour was packed with families, torches, flashguns and liberal amounts of mud. One member remarked that it looked like the Eden Project - at night.

ePHOTOzine members meeting a Westonbirt

The trail meandered through the wood and, despite our group keeping pretty much together we were always searching for that illusive different angle that would make our submission to ePHOTOzine different from the others. But, as you know, a good secret is difficult to keep and soon the other members were tripping over each other's tripods. All good fun really.

The nice thing about meeting up with like minded people is that you can bounce ideas off of each other and more importantly, take note of the answers. During the tour there were lots of talk about lenses, shutter speeds, f-stops and the advantages of this over that.

ePHOTOzine members meeting a Westonbirt

Finally, we arrived at the exit with cards full of great images, although it was difficult to hold the camera steady and press buttons with frost-bitten fingers. It was really cold, made worse by a biting wind.

Safely back at base camp the lens caps were replaced and there was much talk of images safely in the bag and, of course, the ones that got away. Everyone had a good time and we are looking forward to a future visit - when it gets warmer!

If anyone else wants to get together all it needs is for one organiser to suggest a location and enlist members through the ePHOTOzine forums. It's a great opportunity to share techniques learn from each other, and have a good time.
We will post up reports from the events afterwards.

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