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.
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.
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.
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
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.