I’ve done this before, and I guess that I’ll do it again: pick a subject and show the seasonal changes.

My “wych elm photography” has been a feature for 10 months now, and I’ve visited some of the trees several times, as they’re both appealing and accessible.

The triptych of the Eadar a’ Chalda tree (above) was a good exercise; I’m pleased with the result, but I also knew that I had far more shots of another particular tree at Inchnadamph.

“Seasons” kind of suggests “four”, and that has created a minor problem!

Like a lot of outdoor photographers, I’m more inspired by winter scenery and light, and short-listing four proved impossible.

I gave up.

So here I go with seven.

And two were taken on the same day, but I’m refusing to exclude either of them!

The framing of each shot isn’t identical; it was never supposed to be.

I really don’t need to waffle on any more; it’s all about the pictures.


A day walking around Berwick-upon-Tweed; a figure-of eight as we went into the Deli twice: cakes and then crab sandwiches later.

Ambling around slowly and full of painkillers for the sciatica that had recently arrived uninvited, I just took the infra-red converted Nikon D5500. Not only did it suit the subject (IMO), but it’s as light as a feather.

I never intended to shoot so many photos, the process arrived quite organically as I saw so many things to point the camera at.

And brace yourself for:

…A lot of photos

…All monochrome (Infra-red 720nm; leaves come out almost white)

…Some ICM (intentional camera movement)

…Some UCM (unintentional camera movement) where the shutter speed was too slow

…Odd framing: some shot from the hip, just pointing the camera in the “general direction”

Some of these points might be flaws, but I’m determined to keep the integrity of the story. 

And I enjoyed it!

Berwick isn’t a huge place, so it’s ideal for a day’s exploration. I’ve tried to shoot it “honestly”, not deliberately setting out to make it look neglected or run-down. But the fact remains that, like a lot of small towns, it is a faded rose.

We visited a town on the coast in Angus last year, which would have seen similar glory-days; now it was just empty.

Berwick isn’t like that; it’s still alive, but how long these characterful features last before they turn into decay must be a moot point.

I’m often fairly useless in doing research before I go somewhere new, and this was no exception. Since getting home, about 300 miles away, I now discover how much I’ve missed too.

Definitely worthy of another visit. Maybe even shoot in colour next time!

Each photo opens larger if you click on it, and runs through if you click on the larger one:

A Cave near an Elm Tree

A few weeks ago, I was told about a cave “underneath” one of the elm trees that I’ve been photographing in the current “Wych Elm in Assynt” project.

Talking to Richard (the caver), he suggested that we could go and have an adventure sometime. Too tempting!

Since my first information, I’ve been back again and discovered that I wasn’t quite concentrating (not like me?), and the cave isn’t actually underneath the elm tree, but very close by.

Still; not to worry or be too pedantic.

Saturday morning: tea and chocolate at the car park about a mile away, and off we go!

And I’m wearing the oddest array of old tatty clothes that I could find, knowing what’s about to happen.

Half way across the heather, a hail storm slams down: fortunately on our backs.

At the elm tree; base camp: Richard puts on his caving gear, and I just add yellow Marigold gloves to what I’ve already got on.

He says it’s a good idea; I think he just wants me to look a twit. Mission accomplished!

A panoramic photo sets the scene. It’s a bit distorted as a panorama, but you get the idea.

The red box was added later to show the entrance; it doesn’t exist really.

“So did you Photoshop it?”

Might have; can’t say.

I soon discover that I’m not as flexible as I was in 1978 when I went caving on an Outward Bound course.

Can’t imagine why.

Anyway, I’m soon sitting in cold water and my underpants are wet.

Some of the water coming down the waterfall on the outside is now flowing into the cave via the other “wet entrance”, and it’s direction of travel seems to be back into the hillside.

We follow this little stream on hands and knees until it disappears: it’s not very far really, but great fun none the less.

I took my proper camera with me, in a dry-bag, but with the low ceiling, don’t feel inspired to get it out.

Plus; today’s revelation of the photographic equipment: the iPhone 14 actually takes really good pictures down here.

I’m amazed.

Angular stones plus old knees, and low ceiling plus a back that’s complaining make me realise that I’ll be glad to stand up outside.

But, on the way, I want some photos of the water flowing into the “wet entrance”.

And then a bonus….. an elm leaf, brown and wrinkled on the floor.

My connection to the tree nearby is re-established!

No, I didn’t take it in with me!

Anyhow, it was easy to find, as it had a red ring around it!!!

By the time I hauled myself out of the hole, Richard was already changed into something more comfortable.

I had about half an hour’s walk into driving rain with wet pants.

At least I still had my Marigolds on.

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