Spring photography and a volcanic ash cloud

Posted: April 29, 2010 at 07:37 am Author: Katrina Podlewska

Of all the possible reasons for Westonbirt’s new spring photography shoot to be hampered, an extremely rare – erupt once every 200 years – Icelandic volcano was not one of our considerations.

As I, our photographer for the day and a Forestry Commission designer turned up at 6am to catch the sunrise, we wondered what effect the news that a huge volcanic ash cloud was covering the UK would have on our photography. Would the cloud hinder the streaming sunlight we had wished for when we’d planned our early morning spring colour shoot?

Our aim was to get striking shots of the pink, red and cream colours of the magnolias, camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons which cover the Old Arboretum in spring.

Luckily, the natural phenomenon seemed to just be ruining the plans of holiday makers and travel companies. After a slightly murky start (much down to the weather rather than the ash we guessed), the sun shone and we were able to capture the famous colours which draw people to the National Arboretum at this time of year.

We found brilliant examples of magnolias and camellias on Main Drive and Loop Walk, which resulted in some beautiful close up shots for the media, future leaflets and guides for our visitors. The cherry blossom collection in Silk Wood also provided us with some subtle creams and pinks.

As many people will tell you, flowering has been late across the country due to the harsh winter, but it is great to see our national collection now awakening. Capturing the colours and sense of excitement that spring is finally here is important to us, as photography a great way to show visitors what a wonderful place Westonbirt is to visit.


Over the next few months we’ll use this photography on the websites, on marketing material and will send the pictures out to journalists across the country writing about the arboretum. After a cold and slightly uncertain start, the spring shoot was indeed a day well spent.

Spring photography and a volcanic ash cloud

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