Halfway through the month of August, I always start to monitor the heathland that is surrounding my city. This is the time that it will start blooming. And it is always a great sight, even more if you are able to find a wide open field. With August just behind us, you might have a last chance before the heather will be overblown (if you are not already too late). So grab your gear and shoot some last minute heathland!
The heather plant can be found all over the world. The species in The Netherlands origins from the West and North of Europe, and roots in sandy grounds. It prefers to grow in oceanic climates, where there summers are not too hot, and the winters are not too severe. The purple plant will start blooming halfway in August, and is at full bloom at the end of the month. How long, and how colourful it will bloom, depends on the summer. It is at her best after a wet summer season.
The purple coloured flowers are in great contrast to the green grass, and as you might know, green and purple are complementary colours. So they can be used perfectly to add some depth and contrast to your work.
In The Netherlands, heathland can be found everywhere. However, the best place to capture this season’s spectacle probably is National Park Veluwezoom. Holland’s oldest National Park, part of the larger nature area called “Veluwe“.
This park is marked by hills, heather plants, grass, and forests. Which all are usable aspects to set up a wonderful composition. The sweet scent and the colours of the flora will be savoured by nature lovers (and bugs).
Unfortunately, at this time of the year, you possibly will not be the only photographer in the National Parks. I arrived at 6 o’clock in the morning, just a few minutes before sunrise, and already photographers swarmed the nice spots like bees swarm a beehive. For me, this spoiled the fun a bit. A Dutch saying sounds: “A beautiful woman never is yours alone“. I guess the same counts for beautiful spots on this planet. We all share the world, don’t we?
Landscape photography can be tricky, especially with different light conditions. That is why you’ll need to get up early, to make sure your shooting session will be during the Golden Hour. And if you are lucky, it will be a cold night and a warm day. This will improve the changes of some mist hovering above the ground. This happens when the air moisture reaches the “dew point“. The air temperature is cooled enough to turn humidity into water drops.
If you get up early, and bother to go out for a photography trip, prepare well. It would be a same to wake up at 5 AM, and don’t get the results you wished for. Therefore I’ll share a few tips, to improve your changes on the hunt for a nice photograph of the heathland:
- Prepare your shoot, by scouting the location (or use Google maps)
- Check the weather reports, know when (and where) the sun will rise and dress accordingly
- Gain inspiration by studying photos taken by others at the location you are going to visit (search Panoramio, 500px, and Flickr)
- Use the green and purple colours to add depth
- Even in flat countrysides, always look for a interesting foreground
- Go there at the Golden Hour to get the best light
Thank you for reading and good luck on your photography trips. Please do share your results in the comments. I am very curious to your photos!
For those who are not in the occasion the photograph the heathland this year, mark your calendar halfway August next year, so you won’t miss the chance!