Embrace Livingston 2014

Photo of Embrace Woodland Walk Livingston
Photo of Embrace Woodland Walk Livingston

Night Photography

Taking photographs in the dark is always a challenge. Taking photographs in the dark, without a tripod, using a hand-held camera, high ISO and moving subjects is not very wise, even with one of the latest and best ‘low-noise’ digital cameras available. But that’s me. And the results are surprising.

On the nights of Friday and Saturday, 3 & 4 October 2014, the ‘Woodlands Trust Scotland‘ hosted an event in the woodlands near Bellsquarry, Brucefield and Adam Brae in Livingston, West Lothian, known as the Wilderness Plantation.


Called ‘Embrace’, it was a production by Vision Mechanics, described as a ‘fusion of aerial artistry, dance, shadows and illumination, inspired by an ancient Indian legend’.

I need to say I was a bit sceptical whether it would be worth the bother, tramping around in the muddy darkness, at a time of year when it’s starting to get noticeably cooler, with the risk of wind and rain, just to see a few trees with some coloured lights.

However, the event exceeded all my expectations. It was imaginative, creative and involved audio with performance art that was very well done.

At that time, I hadn’t been to the Enchanted Forest at Pitlochry, which I believed to be spectacular and developing a growing reputation as a ‘must see’ in the Scottish annual events calendar.

By comparison, I had feared this might be low-key and amateurish. But the standard was very high, for what it was, and in the end presented something very different from the Pitlochry event, reflecting the mystery and adventure of a local woodland at night with some surprises thrown in too.

Photo of Embrace Woodland Walk Livingston

Of course there was the relevant sub-text for the Woodland Trust, about saving the trees, inherent in the ancient ‘Indian legend of Amitra Devi’

Give it a go

If you get a chance to go to this type of event in your area, it is worth the effort. Wrap up well, put on some muddy boots and toddle along.

Having pushed all the boundaries of common sense for photography, some of my images are slightly ‘soft’ or blurred due to subject/camera motion or digital noise. I did use the OIS but the stutter speeds were still silly for hand-held. I have included them in the gallery anyway as they portray some of the atmosphere.