End of Year Reflections

Oh my goodness, where has this year gone?! We’ve reached the next turn on the Wheel of the Year, as we enter the season of Yule and the Winter Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere. Yule, the Sun’s birthday and a celebration of the return of the light and rebirth – a time for inner reflection on the year past and to look forward to the year to come with all the hope that the Sun’s renewed energy brings.

I’ve been using this time to look back over this year’s photographs, seeing what I’ve done well, what didn’t work and what subjects, places and styles fire my passion.  When I started to think about what to write for an end of year post, I’d initially seen this year as one of frustration, one step forward, two steps back, as technology and life created many obstacles, yet reflecting on it has helped me realise that I’ve made great inroads into two projects, as well as reigniting my love of black and white photography.  I’ve learnt more about the places I photograph and found that more in depth research has helped me to view areas and subjects I know well with fresh eyes.

I’ve also taken more time out to play and moodle, making many other images, on photowalks throughout the year, that were more sketchbook photographs…moments where I felt a real sense of connection to the spirit of each place.  And so, as an alternative to posting my “best of 2023”, and to celebrate this time of inner reflection, here are twelve images that are not necessarily my best ones, but that represent some of the paths I’ve trodden this year.

A wet, winter walk along a track skirting some of the ancient woodland in the valley – this same spot in autumn is ablaze with orange and gold yet, even in the muted tones of winter, it still holds a magical atmosphere. Juxtaposed with this, a hot summer walk in the East Sussex countryside just as the summer heatwave was starting to wane – through green fields lined with burnished grasses, across an old rail track past a gem of an old corrugated barn seemingly held together by rope!

Combe Valley, my local wetland and nature reserve, has a number of farms around its perimeter – the image of this old barn was made early in the year, now it is no longer recognisable as it undergoes conversion into a residential property. A late winter walk on the South Downs took me to this old hawthorn, possibly a remnant of long gone stand of trees, which has been permanently bent over by the prevailing south westerly winds. Beyond is Birling Gap lighthouse which stands precariously close to fast eroding chalk cliffs that culminate at Beachy Head.

The yew is traditionally seen as a tree of regeneration and rebirth and so it felt right, as we celebrate the return of the light, to head this post up with this image of one of my favourite ancient yew trees – the roots exposed to the light and gnarled, yet with many more delving deep into the darkness. This yew shares a path with others that grow over fern and moss covered rocks, dating back 140million years.

Avebury – a place that feels like home to me. In May I walked the Avebury sacred landscape and the Ridgeway, known as the oldest road in Britain, accompanied by a pair of yellowhammers, at the peak of the cow parsley, mayflower and wild flower meadow season. This stand of beech trees, filled with the light of maeinschien and swept by a warm southerly wind, protects a bronze age round barrow or burial mound near the edge of the Ridgeway. The standing stone is one of 27 that remain out of a hundred pairs of stones that originally lined West Kennet Avenue, a path surrounded by fields and flower meadows, between Avebury stone circle and the Sanctuary.

Late autumn brought me to this woodland where the soft, low, golden light is reflected through the yellow blaze of beech leaves. And to close this review of my year, I continued Oakenshield, my ‘tree through the year’ project, photographing it this week as it holds onto one last flush of autumn colour, before the Wheel turns at the Winter Solstice.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short review of some of my favourite places visited this year. This is my last post for 2023 and I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me in my first year of blogging. Sharing the journey and hearing your thoughts and reflections is always a joy, and your comments are much appreciated. Wishing you all a blessed Yule and a peaceful, healthy 2024.


  1. A beautiful contribution with fabulous pictures. I hear your voice from deep in the forest, calling Adiau to darkness and saluting Yule. Thank you, lovely Lin. I wish you and yours a blessing and lightening time.

    • Thank you so much Aladin, I do appreciate the support you have given me during the first year of my blog. I’m welcoming the opportunity to rest and reflect that this solstice pause brings and will hopefully celebrate the rebirth of the Sun by walking in the Solstice dawn. Warm blessings of this season to you and your family.

  2. This is an excellent post, your photos are amazing Lin. Thank you for sharing them. It seems that your newfound summer moodling is helping you develop a different creative approach, a more relaxed one.

    The holidays are perfect to reflect on all that is passing and look forward. I hope your future posts will highlight more of your fine art black and white work. Your header image of those tree roots is my favourite. Congrats on making inroads on two projects and on your first year of blogging too!!

    • Thank you so much Sarah for your congratulations and your support throughout my first year in the blogosphere. You are right I have been trying to take a more relaxed approach to my photography and through that I’ve reignited my love of black and white work…yes,there will be more!

      It had to happen really, as one my first influences was Fay Godwin, whose exhibition Land I saw many years ago, in the 1980’s I think. I also loved Don McCullin’s documentary images but his more recent landscape work, particularly of the Somerset Levels, is phenomenal in my opinion. If you don’t know them and you like black and white work, I highly recommend taking a look.

  3. Dear Lin,

    Your photographs are absolutely stunning! Thank you so much for sharing them. I’ve been looking for years for a beautiful photo of a railroad track with woods on either side from the perspective on someone walking on the track. I’d like to use it for a powerpoint presentation. If you ever capture one like that and would allow me to use it, with credit to you, of course, do let me know. Wishing warmth, love, and light to you and Deborah during this holiday season. Jeanie

    • Thank you for your lovely comment Jeanie, I’m so pleased you enjoy my work. An image for your presentation sounds intriguing, I’ll have a check through my files to see if I have anything of a railway track with woods either side although, I have to admit, nothing is springing to mind. If not, and the opportunity presents itself, I’ll let you know. Wishing you and yours love, light and laughter for the season and a happy, healthy 2024.

  4. Thank you for your suggestions. We have the book, Remains of Elmet by Ted Hughes and Fay Godwin, on the shelves. A perfect read for these long nights.

  5. Your photographs are truly lovely Lin, thank you for sharing them and your gentle adventures in walking your winding wending ways. Nature is so glorious … you ‘capture’ it perfectly.
    A blessed Solstice and Christmas to you and Deborah. And 2024 of course. May it be happy and healthy, loving and kind, creative and gentle.

    • Thank you Susan, for your lovely comment and your support for my blog – I’m so pleased you enjoy my images and ramblings.
      A blessed Summer Solstice, as it is in your part of the world! Warmest wishes to you and yours for the Yuletide season and a peaceful, happy and healthy 2024.

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