Capturing Watership Down: A Year-Long Photography Project
Capturing Watership Down: A Year-Long Photography Project

Capturing Watership Down: A Year-Long Photography Project

Embarking on a personal photography project inspired by Richard Adams’ timeless 1972 Watership Down masterpiece, is a venture both thrilling, profound and deeply personal. While I pondered ideas for photography project, the allure of this literary landscape has beckoned me to undertake a year-long journey, a visual exploration of the landmarks woven into the fabric of Adams’ narrative. This project is not merely about capturing images; it is an immersive journey through the essence of the book across the four enchanting seasons.

Watership Down, a tale of resilience and camaraderie, has left an indelible mark on me since childhood. In this blog post series, I invite you to join me on this adventure as I traverse the landscapes that shaped the epic saga. From the lush blooms of spring to the crisp tranquility of winter, each season promises to unveil a new facet of Watership Down’s charm. As the shutter clicks and the seasons change, let’s together delve into the magic that lies within these renowned landmarks and the real Watership Down.

Watership Down Photography Project Overview

Looking North from Watership Down for my photography project.

Undertaking a year-long creative photography project and a photographic pilgrimage inspired by Richard Adams’ Watership Down signifies more than a visual exploration—it’s a narrative journey across the pages of a beloved epic. This project encapsulates the essence of the book’s landscapes, embracing the cyclical beauty of all four seasons.

In a recent journey to the heart of the Watership Down landscape, I was captivated by the enchanting Beech tree, a central element in the narrative where the rabbits establish their new home. Standing beneath its sprawling branches, I felt the weight of the story and the responsibility to convey its essence through my lens. The Beech tree, much like the characters in the tale, became a symbol of resilience and newfound beginnings.

Looking through trees to the North face of Watership Down.

During this reconnaissance trip, armed with my trusty Canon AE-1 35mm camera, I captured the initial moments of this visual journey. The black and white medium seemed fitting, echoing the timeless quality of Watership Down. The draft photographs, presented here as a tantalising preview, showcase the stark contrast of the Beech tree against the ever-changing backdrop of the English countryside. Each frame is a tentative exploration, a prelude to the comprehensive visual narrative that will unfold over the coming seasons.

These preliminary images, with their monochromatic charm, aim to encapsulate the raw emotion and natural beauty that Adams so eloquently portrayed in his book. As I trace the rabbits’ fictional footsteps and framed the Beech tree through my viewfinder, I couldn’t help but marvel at the convergence of literature and art.

The project’s scope extends beyond a mere photographic documentation; it’s a commitment to convey the spirit of Watership Down. Over the course of the next year, I’ll immerse myself in the landscape, navigating through the blossoms of spring, the vibrancy of summer, the rustic hues of autumn, and the serene quietude of winter. The seasonal evolution will undoubtedly shape the narrative of this visual odyssey, mirroring the ebbs and flows of the novel itself.

Watership Down’s landscapes are not merely settings—they are characters with stories to tell. Through this project, I aspire to capture not just scenes but emotions, ensuring that each photograph resonates with the soul of Adams’ timeless narrative. As the project unfolds, I invite you to accompany me on this literary and visual expedition through the seasons, discovering the magic that lies within the contours of Watership Down.

Photography Approach on Watership Down

As I embark on this photographic odyssey inspired by the book Watership Down, a crucial aspect of the project lies in the deliberate and immersive exploration of each season. The intention is not merely to document the passing of time but to encapsulate the unique atmosphere, colours, and emotions that each season imparts to the landscape.


The awakening of nature mirrors the rebirth experienced by the rabbits in Watership Down. Amidst blooming wildflowers and rejuvenated greenery, the landscapes become a canvas for hope and new beginnings. The delicate pastels and vibrant greens will infuse a sense of optimism and growth into the visual narrative.

Capturing Watership Down: A Year-Long Photography Project


With the warmth of the sun casting golden hues across the countryside, summer will bring vibrancy and life to the scenes. The lush landscapes, teeming with activity, will echo the camaraderie and adventures of Adams’ characters as they navigate the challenges of their journey and newfound home.

Capturing Watership Down: A Year-Long Photography Project


As the leaves turn to shades of amber and crimson, the landscapes will reflect the transitions and trials of Watership Down’s protagonists. The earthy tones will evoke a sense of nostalgia and introspection, capturing the essence of the novel’s deeper themes.


The hushed tranquility of winter will cast a serene blanket over the familiar landscapes. Bare branches and glistening frost will lend an ethereal quality, mirroring the quieter, contemplative moments in the book. This season will provide a fitting backdrop for reflection and a sense of closure as the project concludes.

Capturing Watership Down: A Year-Long Photography Project

35mm Film Draft Photos from my Preliminary Outing, End of Winter 2024

Open New page to see full Gallery of Images available

The seasonal approach is not merely a technical consideration but a deliberate effort to convey the dynamic spirit of Watership Down. Each chapter of the novel resonates differently with the changing seasons, and my photography aims to encapsulate these nuances, creating a visual tapestry that parallels the emotional arcs within the pages of Richard Adams’ timeless tale. As the project unfolds, the landscapes will evolve, mirroring the cyclical nature of both the natural world and the literary masterpiece that serves as its muse.

Technical Considerations

Navigating the varied terrains of Watership Down demands a versatile photographic arsenal, and my toolkit is as diverse as the landscapes I aim to capture. The project’s success hinges on the careful selection of equipment tailored to the unique requirements of each scene, and the weather!

Canon 5DSR for Landscapes

The Canon 5DSR will be the workhorse, seamlessly swapping between lenses to ensure that every nuance of Watership Down’s breathtaking landscapes is meticulously documented. From the sprawling vistas to the intricate details, this camera will deliver the high-resolution imagery needed to convey the grandeur and subtleties of the setting.

Sigma 600mm Telephoto for Wildlife

To capture the elusive wildlife ( especially the rabbits from Watership Down) that inhabits the Down, the Sigma 600mm Telephoto lens will be invaluable. From rabbits to birds, this powerful lens will bring the fauna to life, allowing the viewers to connect with the rich biodiversity of Watership Down. The challenge lies in freezing these fleeting moments, and the Sigma lens is poised to meet that challenge head-on.

Sigma 105mm Macro Lens for Flora

In the microcosm of Watership Down’s flora, a macro lens will serve as the storyteller. Every delicate petal, dewdrop, and leaf will be magnified, revealing the intricate beauty that often goes unnoticed. This lens aims to create an intimate connection between the audience and the smaller, yet equally enchanting, facets of the landscape.

Canon AE-1 for Essence

The Canon AE-1, a classic film camera, equipped with a 28mm and 50mm lens, will be my instrument for capturing the essence of Watership Down. Film brings a timeless quality, and these lenses will be pivotal in distilling the emotional core of the landscapes, offering a glimpse into the soul of the narrative.

Zenza Bronica ETRSi Medium Format

The Zenza Bronica ETRSi, armed with a 75mm lens, will contribute to the project’s visual richness. Medium format film yields unparalleled detail, providing a distinct aesthetic that enhances the storytelling element. This camera will be reserved for scenes that demand a more profound, contemplative perspective.

Accompanying this array of cameras will be a suite of accessories, including tripods for stability, various filters to manipulate light and atmosphere, and other essential hiking gear. As I traverse the miles of Watership Down, this diverse equipment setup becomes not just a technical consideration but an integral part of translating the novel’s essence into a visual symphony. The journey is not only about capturing images but about crafting an immersive experience that resonates with the spirit of Richard Adams’ literary masterpiece.

Landmark Selection

In the coming year, my lens will traverse the diverse landscapes of Watership Down, each site holding a unique significance in Richard Adams’ epic tale. While this blog post is currently a preliminary exploration, the following draft areas offer a glimpse into the landmarks that will shape the visual narrative of this project:


This mysterious and foreboding location plays a crucial role in the latter part of the novel, serving as the home to General Woundwort and his militaristic warren. Capturing the essence of Efrafa will involve delving into its secretive atmosphere and conveying the tension embedded in Adams’ words.

Sandleford Warren

The starting point of the rabbits’ perilous journey, Sandleford Warren holds historical significance. Documenting this location will involve capturing the remnants of a once-thriving warren and exploring the juxtaposition of beginnings and endings.

Cowslip’s Warren

A tranquil yet enigmatic warren, Cowslip’s Warren stands as a poignant episode in Watership Down. Photographing this area will require a nuanced approach to capture the contrasting elements of beauty and tragedy that define this part of the story.

Watership Down Warren

The heart of the narrative, Watership Down Warren represents the rabbits’ sanctuary and their ultimate destination. Photographing this iconic location will involve conveying a sense of refuge, community, and the triumph of perseverance against adversity.

Nuthanger Farm

This human-run farm introduces a different dynamic to the rabbits’ world. The challenge here lies in capturing the coexistence of nature and human influence, emphasising the interconnectedness that is central to Watership Down.

While these areas provide a draft roadmap, the true exploration lies ahead. As the seasons unfold, I’ll delve deeper into these landmarks, capturing not just their physical features but the emotions and stories embedded in the very soil of Watership Down. The evolving narrative will guide the lens, ensuring each photograph is a chapter in the visual story of this literary pilgrimage.

Personal Connection

Watership Down isn’t merely a literary masterpiece; it’s a world that has woven itself into the fabric of my own narrative. The decision to undertake this year-long photographic journey through its landscapes is not only a homage to Adams’ creation but a testament to the personal connection I’ve nurtured with this tale of resilience, friendship, and the indomitable spirit of adventure.

Growing up, Watership Down was more than just a book on my shelf; it was a portal to a world where rabbits embarked on epic quests, faced adversity with unwavering courage, and found solace in the sanctuary of Watership Down Warren. The characters became companions in my imagination, their struggles and triumphs etched into my own story.

As I stand aside the ‘New’ Beech tree, very near to where the rabbits found their new home, I’m reminded of the universal themes that resonate across time and generations. It’s not just a tree; it’s a symbol of new beginnings, of forging a home amidst the challenges of an unknown world. Capturing this moment with my lens becomes more than a photographic endeavor—it’s a personal pilgrimage.

The choice of cameras and lenses isn’t arbitrary; it’s an intentional selection to translate the emotions embedded in Watership Down. The Canon AE-1, with its classic film charm, mirrors the timeless quality of the narrative, while the Sigma 600mm Telephoto lens seeks to capture the untamed spirit of the wild, reminiscent of the characters’ untamed journey.

As I navigate the landscapes, I carry not just equipment but a heart full of memories and a mind teeming with reflections on the impact of Watership Down on my own journey. The landmarks are not merely geographical points; they are chapters in a story that resonates with my own experiences of growth, camaraderie, and the pursuit of a place to call home.

This photographic venture is more than a project; it’s an exploration of the symbiotic relationship between literature and personal narrative. Watership Down isn’t just a story I read; it’s a story I live, and through my lens, I aim to share not just the visual beauty of these landscapes but the emotional depth that connects us all in the tapestry of storytelling. As the seasons unfold, I invite you to join me on this intimately personal odyssey through Watership Down’s timeless allure.

Blogging Journey and Posts to Come

Embarking on a photographic expedition through Watership Down will be a journey of seasons—four chapters in the visual narrative, each offering a distinct palette, mood, and challenge. Over the course of the coming year, I’ll be chronicling this expedition through a series of blog posts, each dedicated to a specific season. The objective is not only to capture the evolving landscapes but to provide a nuanced exploration of the novel’s themes and emotions as influenced by the changing seasons.

Spring: A Blossoming Beginning

In the inaugural post, witness the awakening of Watership Down as spring breathes life into its landscapes. From the vibrant blooms at Nuthanger Farm to the lush meadows surrounding Watership Down Warren, expect a visual feast of renewal and hope. Through both documentary-style photographs and those reflecting my personal style, we’ll delve into the intricate dance between literature and nature.

Summer: Vibrancy and Vitality

As the days lengthen and warmth permeates the Down, the summer installment will capture the vibrancy and vitality of the novel’s setting. Wildlife thrives, and the landscapes burst with energy. Explore the dynamic interplay of light and shadow through documentary shots that showcase the flora and fauna alongside my signature reflective style that seeks to encapsulate the emotional resonance of these sun-soaked scenes.

Autumn: A Tapestry of Change

With autumn’s arrival, the landscapes transform into a rich tapestry of colours. Redstone Warren, Watership Down, and the surrounding areas will witness nature’s transition. Documentary-style shots will freeze moments in time, while my unique photographic style will aim to convey the introspection and nostalgia inherent in this season of change.

Winter: A Silent Serenity

The final chapter of this visual journey will unfold against the backdrop of winter’s serene hush. Big Water, Darkhaven, and other landmarks will don a blanket of snow, offering a unique perspective on Watership Down. Both documentary and reflective photographs will capture the stark beauty of this season, mirroring the novel’s quieter, contemplative moments.

Each blog post will feature a blend of documentary-style photographs, providing a factual record of the landscapes and landmarks, and reflective shots, offering a more artistic interpretation that delves into the emotional depth of Watership Down. Additionally, a Gallery of Prints will accompany each season’s post, allowing you to bring a piece of this literary landscape into your own space.

Join me in this unfolding story through the pages of Watership Down, where literature and photography converge, creating a visual symphony that pays homage to Richard Adams’ timeless masterpiece.


As this photographic planning stage through Watership Down draws to a close, the proposed journey has become more than a visual documentation—it has evolved into a narrative woven with the threads of literature, personal connection, and the ever-changing seasons. Navigating the landscapes, from the iconic Watership Down Warren to the secluded Darkhaven, will be a transformative exploration, a dialogue between the written word and the visual medium.

The four seasons shall unfold like chapters, each contributing to the multifaceted tale etched in the soil of this literary landscape. Spring’s blossoming marked the beginning, a narrative birthed from the same fertile ground that inspired Richard Adams’ masterpiece. Summer will bring vitality and warmth, mirroring the camaraderie of Watership Down’s protagonists. Autumn’s tapestry of change will reflect the novel’s deeper themes, and winter’s silent serenity will provide a fitting backdrop for reflection and closure.

The combination of documentary-style photographs and those reflecting my unique photography style will aim to encapsulate not just the physical features of the landmarks but the emotions and stories embedded within them. It is my hope that through these images, you’ll glimpsed the soul of Watership Down—the resilience, camaraderie, and the profound beauty that resides in the ordinary and extraordinary moments of life.

The Gallery of Prints accompanying each season’s blog post will be an invitation to carry a piece of this literary landscape into your own space, fostering a connection that transcends the boundaries of the page and screen.

As this planning chapter concludes, I extend my heartfelt gratitude for joining me on this odyssey. Watership Down’s landscapes, characters, and themes have inspired artists and readers for generations. Through this photographic endeavor, I’ll aim to add my dimension to the legacy of this timeless tale.

As the seasons continue to turn, and Watership Down remains a beacon of literary brilliance, these photographs stand as a testament to the enduring magic of storytelling and the profound impact it can have on our perception of the world. Until our paths cross again in new adventures, may the spirit of Watership Down linger in the corners of your imagination, inviting you to explore, reflect, and discover the beauty that surrounds us.

Capturing Watership Down: A Year-Long Photography Project



We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *