Watership Down: 5 Black and White Film Images to Calm You
Watership Down: 5 Black and White Film Images to Calm You

Watership Down: 5 Black and White Film Images to Calm You

As a photographer, there are moments that transcend the ordinary and beckon you to capture the essence of a place in its raw and unfiltered state. Watership Down near Kingsclere, a location made famous by Richard Adams’ novel, is one such place. In the quiet embrace of February, armed with my trusty Bronica ETRSi and a roll of Ilford PAN F+ film, I set out to explore this iconic landscape through the lens of black and white photography.

Camera Gear + Black and White Film Choice

Equipped with my Bronica ETRSi, a medium format camera renowned for its sharpness and versatility, I opted for the timeless charm of Ilford PAN F+ film. Rated at ISO 50, this film promised rich contrasts and fine grain that would bring out the details of the landscape.

To enhance the drama in my shots, I attached a red filter to the lens. This filter deepens the shadows and darkens the sky, creating a stark contrast between the elements in the frame.

watership downs

Using a Recently Repaired Cable Release

Using a recently repaired cable release with the camera’s cable release hole, I sought to eliminate any shake or vibration that could compromise the clarity of my images. This, coupled with shutter speeds varying between 1 and 4 seconds, allowed me to capture the serene yet dynamic nature of the Downs.

A sturdy tripod became my steadfast companion, ensuring stability and precision in each frame. This combination of equipment and technique enabled me to freeze time and capture the subtle details that make this location so enchanting.

watership downs

The Watership Down Journey

Embarking on the Watership Down journey in the cool embrace of February unveils a distinctive atmosphere — cool, barren, yet remarkably calming. The landscape, unencumbered by the usual hustle and bustle, draws you into its quietude. Amidst this serene haven, a few inhabitants, the infamous bunny rabbits, add a whimsical touch, connecting the real world with the literary realm of Richard Adams’ classic.

In February, the Downs takes on a muted palette, devoid of the vibrant hues of busier seasons. The cool air creates a crisp clarity, allowing the landscape’s natural contours to take center stage. It transforms into a haven of tranquility, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the unfiltered beauty of nature.

The absence of snow or frost during this time does not diminish the captivating allure of the Downs; instead, it accentuates the raw beauty of the landscape. The muted tones and skeletal branches against the backdrop of the cold, yet serene atmosphere create a unique visual poetry.

Against this tranquil backdrop, the bunny rabbits roam freely, contributing a touch of charm and enchantment. Their playful presence becomes a living link to the literary world, adding a layer of narrative to the peaceful haven. The Downs, in February, becomes a canvas where the simplicity of the landscape intertwines with the lively spirit of its inhabitants, creating a harmonious blend that defines the essence of this unique journey.

watership downs


Embarking on a photographic expedition to Watership Down during the heart of winter became a profound exploration of the interplay between nature’s stark contrasts and nuanced subtleties. Armed with the powerful combination of the Bronica camera and Ilford PAN F Plus, medium format film, each frame encapsulated the essence of this iconic location in a captivating manner.

The deliberate use of a red filter added an extra layer of drama to the scenes, intensifying the contrasts between the pristine white snow-covered hills and the deep, shadowy valleys. Meticulously applying this technique, I strived to evoke a timeless quality in the resulting black & white images, creating a visual narrative that transcends the ephemeral nature of the season.

In the quietude of February, the Downs unfolded its enchanting magic. The landscape, draped in solitude, invited me to pause and reflect. It’s in this stillness that the true beauty of simplicity emerged – a subtle dance of light and shadow, form and emptiness. Through my lens, I endeavored to capture not just the physical features of the Downs but the intangible essence that makes it a sanctuary of tranquility, even in the cold embrace of winter.

watership downs


Q: What camera and film did you use for the series? A: I used a Bronica ETRSi camera paired with Ilford PAN F+ medium format film, rated at ISO50, to capture the stunning black & white images of Watership Down.

Q: Why did you choose to shoot in black & white for this series? A: Black & white photography adds a timeless and dramatic quality to the landscapes. It allows me to emphasise contrasts, details, and the unique atmosphere of Watership Down in February.

Q: Can you elaborate on the use of a red filter in your photography technique? A: Certainly! I employed a red filter to enhance contrast in the images. It deepens shadows and darkens the sky, providing a more dynamic and striking visual impact to the scenes captured.

Q: How did you ensure stability and precision in your shots? A: To eliminate shake and vibration, I used a cable-release with my recently repaired camera cable-release hole, coupled with a sturdy tripod. This combination ensured clear and crisp images, even with varying shutter speeds between 1 and 4 seconds.

Q: What inspired you to explore Watership Down in February? A: Watership Down in February offers a unique experience – the cold, barren, and calming atmosphere creates a serene backdrop. The sparse surroundings, interrupted only by a few bunny rabbits, contribute to a peaceful and solitary photographic journey.

Q: How did you approach capturing the infamous bunny rabbits in your shots? A: I embraced the literary connection to Richard Adams’ novel and incorporated the bunny rabbits naturally into the landscape, creating images that playfully reference the iconic characters from “Watership Down.”

Q: What motivated you to use medium format film for this series? A: Medium format film, specifically Ilford PAN F+, was chosen for its rich contrasts and fine grain. It allowed me to capture the details of Watership Down with a level of clarity and depth that complements the scenic beauty of the location.

Watership Down: 5 Black and White Film Images to Calm You



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