Stalking Trees- the native Black Poplar

6.00pm-8.00pm Thursday 11 August, 2016 Start: Hackney Wick overground station

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Native black poplar on the Lea River, London Photo: Peter Coles

The wild native Black Poplar (Popularis nigra var betulifolia) is a rare tree indeed – this is in part as it is very particular about where it grows, requiring lots of water beneath the ground, and in part as it’s sex life is somewhat complicated.  Few of the wild native varieties survive in significant numbers. There are fewer than 5,000 in the whole of Britain! However, just beyond where London celebrated the Olympics, out on the marshes and along the river Lea, there’s a few wild native Black Poplar that we will be stalking, with urban nature writer and photographer Peter Coles.

Want to gen up on the wild native Black Poplar? Then look no further than this handy factsheet from the Forestry Commission.

August boasts warm sunny evenings and with many Londoners away, this part of the metropolis can be eerily quiet – perfect for observing the wildlife that inhabits this neck of the woods.

Stalking Trees? When we first met Peter Coles he told us that when he had been trying to photograph the magnolia tree in the gardens at Kenwood House, it had taken him several weeks to get the shot.  Now we thought that was pretty extraordinary as we didn’t imagine you had to creep up on it…so we asked why on earth it took him so long to ‘stalk a tree’ – and that’s where the idea came from for our  series of Stalking Tree walkshops, in which we walk, talk about trees and discuss how to photograph them…

This is what Peter recollects: “It did take several weeks to find the exact right time to photograph the tree when the flowers were just in bloom. And I got it when a thunderstorm was about to break, with my favourite lighting of a black sky and brilliant sunshine. But yes, creeping up on the trees is what landscape photography can be about.  But how often do we get the chance to keep coming back to a subject, or stay there for hours or days till the light’s right?

Adults £15 / NUS concession £10 – accompanied children free – please bring your own camera or smartphone, a bottle of water, and appropriate clothes and footwear for walking off the well-trodden path.

 

Find out about previous Stalking Tree adventures: The Hardy Ash, the Fulham Holm Oak