Cotswolds countryside in early June, by William Gray

Cotswolds Portfolio

My local patch, I've lived in the Cotswolds, in the heart of England, for over 20 years and it's one of the main locations for my one-to-one and small-group photography workshops.

The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a subtle landscape for photography. You won't find wild rivers, wind-swept mountains or a wave-gnawed coastline. That's not to say you'll struggle for inspiration... you just need to look harder for strong compositions, good light and interesting details.

On my photography workshops in the Cotswolds, we will often start the day early, capturing mist squirming above water meadows, with perhaps a distant church tower adding a focal point. Old beech trees also make striking subjects – either formal avenues in the grounds of fine gardens, like Hidcote Manor, or wild woods in nature reserves like Foxholes. The ancient oak trees at Sherborne are also full of character, and there's always something of interest throughout the year – from carpets of bluebells in May and June to poppy fields in summer.

Of course, the honey-stone villages of the Cotswolds are a magnet to photographers, but I try to avoid the predictable 'chocolate box' approach and look for quirky abstracts or dynamic compositions.