on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Discovering Edinburgh’s urban woodlands

Paulo Valdivia

Paulo Valdivia

I’m a Chilean amateur photographer of and about nature, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Married for almost a year, and currently finishing my PhD studies. Being greatly influenced by my father (a creative-surrealistic nature photographer) and by my childhood experiences living in a National Park in southern Chile, I decided to engage in making images more seriously after finishing university, when I was able to afford my own camera. I believe in the beauty and power of combining images and storytelling.



Paulo Valdivia 4x4

In the last year, I’ve been discovering some captivating woodlands within the urban area of Edinburgh, Scotland. For multiple reasons, all related to the hectic dynamics of my PhD, I did not have the chance to visit, or even discover, these places. But in the current final phase of my studies, these places have been fundamental for improving my mental and spiritual well-being.

Visiting these woodlands started as an essential need for maintaining a sane self, just that. I, therefore (wrongly) assumed I could not find any real peace or even having a chance to do expressive photography in these woodlands, like those I can find in remote areas of southern Chile, my home country. However, the visits had become something more. Without noticing, I began forging some sort of bond with these local woodlands.

As I developed this special affection for these forests, I remembered a quote from Henry Peach Robinson, of his book “Letters of Landscape Photography” (y.1888). He paraphrases another person, saying: “Each of us is constituted with a special idiosyncrasy related in some mysterious way to a certain class of natural scenery, and when we find ourselves in a scene answering to our idiosyncrasy, the mind feels itself at home there and rapidly attaches itself by affection”.

I don’t know if these four images make justice to the mysterious beauty of these woodlands. I’m not certain if these images can be sufficiently expressive of my emotional responses to the qualities of these areas, and particularly to the peace of them. For now, I just want to honour them for their existence. For now, I know one thing for sure: in these woodlands, my mind feels at home.



On Landscape is part of Landscape Media Limited , a company registered in England and Wales . Registered Number: 07120795. Registered Office: 1, Clarke Hall Farm, Aberford Road, WF1 4AL