This week has been rather quiet. British weather cast an uninspiring grey cloud, not only in the skies, but over my creativity too. I took my Canon EOS R5 along with the Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM telephoto lens into the woods whilst on a dog walk, and felt motivated to take images of trees, however, I ran into a few problems…
I tend to take my camera out most days as you never know when a good photo opportunity will come. Being outside this week, I wasn’t having much luck with the camera, so I decided to focus more on enjoying the open spaces rather than shooting them.
My dog and I ventured out into the New Forest. Situated in Hampshire, England, the New Forest is an area of outstanding natural beauty which is full of ancient woodland and is home to some of the best protected natural land in the UK.
It covers a vast area but today I do a short walk around Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, a small part of the New Forest that is known for its trees. The Blackwater arboretum is home to a number of trees from all around the world. Here you can also find some of Britain’s tallest and oldest Douglas fir trees, as well as two giant redwoods.
Walking along the path my attention was drawn towards a particular spruce tree. The needles from the fresh growth appeared to be a beautiful bubble-gum blue colour, and it certainly stood out from the surrounding silver birches.
A quick internet search revealed that this species of tree was called a Colorado blue spruce. I was so impressed with it, I had to take a close up shot of its pine needles and this is how they came out.
As I continued my walk through the woods, I come to a lovely cross section, and whilst my dog is happy entertaining himself, I decided to stop too and have a little play around with the Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM.
As the sunlight breaks through the winter trees, it casts shadows across the woodland floor where remnants of autumn remain in the form of a crispy leaf carpeting.
Orange and green are the predominant colours, and they contrast with each other magnificently. I especially like the green moss over the tree roots. Along with the chorus of the songbirds, it seems to be a nice day to be outdoors.
I set my camera to manual and point it into the forest. Immediately the first thing I notice is the light. Whilst all the leaves have fallen from the branches, and the sun’s rays are lighting up the ground, it’s still dimly lit in the woods and my camera sensor recognises that.
Because of the dark lighting, I have to adjust my camera settings. I could make the image brighter by slowing the shutter speed, however I would need a tripod to minimise camera shake (and I didn’t bring one of those). So, I choose to make the ISO higher and the aperture larger instead.
I have always had a fascination with trees and the older I have gotten, the more I have learnt about them. I think many people forget that they are living, and just like most living creatures, they communicate with each other. The thought of them whispering in the winds brings me happiness.
I stayed in these woods until my fingers got cold and my dog wanted to leave. As we began making our way back, the sun had gotten even lower, and I spotted a red cedar that looked as though as it was on fire. The sun lit up its bark to reveal a stunning orange colour, so I took a few photos of it from different angles.
Being out today has given me inspiration to photograph more trees. I love capturing they way they twist and turn or stand straight and in unison. I really feel that you can capture their character and when done well, the images can provoke thoughts and feelings for the viewer.
When I eventually got home and reviewed my photos, I realised I had made many mistakes. Various photos did fall victim to camera shake and came out blurry, and at some point in the day, I had managed to change my image quality from RAW to small JPEG which created a whole new set of fuzziness.
My favourite mistake I made though, which has had me laughing, has to be shooting in manual focus. Do not get me wrong, manual focus is great and does the trick just nicely; I, however, did not adjust my viewfinder. I usually wear prescription glasses but wasn’t on this day, thus my ‘focused’ image was actually a representation of my blurry eye.
Hey ho, I got some nice images but as far as camera days go, it was a pretty unsuccessful one! Nonetheless, it gives me a very good excuse to go back, and next time I will take my glasses and tripod.
I would be interested to hear from other photographers who enjoy taking photographs of trees.
What type of equipment do you like to use?
Do you have any tips and tricks regarding light, depth of field, or composition?
What is it about trees that you like photographing?