Woodlands and fog, a potent mix. For a landscape photographer the combination is nature’s way of saying it loves us. Indeed, fog and the woodlands can be mysterious, enchanting, scary—but never boring. Simon Baxter has a few tips for capturing great shots in the woods:
To the untrained eye, the woodlands can be a boring jungle of trees without interesting detail or compelling subject matter. But look closely and you’l find more than just trees. You’ll find character lines, just like you do when you look for someone special in a crowd. The trained eye will find a beaming personality in a sea of humanity, just as Baxter did when he found this Silver Birch.
The tree almost doesn’t belong there. It is so different from everything that’s around. It has dead wood lying at its feet. Plus, it’s dark and gloomy, and that adds mood.
Baxter suggests taking the sky out of your compositions. It can be both distracting and at the same time less contrasty, especially on an overcast, foggy day. Most people prefer to shoot with a wide angle lens, taking in more of the scene. But often that can create the problem of distracting elements.
Notwithstanding, sometimes it is good to change the perspective, use a wide angle lens, and try different things. Never ever take just one image, even if that one image seems like perfection. See if you can improve upon what you’ve already got. Look at the scene in a new way.
Play around with bracketing and other techniques. Sometimes a single exposure may not give you the kind of dynamic range that you’re looking for. Take enough bracketed shots so that you can decide later on whether to blend them or not.
It’s easy to go back to sleep after the alarm rings out at 5 AM. But if you do manage to make that effort and actually go out, you could end up getting conditions far better than you actually envisioned. If nothing else, you will have the opportunity to spend some time basking in the glorious conditions and enjoying the atmosphere.
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