Tag Archives: forest

More Autumn Forest Impressionism

Panning the camera is another technique I love to use in order to create an impression of the scene in front of me.

Panning the camera to create an impressionist photography of an autumn forest

This was quite early in the fall, and there were only hints of the autumn colours.

I miss the fall colours, but fortunately, spring is just around the corer, with its palette of fresh hues. The autumn definitely has a different mood to it, and every year I try to go out and photograph nature as much as I can.

Panning the camera to create an impressionist photography of an autumn forest

The autumn colours were in full bloom and the foliage was backlit, the ideal lighting situation for translucent objects

The amount of panning you need to create the kind of photographs in this post is going to depend on what kind of focal length you use. I used a 35mm lens on a cropped sensor, corresponding roughly to 50mm on a full frame camera.

Panning the camera to create an impressionist photography of an autumn forest

I didn’t particularly like this photo when I got home and downloaded the pictures from my camera. But it has grown on me and is now one of my favourites. This is why I always wait some time before editing my photos, so I get a more ‘objective’ opinion, if that ever is possible.

I typically choose 1/6s as my shutter speed for panning trees in the forest. Too long a shutter speed and I find it hard to keep the up and down motion straight enough. On the other hand, a fast shutter speed is not giving me enough of a motion blur.

Panning the camera to create an impressionist photography of an autumn forest

I wanted to get a little bit of the ground in my composition. It took a number of tries to get the result I wanted, as it is quite a bit harder to frame your shots when panning.

The best compromise that works for you may be different, and it always takes a bit of experimentation to find the settings that suit your style best.

Panning the camera to create an impressionist photography of an autumn forest

I took a pic from roughly the same vantage point a couple of years ago. But this time around, the photograph came out quite differently. When photographing nature, no two days are the same.

I would really encourage you to give this technique a try. You can see how it works with an autumn forest. You should experiment with different kinds of subjects. I know I will.

Panning the camera to create an impressionist photography of an autumn forest

when I saw this scene, I know I had a photograph or two, but it took me some time to figure out the best vantage point. Always work your subject.

Panning the camera to create an impressionist photography of an autumn forest

I learned this from Bryan F Peterson: what is the best time to take a vertical photo? Right after you take the horizontal.

 

Autumn Forest Impressionism

Impressionist photography is one of the personal projects I’ve been working on for the past couple of years. And since autumn is my favourite season, photographically speaking,  I strive to take as many impressionist pictures as I can during the fall.

Multiple in camera exposures of a tree in a fall forest

I immediately noticed this tree. I was attracted by the pastel colours.

One of the techniques for rendering impressionist pictures involves in camera multiple exposures. I learned it from one of my photographic heroes, Bryan Peterson.

Multiple in camera exposures of a fall forest to create an impressionist photograph

The leaves were backlit, an ideal situation. And I figured the touch of red/orange would make the picture ‘pop’.

Working in the forest, I found that moving the camera down a little bit after each frame produces the most pleasing results. How much movement is a matter of taste and also depends on the focal length of your lens. The photographs in this post were taken with a 35mm lens on a DX camera, corresponding to a 50mm lens for a full frame sensor.

Multiple in camera exposures of a fall forest to create an impressionist photograph

It is harder to get the overcast sky out of a vertical composition, and I believe this is the reason I have fewer of these. But I’m very pleased with this one.

A bit of experimentation is in order, and with practice, you develop the muscle memory that allows you to generate impressionist photographs of your liking without much trial and error.

Multiple in camera exposures of a fall forest to create an impressionist photograph

I took a picture from pretty much the same vantage point the year before, but the colours are never quite the same from year to year (or week to week for that matter)

But even with the practice I’ve got under my belt, I always take several pictures of a given composition to make sure there is at least one I really like. If your cameras allows for multiple exposures, I would encourage you to give this technique a try.

Multiple in camera exposures of a fall forest to create an impressionist photograph

I try to find compositions with a pleasing arrangement of trees. It’s harder than you think.

Light Painting Trees

In my light paintings of musicians and dancers, the scene to light paint is relatively small. I can easily go through the scene a number of times to make sure I haven’t forgotten to light paint any part of it. And a moderately powerful LED light is good enough to do the job. Note that I never light paint the whole scene in one go, but only one part at a time and put together all of the shots in Photoshop.

I really want to hone my technique and push myself to do more and more challenging light paintings.

The bigger the scene to light paint, the harder it gets. One of the main difficulties in light painting a large scene is to remember which part of the scene one has already light painted. It thus pays to develop a systematic approach.

For the scene below, not only did I used a more powerful light than in my people light paintings, but I had to figure out which path I would take in order to light paint the whole scene.

Light painting of trees

There is a wooded area pretty close to where I live. I had noticed these trees a while back, and I immediately knew I wanted to light paint them.

Impressionist Photography: Winter Forest Pans

This is the winter instalment of my forest impressionist photography project using the panning technique.

Impressionist photography using the panning technique in the forest of Blackford Hill, Edinburgh in the winter

I discovered this location in the fall and was curious to see what it would look like during the winter.

While I’ve been using this approach for some time now, I’m still surprised by the results I get. This luckily means there must be many, many other photography subjects out there for which one can get interesting panning shots.

Impressionist photography using the panning technique in the forest of Blackford Hill, Edinburgh in the winter

It was one of the few locations deep inside the forest where I managed to get the panning technique to work.

From experience, I’ve found that it isn’t a good idea to dismiss something out of hand without giving it a try, because some of the most interesting discoveries I’ve made with impressionist photography techniques were ‘happy accidents’. So experimentation is essential. On the flip side, that also means one must discard of lot of attempts, but that isn’t too much of a problem with today’s digital technology.

Impressionist photography using the panning technique in the forest of Blackford Hill, Edinburgh in the winter

I found it earlier to use the panning technique in soft light, and the clear advantage of the winter season in Scotland is that there are many, many cloudy days with even soft light.

In the film days, such a project must have cost a fortune. Not only is the cost of taking a picture minimal with digital, the immediate feedback from the display at the back of the camera allows one to adjust from shot to shot, thus enhancing the chance of getting a usable photo. And in spite of this, it does take quite a few takes to get it right.

Impressionist photography using the panning technique in the forest of Blackford Hill, Edinburgh in the winter

I find vertical shots more challenging when panning the camera. 

And while I’ve slowly grown to like the muted colours of the winter season, the spring colours now on display make me itch to pursue this personal photo impressionism project.

Impressionist Photography: Winter Forest Multiple Exposures

Last year, I did skip the winter season when it came to my personal project on photo impressionism. I didn’t think I could get any interesting images. I should have known better.

Multiple exposures of winter forest scene in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

I revisited this scene, which I had discovered in the fall. The muted early tones evoke rather different feelings than the bright fall colours

It is generally a bad idea to dismiss a photographic idea without giving it a try, I have learned. Sure, sometimes my initial gut feeling that I won’t get interesting pictures is confirmed. But I found that if I really try to explore the subject, I will at worst come up with some better ideas for next time, and at best get some more photographs to add to my body of work. It’s always worth a try.

Multiple exposures of winter forest scene in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

I found there was a lot of dead wood lying on the ground during this winter, and these horizontal lines interfered with the vertical tree lines when taking the multiple exposures. So I had to find a way to frame my photographs without the wood on the ground. This is one of the few pictures where I managed to do that.

So I decided this time around to go back to Blackford Hill and see if there weren’t any interesting images to capture during the winter season. I was pleasantly surprised. This post shows my favourite multiple exposure photographs of the winter forest in Blackford Hill.

Multiple exposures of winter forest scene in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

This is a picture I would never have taken even a year ago, and was a very pleasant surprise.

Sure, I prefer the fall (my favourite season for this kind of project) or the spring, but the muted earthly tones found during the winter season have an appeal of their own. What do you think?

Impressionist Photography: Fall Forest Multiple Exposures

In my previous blog post, I showed some fall forest impressions obtained by panning the camera. Another impressionist technique I like is taking multiple exposures in camera. In some cases it produces images I like better than the ones I get from panning the camera, but in other instances panning is the way to go. I make every effort to take pans and multiple exposures of the same subject, and chose the ones I prefer later on. And sometimes, I can’t decide.

Multiple exposures of fall forest in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

This is one subject where panning didn’t really work for me. I much, much prefer this multiple exposure version. Taken in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh.

Finding subjects that work with multiple exposures is a matter of trial and error. I stumbled upon trees as a good subject for this technique while walking in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh. I then tried the technique on multiple trees in the forest of Blackford Hill. Since I liked the results, I decided to go back to the same location to document the seasonal changes.

Multiple exposure photograph of the fall forest in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh.

This is another example of a multiple exposure version woking better than the panning shot. And I would not have been able to decide which technique worked best prior to taking the photos.

I do these kinds of personal projects because they help me refine my vision as a photographer. When starting out in photography, one is very often frustrated because the images out of the camera do not correspond to what one saw on location. This is because the digital camera doesn’t see the world the way we do.

Multiple exposure photograph of the fall forest in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

This scene is one example where I like both versions, multiple exposures and panning (see my previous blog post for the panning shot)

It is thus important to be able to visualise in one’s mind what the photograph is going to look like given the scene in front of us.

Multiple exposure photograph of the fall forest in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh.

Here’s another case where I cannot decide if I like the multiple exposure or panning shot better.

My light painting and impressionism projects do require a great deal of pre-visualisation, and I believe they’ll make me a better photographer.

Multiple exposures photograph of Blackford Hill, Edinburgh.

It’s always a good idea to take both vertical and horizontal compositions. I find it harder to take multiple exposures photograph when holding the camera vertically.

Impressionist Photography: Fall Forest Pans

Fall is my favourite season for taking pictures in the forest. I love the feeling you get walking around. But with the amount of detail modern cameras are able to reproduce, it is sometimes difficult to convey that feeling in pictures.

Panning picture of fall forest scene in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, early fall

It was rather early in the fall, and thus there were only hints of the autumn foliage colours. This is one of my favourite panning shots.

Panning the camera during a long exposure is a very effective way of getting rid of the fine details and leaving the viewer with just an impression of the scene the photographer is looking at.

Panning picture of fall forest scene in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, late fall

A few weeks later after the first photograph was taken, the fall colours were in full force.

And from day to day and week to week, the colours of the forest change and one gets different pictures every time one goes out, even if choosing the exact same vantage point. Especially since it is rather difficult to replicate the camera movements from one time to the next.

Panning picture of a few trees with fall colours on Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

This is an area I had walked by and not paid attention to in the spring and summer. But the wonderful fall colours grabbed by attention and I worked this location for a while, getting a few pictures I like very much.

All of the pictures in this post were taken on Blackford Hill, in Edinburgh. I wanted to get pictures from that same location for different seasons. I think for 2015/16, I’ll be looking at other wooded areas for my personal forest impressionist photography projects.

Panning photograph of three trees with fall colours, taken on Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

This is another photograph from the same location as above. From a different point of view. And the light did change from one shot to the next, as this picture has slightly waker tones than the previous one.

 

Impressionist Photography: Summer Forest

Until recently, in my impressionist forest project, I had only used diffused lighting. The reason was that I believed the high contrast scene produced by sun rays into the forest wouldn’t work when panning my subjects.

A few weeks back, I was on a scouting trip with a camera. It was a beautiful sunny day that made the excursion very pleasant. The road to the location went inside a wooded area, and since I hadn’t taken pictures for a while, I really felt the urge to take some photos. In the digital age when film cost is no longer a factor, there isn’t any valid reason not to experiment. And since I hadn’t anticipated getting any decent pictures from the scouting trip, there was no pressure of any kind. Even though I was kind of convinced it wouldn’t work, I decided to experiment anyways. Who knows, may be I could add some photographs to my impressionist forest series.

Panning impressionist photograph of summer forest

The sun rays coming from the back of this forest scene add an interesting touch of warmth to this panning impress inis picture of the forest.

I was partly right in my initial judgement, in that the strong highlights in the sunny forest scene did ruin a lot of my attempts. But in some cases, as in the photo above, these highlights could be tamed in Photoshop and give me a picture like no other in my collection.

Panning impressionist photograph of  forest

The light was significantly softer from this angle, but the few patches of sunlight make for a better image.

I now have a better idea of the kind of subjects that might work for this kind of panning photography, and I look forward to going out on sunny days in the forest to see if I can further add to my collection.