Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Trees Have It ~ Wide Angle Wednesday

 " Along Snake Creek"
(1.300 sec@ F/16, ISO 100, 55mm fl, pattern metering, tripod, Overcast evening light)

Trees. No matter the time of year, no matter what the weather, trees fascinate me. Their different forms, heights, colors, fruits, roots, and textures... always make for an interesting study. Gnarly old trunks, autumn displays of color, tangles of winter branches, not to mention the critters that dwell in them. It all provides a canvas for the nature lover with a camera. Trees photographed well need no other subject matter, they can be majestic, and mysterious. Frilly and flowery. Towering and powerful. You know exactly what I mean, don't you?

My week is running away with me a bit, and I've yet to get outside with the camera. So I thought I'd post an image from my autumn road trip that I've only just edited in the last twenty four hours. Even though this is not the sprawling spacious landscape we often associate with wide angle lenses, this was taken at a 55mm focal length, and allows for room to set up a complex composition so as to fully accentuate the grouping of trees in full fall color. The sky was rather dull and grey, a thick wall of cloud with zero definition. So I framed just the trees, and composed a bit downstream so as to create a way to break up the different layers of shrubs and trees with the creek flowing into the shot. The tree in the left side foreground area has some natural angles to it, and the bark stood out against the dark greens behind. The background trees lean in on the opposite angle to it and have hits of saturated color due to a mild rain shower. Hence the spots and bubbles in the current of the creek. Where I knelt along the bank for this shot, my husband and I were under a thick canopy that sheltered us from the rain. It was tranquil, soothing, rustic. I hope you see all of that when you look at the above image!

If I have any one tip today for using a wide angle lens, I guess it'd be don't be afraid to tighten up your composition. All too often I see photos where it looks like everything was miles away, and it's the first thing I hear from beginners, that their images look so distant. That they thought they were much closer at the time. Start getting closer to your scenery! And it's been said over and over in reference to photography: if you think you're plenty close, get closer still. I begin fairly close, and keep working my way deeper and deeper into the shot. It's provided me with some unexpected results when I first started, and now it's second nature.

And speaking of wonderful landscapes, I'm delighted to add an image to my blog today from my good friend and extraordinary photographer Bob Grauer. Bob has been one of the few photographers who keeps me on the straight and narrow road of photographic quality. I have learned a great deal from him about everything from great light and composition, to what bit depth to use at the printer! He's never afraid to tell it like it is, and for that I've been extremely grateful. So I'm pleased to share one of my favorite images of his here today!

"Foggy Morning" ~ Bald Cypress Trees, Big Cypress National Preserve
(a 3 exposure bracketed image, early morning diffused light, blended in PhotoMatix,
exposure fusion mode. Additional layers in PS)

Not only do I love how Bob saw the foggy morning winter light creating a mysterious backdrop for these clusters of Bald Cypress (which I'm told look like this year round) but his choice of wide angle lens allowed him to accentuate the boardwalk and lead us into the image. Very engaging, and so effective. It transports you. Thanks for allowing me to share this beautiful photo Bob!
And thanks to everyone for allowing me to ramble on! Inspired yet to get out there with your own camera? I hope so! Have a good one folks!

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