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  1. #1
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    How do you approach composition when photographing trees?

    When photographing trees, my eye is caught from a distance, by some interesting feature.

    Maybe the tree is an outstanding specimen in its own right, maybe it is struggling against the landscape. Sometimes it's one of many and there is nothing especially unique, except the way a certain branch hangs down.

    After seeing a tree I want to photograph, I will walk right up to it if terrain allows, otherwise I will walk around so I can see if the thing that caught my attention looks better from a different view. Once I have selected the direction, then I look at the surrounding trees and landscape for contrasts or repetitions. I'll back away while looking in the finder until it looks better or worse and then correct.

    Then I'll work on the composition of the photograph.

    What's your approach?

  2. #2
    wildbill's Avatar
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    I don't know but I can't stop photographing them, trees are probably half of what I shoot. I usually walk around til I find a vantage point that eliminates as many things other than the trees themselves.
    www.vinnywalsh.com

    I know what I want but I just don't know how to go about gettin' it.-Hendrix

  3. #3
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    I use either 85mm or 135mm for capturing trees. What interest me is always the texture of the bark, chaotic arrangement of branches and sometimes whole tree itself.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/baachitraka

    Some trees, but most of them are d******

    I wish I own a tele rollei but I am happy with tele zuikos.
    OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
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  4. #4
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Generally it is the light that directs how I compose and work with trees. Trees are in 95% of my images, but I still more interested in the light.

    8x10 platinum print:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Alders, Houda Point, Humboldt Co_8x10.jpg  
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  5. #5
    VaryaV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    What's your approach?
    I whip out the binoculars first... just in case there's a bird that needs watching.
    Sourdough, salami and blue cheese... and 2 dogs drooling with such sad, sad eyes. ... they're working me... they know I'll cave!

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  6. #6
    cliveh's Avatar
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    That is a very interesting question Bill, as often there is no specific compositional arrangement for a tree/s. I think some trees are just photogenic and others not. I have always loved the version below

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=st...ml%3B600%3B689

    by Fox Talbot that he made with his calotype chemistry. I think I have seen this tree in the grounds of Lacock Abbey, but not as good as his portrayal. I have sometimes wondered if a better image of a tree could be produced with greater mental closeness (probably not the right term). I have never done this, but have sometimes wandered in the past about sending out 2 groups of about 10 students and asking both groups to photograph trees, but telling one group they must meditate for several minutes on their subject tree before taking the shot. If we were then to display the images from both groups, would the pictures from the meditation group have more presence? I don’t know, but it would make an interesting experiment.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  7. #7
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I'm usually attracted to the interplay between the light and the tree(s). So my approach varies with the light.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  8. #8

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    I approach them from downwind. They are easily spooked.

  9. #9
    Poisson Du Jour's Avatar
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    For the grand old trees spreading in all directions around these parts, my first worry is finding a lens that is wide enough to get all of the tree in, from the base to the most distant branches. Snowgums are naturally photogenic and can be photographed in-close (e.g. after rain, when it intensifies colour), after snow (texture) or distance (context with the environment). Redwoods are perhaps the most difficult to photograph well because of their height and serried arrangement: a pattern must be established that is pleasing to the eye.
    .::Gary Rowan Higgins

    A comfort zone is a wonderful place. But nothing ever grows there.
    —Anon.






  10. #10

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    My previous post was entirely flippant, but I do photograph trees a lot.

    For me, there is usually a moment when I see a certain fall of light and form that says "photograph". If I don't do it (take the picture, I mean) then and there, but wait and try to get it "just right" then I end up with a photograph of some trees. Rather than the particular emotional fizz of that thing I saw. But sometimes I go back to the same tree or trees, month in and month out, waiting for something to be there. And sometimes it is. and often it isn't.

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