Photography in the forest around the UK can be a really wet love affair. You are likely to get terrible photos if you go on a sunny day. You are likely to get incredibly dark photos if it is too rainy. You are likely to get completely soaked to the bone if you go and it begins to rain on you. So what is the deal with photos like this?
First and foremost, to be able to get a photo like this you need to keep a few things in mind. The forest is “busy” with things that distract the eye. If it is a sunny day, you will likely experience that the sky is overexposed when you are trying to expose for something in the forest. If you try to miss and accidentally expose for the sky, your shot will be incredibly dark and you may not be able to recover it.
Other things that cause a busy forest can simply be too much information. Lots of trees, shrubs and sticks have ruined many of my photos in the past. My eye can see through that stuff but my camera simply captures everything.
To help reduce these distractions here are a few simple tips that can make your ability to make the shot you want easier to obtain.
Tips and Tricks
Just remove the Sky from your photos if it is a bright day. Look for scenes, like the side of a hill or a valley that allows you to focus on the ground instead of the sky.
When in doubt make the scene you want to see. These two feathers were on the ground near this tree. I grabbed them and thought my wife might like to have these as a picture, but it was incredibly busy around where I was standing. So I propped them up on a tree and went for it! Not bad for a few minutes of work?
Plan your trip around the weather
I feel like I am addicted to weather applications on my phone I will put up a few links below to show the ones that I like. But usually what I do is I look for usually some of the warmer temperatures is in the morning after a night of rain which will create fog. Other times if you live in a place where there is constantly fog and you are a lucky person. If the weather is destined to be sunny and 70° every day just like in California, then try to either go out in the morning to catch the blue and gold and hours or similar Lee in the evening. Their applications for your phone will help you plan your outings.
Tone that green down!
I find that some of my cameras tend to focus on the green. When I am in Woodland areas and it is quite bright out I end up with a picture that is basically monochrome in green and white. Do you see what I will do is go and adjust the temperature of the entire image? If that doesn’t help then I’ll go into the color palettes and adjust accordingly usually what I’ll do is I’ll turn I’ll adjust the saturation and brightness so that the green ends up not being so overwhelming in the scene.
Plan your trip
When the weather is not good for making photography but it’s good for your comfort, grab a cheap point-and-shoot or your phone and go for a walk. Try to find scenes ahead of time so that when the weather is just right so you have a mental hit list of scenes to shoot. This is important because sometimes the weather is fleeting and the fog will go away on the rain will get heavy or the sun will come out and then you basically just have to go home.
Expose for the highlights to darken the distractions
If it is a sunny day try to look for really shady areas that have pockets of sunlight shining through. These pockets were allowed your camera to focus on the highlight of the scene and hopefully, there is an interesting subject within the highlight. This enables your camera to bring the rest of the image to Dirk and focus the image on the subject we made it. You’re a few examples of a very sunny day with high tree coverage but with the occasional pocket of sunlight shining through onto dandelions. I also used a wide aperture so that the rest of the background falls to blur and then you.
Recommended Apps for planning your Forest Photography sessions
I use Photopills mainly to plan for Golden Hours and Blue hours, but the app has so much more.
Clear Outside is an application that simply shows you the potential for rain and fog near you. It is a free app.
Hopefully, these tips and tricks will help you to be able to make better shots in the forest. Force photography can take a lot of dedication but just a little bit of planning ahead of time and being armed with the right information will help you create more keepers in the long run. If you’re interested in seeing more images please check out my Instagram profile. There I try to highlight my more interesting images that are necessarily the best ones that show technical proficiency and some knowledge about photography.