As my job and lifestyle dictates, I look around the internet for landscape pictures almost daily. I must admit that during these searches, I always come across pictures of trees – colourful ones, new ones, old ones and, sometimes, dead ones. Some people include them in landscape compositions as supporting characters and others use them as the main subject and fill the frame.
So, what is it that makes us want to photograph trees? Do they possess magic powers that make them irresistible to landscape photographers?
The best thing about photographing trees is that you can record their life cycle throughout the year. In the summer a tree is covered in green leaves and full of life. In autumn, the same tree can display the most extraordinary vibrant colours. In winter, it can present itself with the branches covered in snow, a perfect situation for black and white photography. In spring you can experience it in full bloom and covered in buds and flowers.
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A tree can teach you to look out for the small changes, to observe the leaves growing on the branches or to watch out for the season when it drops its fruit. Those biological changes can make you a much more observant photographer. It can change your way of thinking and your way of looking, which in turn will improve your way of seeing.
Trees display various moods during the seasons, which can be affected by the change in the weather conditions and light. Mist, rain and snow can transform the mood of a tree, which in turn will translate to a moody, mysterious or tranquil composition.
This leaves me to explain my fascination with photographing dead trees. I could go on and on trying to explain this fascination, but the truth is, I don’t really know what it is that attracts me to photograph them.
I can, however, say with certainty that I love observing the biological changes that I mentioned earlier. But then again, I love observing any changes that occur in the landscape during the change of seasons, or in the seascape during the change of tides. I strongly believe that once you slow down and start making observations, your photography will improve even further and the amount of captured images will be reduced. However, the quality of those images will be of a much higher level.