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By IgorCsmd
I am trying to nail this sort of pictures. Sometimes it's very difficult to reproduce the real "picture" of the forest.

Tags: Forest Trees Greenery Wildlife and nature Lessness Abbey

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banehawi Plus
18 2.8k 4333 Canada
22 Apr 2021 4:47AM
How do you think this image is different from the "real" forests that you have in your mind?

dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1966 England
22 Apr 2021 8:49AM
Welcome back to the Critique Gallery, Igor.

Nailing the picture is an admirable goal - but we need to know what 'this sort of picture' is, in your view. If you can tell us how your picture falls short of what you want, we can start to give helpful advice...
dark_lord Plus
18 3.0k 835 England
22 Apr 2021 11:58AM
Welcome back from me too.

What is it about the forest you want to portray?
What is mising here, for example?
What are you unhappy about here?
What are your thoughts on lighting, composition and focal point, say, compared to other forest pictures you have in mind?
Having a discussion will be good.
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.5k 2563 United Kingdom
22 Apr 2021 2:46PM
Welcome from me too. It would help to hear more from you. But I am assuming that by a 'real' picture of a forest, you mean that you are trying to capture the feeling of being there, the experience. So a few thoughts, bear with me...

This is pleasant but it doesn't draw me in. Partly because the tones are very even, which gives a slightly flat feel; partly because there isn't actually a 'way in', the undergrowth creates a barrier, it says 'Keep out'.

Basically, there are two very different experiences involved. There's the photographer's experience, being there in the open air, with the 360 degree view, feeling the breeze, seeing the light dance on leaves, and clouds move, hearing birdsong. And then there's the experience of someone sitting at home, seeing a small flat rectangle on a screen. The photographer's job is to convey the first experience to the person in front of a small screen...

That comes down to two factors, light and composition.

Light – The word photography means 'drawing with light', light defines textures and contours. Lunch time, when this was taken, is the hardest time for any natural light photography - portraits, flowers, landscape, whatever. Harsh overhead light will kill detail and texture, which is what is happening here. Whereas gentle side light will show up those contours and create longer, gentler shadows. That means aiming for early morning or late afternoon. Then you can look for light defining tree trunks by catching one side only, defining branches...

And then there is composition, which is about inviting the viewer into the frame, creating the 'being there' feeling.

That means thinking through the possibilities that a view offers, not just photographing what you see as you stand there. You need to look for strong lines and shapes which fill the frame, occupy it, rather than just being in it. The frame needs to be complete in itself.

Look for lines leading into the frame, foreground interest, shapes that create an interesting progression either left to right or front to back. Avoid creating barriers to the viewer. Look to create a route for the viewer to enter the frame, and to explore, with a destination to arrive at.

So choose your time of day carefully, then move around, try different viewpoints, different angles, different heights for your viewpoint – getting down low can completely transform the composition. Look through the camera, at different focal lengths. Look for a composition that will convey what you are experiencing to someone who isn't there.

Just as a suggestion - look at this member's portfolio , he does other things as well but he is very good at woodland. If you look at the relevant photos there you will see that they all use light, and all have an inviting foreground, with strong shapes and lines.

I hope you will join in the conversation here,
TanyaH Plus
19 1.3k 411 United Kingdom
22 Apr 2021 3:47PM
In the time I've been messing around with a mod, Moira's pretty much said what was in my head. A 'real' forest can mean different things to different people ... for some, it's the accurate pictorial record of trees, sky and undergrowth. For others, it's the emotional feeling of the forest, and a sense of every individual tree in the forest being part of an ancient One Forest, connected through the earth by subliminal roots and spiritual connections.

So, my mod is along the lines of the emotional forest for me. A place that's scary and forbidding, but welcoming and a place of safety if you know the right pathways through it. A bit like life, I guess Smile

I don't think I've ever taken a picture of a woodland/forest that I've ever been happy with, without playing with it to some degree or another. My mod is, therefore, heavily played with in Photoshop to achieve a feeling, rather than a pictorial record. It may not be what you intended at all, but it would also be good to hear what your intention was when trying to capture the 'real' forest here?

pamelajean Plus
16 1.8k 2275 United Kingdom
22 Apr 2021 3:49PM
It has been a while, Igor, but welcome back to EPZ, and especially to its Critique Gallery.

Moira has given you some good ideas to help you to reproduce the atmosphere of the forest.
I knew whose portfolio she was going to link you to before I used the link myself!
It would be a good idea for you to do a search of the site's Photo Gallery, perhaps using the search word "trees" or even "woodland" or "forest". Then you can see the sort of pictures that do well and maybe try to understand what it is about them that makes them so interesting.

Also, HERE is an short EPZ tutorial that you might like to read.

Different seasons and different times of the day are going to offer different photographic opportunities. You don't want very bright light, but you also don't want failing light. The trees are going to make some areas of the forest quite dark already. You might want to take a tripod if there are dark or shaded areas, to cope with longer exposures. At the same time, having sun's rays piercing through the trees can be very atmospheric, as is dappled light filtering through trees.

To start very simply, try to find something of interest that you can use as a focal point, be that in the foreground or background. If in the foreground, offset it in the frame so that it doesn't block the viewer's entry into your scene. If in the background, try to have a "path" the viewer's eye can follow to it. You will then have some depth in your image.
You might like to look for man-made objects such as benches or statues that will contrast well against the soft colours of nature.

Having too much green in your scene is difficult to avoid, but seek out some other colours, especially at this time of year when flowers are appearing in the wild. Trees and flowers aren't going to walk away, so you have plenty of time to look for a good angle, compose well and shoot something interesting. Donít always take a shot from eye height.

One of the most important lessons that will transform your photos from nice to stunning is heading out early or waiting for the sun to drop a little. For real drama you canít beat a crisp, sunny morning or late afternoon with a cloudless blue sky.

I hope that helps a little.

mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.5k 2563 United Kingdom
22 Apr 2021 4:31PM
Still in the portfolio that I linked to above - here is an excellent example of what I mentioned above - side light (and shadow) defining the edges of trees. As an exercise I suggest that you go out early morning or late afternoon and try to replicate this effect. You will learn a lot from that!
banehawi Plus
18 2.8k 4333 Canada
22 Apr 2021 5:14PM
Its all been said above. Time of day is most important to get a range of tones, shadows, and good quality light. Thats will creat the basis for mood.

I added a few mods showing a fairly straightforward mod with more contrast, and then a couple where I added more space at the bottom and removed sky at the top, desaturated a bit, and also a toned mono.


mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.5k 2563 United Kingdom
23 Apr 2021 3:33PM
I've added a modification, as a set of suggestions. I cropped to square - this gets rid of unnecessary sky and foreground, takes us straight into the undergrowth; I added a lot of brightness and contrast, then converted to b&w in Nik Silver Efex Pro. I added a dark vignette, to create an enclosed, private place; coarser grain, for a gritty look; and a split tone effect (it adds a hint of yellow to lighter tones, blue to darker tones - I find it quite eerie).

I hope we shall hear from you, we need to know whether this is the sort of critique you are looking for - indeed we need to know what you are looking for generally from the Critique Gallery. Does any of this help?
28 Apr 2021 3:48PM
I wasn't sure what you mean by a "real" picture of a forest" is there such a thing? I love woodland scenes but finding a point of focus is hard, I tend to use a shallow depth of field to help do this.

I cropped first as I find the taller ratio uncomfortable, if that's the right word. A square might have been good too but other have done that.

I reduced contrast, clarity and de-haze in LR.

So, not very real may be, I then converted to B&W as in my opinion that helps simplify the complexity of this scene. I used Silver Efx and the vignette and the dodge and burn tools to create some shadow and highlight in the centre to frame and draw the eye. I also added a slight tint. Then I added an Orton Effect in PS to soften and lighten.

"Real," what's real for some won't be real for others, is that not one of the joys of photography?

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