Forest Photography Considerations  

TOPIC: Forest photography considerations
== 1 of 5 ==
Date: Sat, Aug 2 2008 9:26 am
From: "Edward Frank"


Yesterday I spent the afternoon walking the Longfellow Trail in Cook Forest State Park, PA as well as a taking few other short hikes elsewhere in the park. I got a few nice photos of ferns, moss, and fungi growing in the forest. Forests are full of interesting pockets of images. Each is a little vignette of the ecosystem of the greater forest as a whole. I have always favored close-ups of nature. But there is a comment I read that keeps coming into my mind. A famous photographer known for the scale of his images went to photograph at the Everglades. The park has oceans of grasslands, and big cypress trees. The person making the comment however was disappointed at the results of the photographer's efforts. He had focused on the small images of the park. He had scenes of leaves in water, insects, flowers, epiphytes, and an occasional tree. Each photo was nice, but what was missing from the photos was the grand scale of the park as a whole. A place with big scenes and a sense of grandeur, needs to have photographs of that reflect that scale. 

The smaller vignettes can be taken anywhere there is pocket of woods. The places with a big scale need to have photos that reflect that scale. I need to work on that in my images. There are magnificent trees in the Forest Cathedral area of Cook Forest. There is an expanse of big trees growing in the setting. I need to work on finding photographs that embrace and reflect this scale. I need to focus on the big pictures and find how to best represent them in the photographs. It does not mean I will abandon photographing the small vignettes or portraits of individual trees, but it is a thought I need to keep in mind while hiking, and perhaps all of us can consider when we visit someplace with scale.

Ed Frank

== 2 of 5 ==
Date: Sat, Aug 2 2008 10:16 am
From: the Forestmeister


When I bought a Nikon F100 35 mm camera a decade ago along with extra
lenses, tripod, etc- I had hoped to take images on the "grand scale"
but found it was very difficult. As you walk into a forest you're
looking all around, up and down- so you have a feeling for the place-
but capturing that feeling is such a challenge. Even if you succeed
with a good image, it's not often satisfactory unless you make huge
blowups. I once saw in a bookstore some incredible forest photos hung
on the walls that were poster size. The detail was amazing. I think
the work was done with a large format camera.

I've considered buying a fish eye lens to see if that would help me
record on film what I see.

My goal is to be able to show visually the stuff I "rant" about
regarding forestry practices. Just talking about it doesn't seem
effecitve to non foresters.

This past winter I bought a high def. video camera but haven't done
much with it yet- perhaps that will allow me to reach that goal of
presenting forestry concepts.

I once saw in a museum a painting done by one of those Hudson River
artists- of a scene in a redwood forest- it was if he was at least
100' up - looking down to the ground where a Native American couple
were camping on the edge of a stream. That scene haunts me to this
day. It realy captures the feeling of the redwoods forest- and a happy
time for North America.


== 3 of 5 ==
Date: Sat, Aug 2 2008 2:56 pm


I don't know who the person or photographer was, but I had a similar negative response to Eliot Porter's understated portrayal of the Great Smoky Mountains. When attempting to tell photographically the story of a great nationalr park, photographing a leaf floating on water is a waste of time. Porter could have done the same in his back yard. Why bother? However, since that time lesser known, but more in tune photographers have done superb jobs of capturing the the Smokies on a far grander scale than a leaf.


== 4 of 5 ==
Date: Sat, Aug 2 2008 3:07 pm
From: "Will Blozan"

This is my composite photo (3 frames) from the top of the "Long Branch
Hemlock" in Greenbrier District of GRSM. I enjoy photographing views that
cannot be seen from a common vista, such as the top of a tree. I commonly
employ digital stitches to capture the super tall trees I encounter.

"Tom's Tower Hemlock" 7 frame stitch


== 5 of 5 ==
Date: Sat, Aug 2 2008 3:24 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


Yes, you have some magnificent photos that capture some of the grand vistas of the Smokies. I have said before how I like some of your tree portraits where some of the optical distortion emphasizes the scope of the image.


TOPIC: Forest photography considerations

== 1 of 3 ==
Date: Sun, Aug 3 2008 12:16 pm
From: Elisa Campbell

your photos as well as your comments and informative pieces are one of
the highlights of ENTS, in my opinion. I'm not surprised, given your
tree climbing expertise and inclination, that you have different points
of view for taking the photos; your skill at stitching many photos
together is also a wonder to behold. Thanks for all of it!

== 2 of 3 ==
Date: Sun, Aug 3 2008 3:35 pm
From: Matthew Hannum

I know I've run into this feeling before when looking at some of my
own photos. While they are technically "correct" and capture the
subject well, many times the overall feel of the place can be lost. I
think forests are particularly difficult subjects since you generally
don't have line of sight over a long distance. So, while you may be
surrounded by trees, you can only take a photo of a group of trees in
front of you. Panaromic shots certainly help - image size is part of
the illusion needed to bring the viewer into the forest with you.

This is one of the reasons while I love overlooks so much - they offer
a great way to get sweeping photos of a forest, hills, mountains, etc.
Other great places are along the sides of rivers, certain places along
hills, and curvy woodland paths. The open space is needed to draw the
viewer into the image; without it, all the person will see is a bunch
of trees jumbled up in front of them. The open spaces, particularly
ones that show movement (such as a path or river fading into the
distance or around a hill) or distance (rolling mountains vanishing
into low clouds or mist) help capture the immense scale of a large
park. Sadly, some of the bigger trees can hide in places where it is
so hard to capture the true essense of the place.

It would be neat to take a huge panaroma of some place impressive,
such as from a mountaintop in the Smoky Mountains, and somehow get it
to be spread 360-degrees around the walls of a room - that would
really capture the scope of the place!

== 3 of 3 ==
Date: Sun, Aug 3 2008 4:20 pm
From: Larry

All, We should start a fund and purchase a helicopter for those hard
to get photos. Maybe we could use Bobs balloons for those one of a
kind shots. You all take great photos and thanks for sharing them.

TOPIC: Forest photography considerations

== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Mon, Aug 4 2008 8:28 pm
From: James Parton


Your stitches are awesome. You have this technique mastered better
than I do.