Get ready for autumn
The changing seasons is something I get very excited about. Out of all of them the autumnal colours and misty mornings are my absolute favourite. Rich vibrant colours across the forest floor with the final leaves dropping here are a few tips to get to autumn ready.
Important to note that these are just a few tips that work for myself. They are not directly linked to anyone else's views or the way they use their camera systems however for me this is how I get excited for that special time of year.
Know your area and when possible stay local
When possible having a local woodland is an absolute dream for woodland photography. Then when you have identified a local woodland it's a good idea to have a proper Adventure exploring the area. Take the dog for a walk or family or even just yourself and spend a few days identifying and picking out compositions. That way when the conditions are at the best and you've explored the area and picked out your favourite compositions you are ready to Capture something special. Plus the fact it is local means you can come backwards and forwards without having to travel too far.
Get out early.
There is a argument for the golden hour still working for woodland Photography both morning or evening. However in my opinion there is nothing better than the morning light gently wrapping itself around the tree stumps and listening to the sound of nature at dawn. To that end I encourage people to enjoy their local Woodlands preferably in the morning. It doesn't have to be first thing for everyone in fact doing a bit of research beforehand in your local woodland will give you information as to how long it will take for the trees to be lit up by the Sun. You may need to wait for the Sun to rise from a hillside in the distance and that could take some time. Therefore doing the research beforehand knowing the area and checking out some positions is going to give you the best time for that early morning photography session.
Perhaps getting up at silly o'clock in the morning isn't for everyone. However it's important to remember that once the Sun is too high in the sky the light will be too harsh and you'll lose the morning glow.
Enjoy all weather conditions.
Do not be put off by bad weather. Woodland photography is not the same as landscape photography out in the Peak District National Park or photographing the Yorkshire Dales. A damp drizzly morning can be enhanced by the shine of trees to that end I encourage everyone to enjoy all weather conditions in their local forests. Plus if you are lucky enough to have a foggy morning your photography will be enhanced massively by those conditions. In my opinion woodland photography is at its absolute best when you have conditions such as fog and mist and perhaps a gentle shower of rain. However always good to keep your gear dry with lens cloth's or camera covers. Also don't forget yourself always dress appropriately for the cold rain conditions that way you're going to enjoy it more and hopefully come away with good photographs instead of the flu.
Telescopic wide-angle macro
Don't be scared to experiment with different lenses. Picking out individual compositions with a telescopic lens is a fantastic way to isolate a photograph. At the same time woodland photography works fantastically with a good wide angled photograph.
Or perhaps you want to document the forest floor and experimenting with depth of field using a macro lens and zooming in to a small object. For woodland photography there really is something for everyone.
Circular polariser is a must
I am not necessarily going to bore you with the specifications of a polariser just to say however I highly recommend them for woodland photography. For myself I use the Kase Filter System and with that the K8 or K9 polarising filter is outstanding. The difference a polariser can make to the bright rich colours of woodland with the right light cannot be undervalued. Plus at the same time using the filter system will make your work in Photo editing shorter in the long run. By helping you to capture the best in camera out on the field.
There are many different types of polarising filters out on the market however if you wanted to check out the system I use please visit the link below.
Always take a tripod
With woodland photography there's going to be occasions when you want to be laid on the ground photographing a glowing mushroom for example. However I highly recommend to keep that photographs looking sharp throughout I always suggest using a tripod when possible. These days tripods can be moved in all sorts of exciting positions. For example taking out the centre column or moving it to put the tripod practically on the ground is easy.
The tripod will just give you a sharper image in the long run and with that I also recommend a cable release device giving you the ability to step back and really photograph the scenery at your best ability.
I am a Vanguard ambassador so highly recommend all their tripods and bags. To that end you can check out for yourself many Vanguard products at the link below.
Separation is a highly recommended factor in woodland photography. As cheesy as it may sound I try and look for space and I imagine how it would feel for me. I personally do not like being too close to large groups of people so I look for compositions in woodland photography where I would also like space.
Gaps and separation from tree to tree are perfect compositions for most woodland photography occasions. It's a great way to look for compositions simply looking through the gaps in the distance and picking out pockets of space. Of course this is not always achievable especially if you're trying to keep it looking a natural as possible. So spend more time looking round pockets of possible photograph locations and in the end you will find a composition you will be more happy with. However of course this is just my opinion if there are too many trees touching each other on the composition I try and move positions just to find more space and gaps.
Take photos and leave nothing but memories
It is a good habit to get into remembering that this is not your home. Even though it may be your local woodland and the place you escape to on a daily basis with the dog or just to enjoy the great outdoors it is a home too much more than yourself. For the local wildlife this a place called home so try not to cause any damage and remember to leave no rubbish behind taking everything home with you at all times. Trees are the worlds oldest living organisms. Even the smallest trees can grow to be a huge giant. It is the local wildlife which use these giants to escape we just like to enjoy a walk in a quiet forest.
The final thing to mention is to always remember to have fun. Enjoy your photography remember what it is that took you outside and the reason as to why you photographed this tree or object. Take your time enjoy the local woodland and capture something special.
Finally I would like to thank you for taking the time and checking out this blog. All photographs are my own and the text is my personal way of photographing the local Woodland. It is not to say that my way is the right way it is just a few helpful tips that have made my life easier whilst photographing Trees in the past. I look forward to hearing feedback on this piece and I hope the imagery takes you to the great outdoors.
Chris Nowell photography
One of my favourite quotes of all time is regarding trees and it goes like this