Yet More Branches

These branches have become a slight obsession. I’ve made no secret of my love of trees – they are the subject of many of my posts here, and many more of my images. The images in this series show just how much variety exists in the branches of trees. Last night I needed a walk, so I left the house with my camera and a tripod. The walk was more for me to have some time alone than it was for photography, but I found myself looking up at the new leaves on the trees, glowing in the light of the orange streetlamps.

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Branches, #03

The 8-second exposure of this image has blurred out the leaves, which were shaking in the wind, giving this image an almost ethereal quality. The glowing leaves contrast with the dark branches, which when darkened even more in Lightroom leave gaping black scars in the image. It’s hard to tell at first what this is an image of, and that’s one of the things I like the most about it.

The Woods at Sunset

Recently I bought a Praktica MTL3, an East German film SLR that is built like a tank. Last night I decided to take it out on a walk to give me a break from the pile of work that I have to get done. I’ve never really shot film before, so I took my DSLR out as well. That way I’d have at least something from this walk should I mess up development. As I got closer to the woodland near my home in York, I was met with the beautiful sight of the sun setting behind a clump of trees. I took several shots with my Praktica, but I captured this with the DSLR.

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Woods at Sunset

I love the way the leaves form a dark mass at the top of the image, with only tiny holes letting light through. Four tree trunks, silhouetted against the setting sun, form a line from the foreground to the back, and stand as pillars holding up the canopy.  The sun itself peeks out from between two branches, making a tiny point of light in an otherwise dark image.

I’m nearing the end of the roll of film in my Praktica, so soon I’ll be able to take that into the darkroom and hopefully produce some nice prints. I look forward to sharing my foray into film photography with you all!

52 Weeks of Yorkshire – Week 15

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Foss Floodgate

This is the flood barrier separating the River Foss from the larger River Ouse in York. In December 2015, this barrier failed, allowing floodwaters from the Ouse to back up the Foss for the first time since 1982. This contributed to the flooding, making the 2015 floods the worst in York in a generation. With a city like York, sitting on a river such as the Ouse, we need to be able to learn from this, and adapt, so that our defenses improve. At the same time, we need to realise that we are not the masters of this world – nature is. Nature is not to be conquered, it is to be lived with.

Landscape photography is an exercise in collaboration with nature. When I go out to shoot, I am not taking pictures of the world. I am working with the world to create something beautiful. That is what gives it meaning for me. Every image that I take is one that has been given to me by nature. If that sounds like spiritual nonsense to you, then maybe it is, but it’s my spiritual nonsense, and it’s what drives me to explore the world as I do.

Shape and Form in Trees

Trees are to me one of nature’s most beautiful forms. They are used so often as metaphors for the passage of time because they embody that passage. In spring the trees blossom, growing greener as we move into summer, before their leaves wither in autumn, leaving their branches bear and skeletal for winter. This cycle repeats again and again. Most of the trees here have not yet regained their leaves. This means I still have the chance to capture their bare, twisting forms.

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Branches, #01

This image is slightly more abstract than a lot of my work. Taking inspiration from this tree, I wanted to capture nothing but the form of the branches. Here these black tendrils are captured on the flat white background of fog.

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Trees in Fog, Skipton

This second image is a bit more conventional. Layers of trees stretch out into the distance, with the fog adding mystery to the scene by obscuring the furthest trees from view. My favourite part about this image is the tree in the foreground, to the right, and the way it leans entirely in one direction. Its branches stretch out over the rest of the scene, almost forming some kind of frame. As you move deeper and deeper into the frame, you have to look harder to distinguish details in the trees.

As I’ve explained in this post, I love fog for the atmosphere it lends to the scene and the way it presents viewers with vague suggestions of form, rather than anything concrete. By doing this, you are forced to really study the images to uncover their true nature. This, combined with the beautiful forms of the trees, makes for a wonderful environment in which to shoot.

Colour

It’s not often that I shoot in colour. I prefer my images to focus on the form of the subject I’m shooting and the way light falls on it, and so a lot of the time I feel like colour is an unnecessary addition to the scene. However, sometimes I see a scene that would be wrong to not represent in colour.

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Skipton Woods

Here we see a river winding through Skipton Woods, moss-covered rocks to either side. The trees hang over the water, their branches still bare, and their leaves lying on the moss beneath them, adding an autumnal reddish-brown to the image. Spring is nearly upon us, and so this scene is far greener than it would have been two months ago. Black and white wouldn’t have done it justice. It wouldn’t have captured the vivid greens of the sprouting plants, or the subtle brown of the fallen leaves. Not every image needs to be shot in colour, but this one does.

A Walk in the Woods

It’s rare that I take a photo that I can say I undoubtedly love, but today is one of those occasions. Originally the plan was to get up at around 4am to make the hour-long walk to the top of the moor, just in time to catch the sun rising. In the end though, I decided to take the easier route, and stay in bed for another hour, instead taking a morning walk through the woods.

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Tree and Climbing Leaves, Skipton Woods

Here a climbing plant clings to the trunk of a tree, its leaves providing some interest in the foreground of the image as the viewer’s eye is led up the trunk of the tree to the spindly branches at the top, framed on all sides by the bare canopy of the woods. This one tree stands apart from all the rest.