the air frost and heavy mist offered the potential for creating a great winter scene ... I left lots of room around the tree to make the photograph more saleable. There is space above and below for a title and sub-titles:
photographs that are useful for your own purposes and that give you a real buzz ... are marks of success
Boxelder in a sandstone canyon, Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument.
Quaking aspen in the Enchanted Forest, Laramie Mountains.
|Abstract image of ancient bristlecone pine, White Mountains, California.|
It’s well worth spending time seeking out an interesting viewpoint ...
Peeling bark of paper birch in Dugout Gulch in the Black Hills.
Foreground is important, even in great sweeping scenes ... [it] helps to make sense of the vast scale of the scene.
|Sparky contemplates the vast scale of piñon - juniper woodland in the Great Basin.|
line up the shot so the background is in deep shade. This allows the brightly colored leaves to stand out against a non-distracting black ...
Vine maple, Lake Easton State Park, Cascade Mountains.
Take a friend with you ... to include as scale.
Coast redwood with friend for scale; Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, California.
I particularly like it when light from a low sun falls across a subject ... [making] for highlights and shadow areas, which provide visual clues to the let the brain understand a scene ...
Dead bristlecone pine in low warm evening light. Light and shade provide clues as to its shape, “helping the brain to understand”.
HOW TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR CAMERA is the second major section. Parker makes clear that it’s not essential. Everything in IMPROVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS can be done in automatic mode ... my usual strategy. But the explanations of exposure compensation, aperture priority, shutter speed and other tech issues are clear and even persuasive. I need to give them an honest try, having only dabbled in my DSLR’s technology so far.
When a scene contains a lot of white I find it's often best to overexpose by one stop (move the exposure compensation to +1).
The snow confused my camera’s metering system. I should have helped it by using exposure compensation. Some improvements were made with iPhoto, but not what was needed.
The final section, HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH TREES, is a series of photographs with explanations of “decisions behind the final image” ... decisions based on knowledge from earlier sections. It's organized by tree features: whole tree, trunks, leaves, bark, fruit, seeds and flowers, woods and forests.
Usually the most obvious approach to photographing a tree is to try and get the whole subject in the frame. Publishers love this sort of image, but in many cases it can be quite difficult to achieve.
I’ve yet to get a satisfying photo of this contorted old limber pine growing out of a granite crevice.
Tree trunks are the tree photographer’s friend. ... It can be blowing a gale or as dark as night but it is still possible to get an interesting image.
Western red cedar; Ross Creek Giant Cedar Grove, Montana.
Filling the frame edge to edge helps to concentrate the eye ...
Ponderosa pine cones – two from this season (purple) and one from last year; Laramie Mountains.
... consider clipping off a small sprig so you can set up the photograph indoors or in an area where the light is perfect or the wind less of a problem.
Young leaves of my lanceleaf cottonwood – in the kitchen, out of the wind.
Photographing Trees costs $20 to $30 for new and nearly new copies. Based on the number and quality of images alone, this is a bargain. And the ideas and encouragement that it provides this particular aspiring photographer has made it a treasure.
... there is so much more to photography than just owning expensive equipment; it’s more a way of looking at the world.
Trail into a magical forest of coast live oaks, growing low and twisted to avoid sea winds; Los Osos Oaks State Natural Reserve.
Grassy foreground leads the viewer to a coast live oak and memories of childhood; near San Luis Obispo, California; courtesy Giovanni LoCascio.