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Scottish Pines

I like walking in the woods more and more especially in autumn and spring. While enjoying the atmosphere I try to photograph interesting compositions. But opportunities are scarce not only because trees are scarce in Flanders but forest are also rather uniform; what you look for in an interesting woodland photograph are trees with a character not the straight upgoing pine trees or beeches that dominate our scene.

Maybe I will have to do some more exploration in the southern part of our little country.This interesting tree for example I found near Bouillon.

So results were eventually a bit disappointing and I had to experience that making an appealing composition in woodland photography is not a simple thing. It is usually a messy thing, there is always something in the way in your composition and it is hard to bring harmony in the chaos and create a pleasing image.

But by digging more and more into the challenging subject I came across a master in the art: Simon Baxter, a North Yorkshire based woodland photographer ( Especially his images of Scottish pines made me dreaming. These were the trees I was looking for and that I loved. What characters! The ones down the hills can grow straight to 30 meters tall but in the same length of time the ones up the mountain grow only 3 meters tall, and they twist and turn fighting the unfavorable conditions

So, yes, I went to Scotland and I hoped for unfavorable conditions. On the workshop with Simon I learned how to approach things and especially how to avoid mistakes; criticizing each others images on mistakes and disturbing elements certainly improved my skills in the field. On one of the walks Simon brought us to one of his favorite trees; it was a dull dark day with grey cloud cover and rain, but right when we reached the upper tree level and Simon had given some directions on how to move on magic happened: a snow storm!

This was the picture I wanted to make! Can you imagine the circumstances? This was photographed with a Nikon D850 camera with a 70-200mm lens on a tripod in gale force wind. I had to protect the gear from the drifting snow (coming from all directions) with a small umbrella because otherwise your lens is imediatly splashed with snow/raindrops and your images are ruined. The umbrella hardly survived and flipped over several times when suddenly the wind direction changed. But I was happy and I made a lot of shots at different speeds (by changing the aperture - not the iso - because that does not matter much here) and I finally chose this picture made at 1/60s.

If you want to see more pictures of this trip, you can find them here:

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