fog

Why forest photography?

What kind of photographer are you? Are you concerned about the characteristics of your camera and creating technically perfect photos, or do your images convey a deeper message and you are more interested in how a photo makes the viewer feel?

Qué tipo de fotógrafo eres? Te preocupan las características de tu cámara y el hecho de crear fotografías totalmente perfectas, o prefieres transmitir un mensaje más profundo y te interesa más cómo le hace sentir a vuestro espectador?

It’s true that we all lust for better gear and sometimes feel that a different camera or a new lens will somehow improve our work. I feel that very often, but then I realize that I already have the gear I need in order to create photos that I like (remember to ask me if I believe these words again in a month).

Es verdad que todos queremos tener un equipo mejor, y que a veces una cámara diferente o un nuevo objetivo puede de alguna manera mejorar nuestro trabajo. Yo también siento eso muy a menudo, pero luego me doy cuenta de que ya tengo el equipo necesario para crear las fotos que me gustan (vuelve a preguntarme si sigo creyendo lo mismo el mes que viene).

I’ve never been a technical person, in fact, I don’t care much about having the latest technology and therefore I don’t need an extremely powerful camera either. Most of my work is slow paced, I like to walk around and compose the shots carefully and only then, I shoot in ONE SHOT mode and I focus and recompose all the time. But I must confess that I like having and investing a bit more in a nice lens, often primes.

Nunca he sido una persona que sabe de técnica, de hecho, no me importa mucho tener lo último en tecnología, así que tampoco necesito una cámara potente. La mayor parte de mi trabajo lo hago a un ritmo pausado, me gusta dar vueltas hasta dar con la composición. Utilizo el modo One Shot y siempre utilizo el punto del medio para enfocar y después recomponer. Sin embargo, debo confesar que me gusta tener e invertir un poco más en un buen objetivo, a menudo en focales fijas.

My photos are usually dark and moody, I mostly watch the sunrise from work and I’m usually tired to try to photograph the sunset. Therefore, I can only hope for cloudy days, and even then, I prefer rainy and foggy mornings so that I can I add a bit of atmosphere to my photos. I feel that my photos may not be technically perfect but I really want them to spark a feeling or some kind of emotion in the viewer.

A menudo mis fotos son oscuras, la mayoría de veces veo el amanecer desde el trabajo y normalmente suelo estar muy cansada como para querer fotografiar el atardecer. Por lo tanto, solo me queda esperar a los días nublados, e incluso entonces, prefiero que sean mañanas lluviosas y de niebla para poder añadir un poco de ambiente al trabajo. Creo que mis fotos probablemente no sean técnicamente perfectas, pero lo único que pretendo es que hagan sentir o transmitir alguna emoción al espectador.

When I photograph wide landscapes and I travel to other countries, I want to inspire others to do the same, to get to know the world we live in, to learn about other cultures… But when I photograph forests at home, I think is when I mostly show what’s going on in my mind.

Cuando fotografió grandes paisajes y viajo a otros países, mi intención es la de inspirar a otros que hagan lo mismo, que conozcan el mundo en el que vivimos, que aprendan de otras culturas. Pero cuando fotografío los bosques de casa, creo que es cuando más hablo de mí misma y de lo que hay en mi cabeza.

Why woodland or forest photography? I really don’t know. It’s true that I live surrounded by forests and that’s exactly what the landscape looks like here. Also, due to my work, I spend a lot of time driving from one place to another and I also have a hectic schedule. Though sometimes, in the mornings, I have a few hours when I can head up to the forest and escape a bit from the busy life.

Por qué fotografiar bosques? Realmente no lo sé. En parte es verdad que vivo en una zona con preciosos paisajes y con muchos bosques. También debido a mi trabajo, paso mucho tiempo conduciendo de un lado para otro y también tengo un horario complicado. Aunque a veces en las mañanas, tengo unas horas libres en las que puedo subir a algún bosque y escapar del ruido de alrededor.

I believe that’s how it all started. I use the time I am surrounded by nature to clear my mind and thoughts, and I can’t express how important that is for my (our) mental health. It’s all quiet and paused, the wind moves the leaves and it all feels good. I always bring my camera, because I can barely predict when and where the fog is going to show up. But if it’s a foggy day and it’s not raining heavily, you’ll probably find me wandering around the forest, usually near home.

Así es como creo que empezó todo. Aprovecho el tiempo que estoy rodeada de naturaleza para liberar mi mente y los pensamientos, y no puedo expresar lo importante que es eso para mi (nuestra) salud mental. Todo está tranquilo, el tiempo se para, el viento mueve las hojas y todo hace que me sienta bien. Siempre llevo alguna cámara encima, ya que apenas puedo predecir dónde y cuándo va a aparecer la niebla. Pero si es un día con mucha neblina y no llueve mucho, probablemente me encontrarás dando vueltas por algún bosque cercano a casa.

Composition in the forest is not easy, in fact I feel it’s pretty difficult compared to other areas of photography. Landscape photographs have to portray a sense of depth, usually there are several elements that take the viewer from one point to another in order to help turning a three dimensional scene into two. Therefore you need a strong foreground, usually a single element and often in the center of the image because the eye tends to drawn to it.

La composición en el bosque no es fácil, de hecho creo que es bastante más complicado en comparación a otros tipos de fotografía. Las fotos de paisaje tienen que transmitir una sensación de profundidad, normalmente hay varios elementos que llevan al espectador de un punto a otro con el fin de plasmar una escena tridimensional en dimensional. Así pues, es necesario que haya un primer plano lleno de fuerza, normalmente de un único elemento y a menudo ubicado en el centro de la imagen para hacer que el ojo empiece a rastrear la imagen desde ahí.

A forest is full of busy and messy scenes, so it’s not easy to organize the different elements. As I mentioned before, I always try to find an interesting foreground, something else in the middle and then the background. If you have fog, take advantage of it, since it will help you eliminate distractions and simplify the scene. Another trick when you have too many elements is to use a wide aperture; yes, most of my forest photos are shot at f/2.8 or so. Not only do I blur the stuff in the background that I don’t want to show, but I also get more light in the scene, which often lacks when you are surrounded by big trees and you are deep in the forest.

Un bosque siempre está lleno de escenas con muchos elementos, así que no es fácil organizarlo. Como he dicho anteriormente, siempre intento tener un primer plano interesante, algo que le siga en un segundo plano y finalmente un fondo. Si hay niebla, no dudes en aprovechar para hacer fotos, ya que siempre te ayudará a eliminar distracciones y a simplificar la escena. Otro truco es que cuando tienes muchos elementos, siempre puedes utilizar un diafragma de bajo valor; si, muchas de mis fotos de bosques las disparo a f/2.8. De esta manera ayudo a hacer que aparezca más borroso aquello que no me interesa y además consigo más luz, cosa que siempre falta cuando estas rodeado de árboles altos y te encuentras dentro de un bosque.

Here is a recent example.

Aquí tienes un ejemplo reciente.

Now, I’m sure that many people will think that I’m shooting in the wrong way, or that I shouldn’t photograph landscape photos with such a wide aperture… But, do I care? Not really. Does it help me achieve what I’m looking for? Totally. Does it tell some kind of story? I sure hope so.

Estoy segura de que mucha gente creerá que disparo las fotos de una manera equivocada, o que no debería de hacer fotos de paisaje con un diafragma tan pequeño… Pero, es algo que me importa? Realmente no. Hace que sea posible lograr lo que me interesa? Totalmente. Cuenta algún tipo de historia? Espero que sí.

Most people advise to “get it right in camera”, and I try to do that of course, but taking into account the way I’m going to edit afterwards. If my work is moody, and that morning the light in the forest and the ambiance was dark, I’m not going to take a bright and airy photo. Plus, the camera I usually shoot with has a better recovery for shadows than highlights, so I usually underexpose a stop or two to get the mood in camera.

Mucha gente aconseja que “expongamos bien en cámara”, y obviamente yo también intento hacer eso mismo, pero siempre teniendo en cuenta cómo voy a editar después. Si mi trabajo es un tanto oscuro, y en esa mañana la luz del bosque y el ambiente era tristón, no haré una foto con mucha luz y alegre. Además, la cámara con la que normalmente trabajo, recupera mejor las sombras que las luces altas, por lo tanto yo sub expongo un paso o dos para llevarme un poco de atmósfera en cámara.

Each of us has it’s own tricks and different ways to express ourselves. Are these the rules that you need to follow so as to get photos like mine? I don’t think so. After all, photographing forests is kind of a therapy to me, and probably doesn’t have any meaning to you. I just hope that in doing so, I can instill some kind of feeling in the viewer, because that’s all that matters in photography.

Cada uno de nosotros tiene sus propios trucos y maneras diferentes de expresarse. Son estas las reglas que tienes que seguir para conseguir unas fotos como las mías? No lo creo. Después de todo, fotografiar bosques es un tipo de terapia para mí, y probablemente no tenga ningún significado para ti. Lo único que pretendo es que con un poco de suerte pueda transmitir alguna emoción al espectador, que al final, eso es lo único que importa en la fotografía.

Brief adventure on a snowy Tuesday

I had three hours in between classes and my husband was working the afternoon shift. There was snow in the mountains so it only took us a couple of minutes to put on warm clothes and head out of the door. We don't have a proper sledge, so we took a couple of plastic bags to slide down the mountain. It was the best 3 hours e've had in a while. 

All photographs taken with the Fujifilm Xt10+16mm f1.4

It's a slow winter

Yesterday was the first day that we saw the sun here in the Basque Country ever since the beginning of February. It's been cold and snowing and I haven't really shot that much lately. Sunrise is after I get to work and sunset is before I finish my last class of the day, so the light hasn't been great when I was available to go out exploring either. But somehow, I still managed to get a few shots that I'm proud of to share here. 

The first two photos are from a rainy morning back in December when we still had a few fall colors up in the trees. Same as the third, which was taken going down from a mountain pass when I saw the fog rolling in through the pine tree forest and I had to stop on the side of the road to grab a couple of shots. 

The next two were taken sometime in January by chance. I remember finishing my first class in the morning, and while I was on my way home I saw that this forest was the only area covered by fog, since it's not too far from where I live, I decided to check out what the atmosphere was like. I recently got the Fuji 35mm f2, which in full frame terms means a 50mm. As you can see from my work, I love to shoot wide, and I mostly shoot with either the 16mm f1.4 (24mm) or with the 23mm f1.4 (35mm). So the 35mm has been attached to my little XT10 in order to learn how use this focal length and it was also, the only lens I had with me on that day. Finding a good composition in this forest was really difficult, because this focal length not only is narrow and probably works better for street shots or portraits, but I'm not used to framing like this either. I somehow managed to get a couple of photos that I'm really happy with, due to their misteryous look. 

These next two photos of the river were some of my favorite from January. I remember it was early in the morning and I drove up to the mountain in search of a cool view from our town below. As I was going up I decided to take a road that I had never driven before but that it looked like there could be something worth photographing. I was right. It was a misty morning and the sun was coming up from the side of this beautiful river. The light was incredible and I spent quite sometime wandering around the sides of the river trying to get some photos, again with the 35mm. I didn't get much because it was way too cold and I was freezing.

Also back in January I went to another forest where I usually go to and where I actually took the first two photos of this set. Another foggy and cold morning where my car got too dirty on those muddy roads but where I walked around this lovely path in seca of some compositions. 

And finally the last five shots that I just took earlier this week. These photos were taken 200m away from one another and only 10minutes away from home. I remember walking down that forest path once before, sometime last year, but it never looked that good. It was really cold, and the sun was getting through those pine trees and it looked so beautiful.

I was able to get a nice photo of the back country road before the fog was gone and the sun lit the forest, which also ended up being one of my favorite shots I've taken in quite a while. 

*I've added this photo to my print gallery in case someone wants to get one. I have already made a couple of test prints and they look gorgeous. Also, I think I'll make a new editing video to show how I made this, let me know if that is something that interests you.

Hope you like these and their behind the scenes stories!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!