It doesn’t happen very often, but when conditions are right, the photos are right there, in front of you. That’s what happened last Sunday during my workshop with a friend. I wanted to go to a new forest and I asked him if he knew about a place near where he lives. He said he had never been there before, but that the fog had set the previous night and that we would have fog until midday. I was in!
After a one hour drive I got to this beautiful place and the magic began. Autumn colors were showing already, there was a nice, thick fog, the beech trees had incredible shapes and the best thing was that we had the place for ourselves.
During my workshops in the forest, people often ask me how I compose and how do I achieve a specific mood. I understand that it can be a bit tricky with all the information we have in front of us, that’s why I think that foggy conditions as well as rainy mornings help achieving better results. You may ask why photograph in such dark conditions… but the truth is that dramatic scenes are more attractive than dull ones. Rain saturates the colors, therefore leaves look more vibrant. Fog helps composing the scene, it blurs the background, helping create more simple, yet more powerful compositions.
The key is to find a subject and try to photograph it in a way that the viewer will stare at it for more than two seconds (huge achievement nowadays!). Always look around, don’t stop when you shoot the first photo, I’m sure there are many other ways to find a different perspective.
I always compose through the screen, I feel it helps to check if branches are interfering in the corners, or if there’s anything we want to leave out of the scene. Also, I always shoot with my editing in mind, so I usually underexpose in order to get deep shadows, because in a forest scene like this, you will have lots of dark areas as well as bright light in the higher part of the photograph, so why try to always expose everything?
I feel that the most important thing in my workshops is not just to learn the technique, but also to take the time to look around and feel lucky to be there at the right time in the right place. I feel it’s when I’m most creative and then during the editing everything comes easily.
I already mentioned this on a recent post on IG, and here it goes again… I don’t know what my photos may make you feel. I don’t want my photos to seem scary and I’m not trying to achieve the mysterious look either... I’m simply trying to convey a rather peaceful feeling, and definitely pushing you to take care of nature.
If you want to get more info about available dates for my landscape or online editing workshops, drop me a line to email@example.com :)
All photos were taken with a Fujifilm XT2 + 16mm f1.4
It’s that time of the year again and I couldn’t be more excited. If I’m honest, I was more than ready for fall, and I’m so glad it’s finally here.
If you like photographing forests, you are already aware of this, but those of you out there who photograph something else, sunny weather sucks for landscape photographs. It’s hard to isolate subjects (trees in this case) and it’s difficult to avoid uneven light. However, on cloudy days when the light is soft, or on rainy mornings when colors look more saturated and there’s a better chance for fog, forests become magical places with incredible photo opportunities.
This is what happened last Monday. After months and months, desperate for my favorite conditions, finally the day arrived and I was ready for a little adventure in between classes.
I often limit myself and I only bring one body and one lens. I feel it’s easier to concentrate on one focal length and work out different compositions, rather than wasting time switching lenses. This time I decided to bring my old Fujifilm X Pro1 and the 16mm f1.4 (24mm on full frame). If you only focus on technology, this camera is old and slow, BUT, if you are like me and your work is slow then it doesn’t really matter, plus the colors of this particular sensor are very special, and I can definitely see that if I compare it with newer models.
I spent around 3 hours in different locations, I went back to my usual spots. It’s always great to be back to see how the landscape has changed overtime. I found other photographers there but I decided to skip that famous location and walk a bit further and I couldn’t stop making photos, but mostly, it was great for my soul and creativity. I truly needed that morning.
We went on a 21 day road trip from the Basque Country all the way up to the Faroe Islands and it was the best type of adventure to heal our minds and hearts. These are some of the memories from this wonderful place.
Outdoor photography isn't easy. There are many factors that make this style really challenging, but today I'm going to concentrate on just one: Mood. I often read comments on my photos that say something like "Oh I love the mood in your photos", but what does this really mean?
I'm very specific about the kind of photos that I like to take and make. I have already mentioned in other blog posts, that I like to go out when it's dark, cloudy and foggy. There is something about that eerie and mysterious look that I'm really attracted to. I feel that the sense of adventure is greater in those conditions. I don't know really know, maybe it's because of the place where I live (Basque Country), where rain and clouds are a constant in our lives and I'm just comfortable shooting in the rain. I guess that somehow, having grown up in an environment like ours, has played an important role in the style of photographs that I enjoy shooting, and I'm very grateful for that.
I always carry a small camera with me and this helps a lot, because whenever the conditions are right (for the kind of photos I like to take) I always have a tool available in my car. I'm lucky to live surrounded by beautiful forests and mountains, so in less than a thirty minute drive, I have all these locations that you see in the photos below, for myself. I'm usually the only one out there, probably because people don't find rainy weather exciting to go out and shoot, so it's always a pleasure to wander around these places in silence.
Other important factors of my photographs are how I expose and edit. I like dark shadows and vibrant colors. How do I achieve that? By under exposing while I'm taking the photos and playing with the curve tones and the different sliders of colors in Lightroom. Many people have told me that I under expose a bit too much in camera (sometimes even a couple of stops), and then during post processing I open up the shadows quite a lot. For many photographers, this may sound a bit contradictory, because they prefer to get the correct exposure when they are out in the field. However, I find editing as important as the actual process of taking the photo, so I've put in a lot of hours to develop an editing style that I really like and that works for my photos.
Over the years I've created a bunch of presets, and most of the photos you see here are based on a couple of those. Once I apply the preset, the next step is to adapt the sliders to each photo. The same happens with the new Forged presets that I use and were created by Tribe Red Leaf Studios. Their colors are incredible, but when you buy presets from others, you need to adapt them to your own work, because the light, atmosphere, textures and subjects are different in each session. Even if I put my presets up for sale, you probably wouldn't be able to get the same tones as I do, unless you also exposed and took the photos in the same kind of light and conditions that I work in.
There are some repetitive factors on my photos, the locations I shoot, the conditions in which I photograph, the way I expose in camera and the kind of presets I apply in editing. I know that that's what differentiates my work from yours, and I really believe that each of us should have our own techniques and should work to find a unique look. This is not easy, because we are constantly flooded by the same kind of photos, in the same kind of places and with similar styles... But at least, we should try to overcome this and create something different and one of a kind.
It's important to know how the weather conditions affect the way a place looks, therefore, I always recommend to go back to the same place and shoot over and over in order to learn when it's best to choose one location or another. Yes, sometimes I'm lucky and I'm rewarded by these beautiful scenes even when I wasn't planning on it, but a lot of the times I just head back home with an empty card. And that is still fine, because the little walk in the forest is always perfect to clear your mind and to connect with nature.
So, tell me, what do you like to photograph and what are your favorite conditions to photograph in? Let me know, I'd love to hear!