taller

Life update and a new forest for my workshops

I’m officially on summer holidays, or as every July of the last six years of my life, out of work. I can’t believe that the moment I’ve been waiting for all this time, has finally come. As you already know, after my year working for the UN in Mexico City, I returned home to a job as an English teacher. I’m very grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had through that job, but I knew for quite some time that it was time to stop and give photography a chance.

So here I am. This is the beginning of a new career, I’m scared as hell but so ready to go for it. I’m taking this second part of the year as a transition into a new life. I’ve been doing photography for a very long time, but never as my only income, so I know it will be a challenging and a very difficult process.

However, I’m excited for what’s to come and for all the trips I’ve planned for the next few months. Next week I start with a trip to Granada to visit my dear friend Tania Cervián. Hopefully, we’ll have a chance to shoot a few portrait sessions while I’m there, at least, that’s the plan! Then in August, we’re taking the van all the way up to the Isle of Skye in Scotland and driving around the UK for a month. In September, we’re taking a quick road trip to our beloved Switzerland. In October I’m visiting Marrakech and the Sahara with Tania again, and finally, in November, I’m flying to Mexico City. We are talking serious traveling here, and that means lots and lots of opportunities for photos.

Until I post those photos on here though, let me show you a few photos from Tuesday. Let me start by saying that when the alarm went off at 7 am I wasn’t happy. But I immediately looked out of the window and saw the mountains covered in fog, so I knew I had to get out. I got everything ready very quickly and drove for an hour. I have to admit that I had another spot in mind, which is 5 minutes away from this forest, but the road looked so interesting that I thought it was worth exploring a bit further. And yes indeed, it was very worth it! The fog stayed inside the forest for a couple of hours so I had the chance to take it slow and enjoy every moment of it.

I especially liked how the light entered from above and hit the right spots. At this time of the year, everything is lush green, so the trees looked beautiful. I also enjoyed the quietness of the place. All I could hear were my footsteps as well as some birds chirping. It was magic! I’m definitely returning soon to find new spots for my workshops this fall. I bet it looks as wonderful as in summer!

One to one workshop in the forest

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 leireub@gmail.com :)

All photos were taken with a Fujifilm XT2 + 16mm f1.4