trees

How I achieve this moody look in my forest photos

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!

It was worth it

It took me a while to get out of bed but as soon as I saw that the mountains were covered in fog and it was drizzling, I made a coffee, grabbed my camera and got in the car. Two hours later, I got back home, soaking wet and with a few mosquito bites. It was worth it though. It always is.

*Canon 6D with the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art.

Portrait session with friends

Yesterday morning we wandered around a forest with beautiful tall trees. Jon is usually behind the camera, but yesterday he gave me the chance to photograph him instead. Go check out his wonderful portrait work here.

Would you like to go for a walk in the forest or to touch the sea on the coast and take some photos in the meantime? Send me a message and we'll make it happen!

*All photos taken with the 6D + Sigma 35 Art

 

 

Below zero session in the forest

I texted Oihana on Saturday night asking whether she would be up for a quick shoot the following morning. She agreed immediately, so I packed my gear in the Kanken and decided to bring along my analog camera with Portra 400, because my resolution for this year is to shoot more film. I woke up to -7ºC and put on the warmest clothes I had on my closet, drove to her apartment and went to the forest to shoot some portraits. Wildflowers were covered in frost and puddles were frozen. Yep, it was cold indeed, but the light was beautiful, and totally worth it. 

I'm currently looking for people to go on more shoots like these. If you are interested, head over to the contact page and let's plan something wonderful and fun!

Wandering in the Forest

A couple of weeks ago my friend Marina and I drove to the forest of Otzarreta in the Natural Park of Gorbea, just 30 minutes away from home. I love walking around nature in the early morning so that's what we did before it started to rain. I'm becoming more interested in shooting portraits, so you will be seeing more of that stuff in the upcoming blogs. Meanwhile enjoy this set! Also, if you want to get out and shoot some portraits like these in the forest or near the sea, drop me a line and we'll think of something together!