Thursday, December 5, 2013


On a recent (mostly unsuccessful) photo trek to the Horicon Marsh, I spied what appeared to be a tree farm just off the freeway.  After my return home I was able to locate the farm through Google Maps and decided to return to try some photography.  So earlier this week on a chilly but mostly sunny morning I returned with my camera.

This place is about 20 miles from my home and I fretted about a number of things.  It might be inaccessible or fenced off or posted with no trespassing signs.  Or worse, someone might ask me to leave.  Or the area could simply not work for some reason, for example, because of farm equipment or buildings or because of utility wires.  But such was not the case.  There was a service lane onto the land, no signs, no one to tell me to get out, and no utility wires.   The trees appeared to be of similar age and had been planted in very uniform rows, offering compositional opportunities.

Some of the shots I got were looking down the rows, as in the above shot.  While others showed the trees in a more random fashion, as in the following.

There was a heavy frost on the ground, visible in the above shots, which actually added to the scene.  There was also just a bit of fog that served to add depth to the compositions.  The early morning light also helped.  I had brought my tripod but thought there was enough light to shoot handheld.  Most of the photos were shot at f/11 to preserve good depth of field.

Here are a few more shots.

One thing I learned was that the direction of the shot relative to the sun had a major effect on the color, with photos shot into the sun being much warmer than those shot with the sun at my back.

I cropped a few of the shots to emphasize the tree trunks.  I converted the following into a black & white.

I took most of the shots horizontally, but here is one of the few vertical shots that I thought worked OK.

And here are a couple more shots looking down one of the "rows."  I left them off-center to add a little interest.

Lately, I have found that I am retaining only about 10-15% of the shots that I take.  However, on this shoot I found myself wanting to keep almost a third of the shots.  I felt that I had hit a jackpot of sorts.

A couple of days later, we were "blessed" with a dense fog that persisted into the late morning.  I decided to return to the tree farm to see what the fog might offer.  I think I was a little disappointed.  First, the fog was extremely dense, and in fact I could not see any of the trees until I was within perhaps 50 yards of them.  Second, the fog completely eliminated any background, as in the following shot.

Something had been lost.  I realized that some background was important to the overall composition. The shot and the one previous to it have a similar composition, but the farmland behind the first adds a context that has simply disappeared from the second shot.  A lesson learned.  Here are a couple more fog shots that I thought worked a bit better.

I did like the "ghost" trees in the second shot.  Because of the fog and low light conditions, I shot these with a tripod.

The foggy morning wasn't a waste, however, as I got some other landscape shots that I thought took nice advantage of the weather.  I will be posting those next.


1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness what beautiful pictures