on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Seeing the wood for the trees

An idiots guide to photographing trees

Dav Thomas

Tree loving photographer, mainly using large format film cameras but also flirts with other formats.


When I started out in landscape photography I read about "the rules" and tried to practice them like a good boy: something in the foreground, path through the photo etc etc, but it didn't take me long to come to the conclusion that rule following wasn't for me. Why should there be something in the foreground, be on thirds, or be taken at the seaside during magic hour?

I have a love of design - be it print, product, architecture - and as a practicing designer I have a very strong view of what I like. I like my design to me minimal yet authoritative, perfectly set typography does it for me and furniture design needs to be minimal, classic and functional. “So what?” you may ask.  Well, at first I was too busy following set rules that I missed the fact that my landscape images should just be another part of my creative design process; my images should hold the same values as the other design processors I'm so passionate about. So, after a year or so of sunset chasing, I put away my bucket and spade, stopped visiting the seaside at sun up and start hacking away at my own creative path.

If the seaside was going to be reserved for holidays, what do do? I started exploring my local path, the Peak District. I knew I didn't want to be turning out wide angle views of the 'edges' as is the norm so I started exploring the less noticed elements; the grasses and the trees.

I've had a love of trees for as long as I can remember, as a child I used to play for hours on "Church Field" opposite my house: an overgrown no-mans-land, making dens in the trees and dams in the steam which was shrouded in scatty looking greenery. I spent days exploring my local Wollaton park, home to many a fine tree. The football team I've supported all my life even have a tree as a badge – it was all destined to happen!

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