Inside this issue
A Morning in a Magical Forest
Time to Disconnect
An amateur photographer living in Berlin, Germany. He shoots nature, cities, and random dogs. He likes to go to a forest to sit on a fallen tree, drink coffee and make a picture or two. He also likes to walk in the city, make photos of streets, people and stuffses, and drink some more coffee. He prefers quiet colors and subtle editing. However, he doesn’t try to portray the world as it is and more interested in representing it as he sees and feels it — full of beauty, magic, and unicorns.
A forest not far from my home in Berlin, Germany that I call “My Forest”. I go there several times a month and rarely see any people. Sometimes, a lonely dog walker or a jogger, but most of the time it’s just me and my tripod. And it’s only about 40 minutes by train from my home.
My Forest isn’t very big and isn’t exactly wild, meaning that sometimes you need to photoshop a traffic light or a road sign peeking behind the trees on a photo. Or you need to take some plastic wrapping out of the forest.
It consists mostly of mixed deciduous trees: birches, oaks, maples; and a few areas of pines. It has a couple of small and not so pretty ponds (which are, however, nice for a summer picnic). It also has an area with highland cows — super cute and fluffy — surrounded by beautiful, sparse birches. Be careful not to step into cow poo!
I like to go to my forest around sunrise. I rarely check the weather forecast because I don’t want to have any expectations of the weather and the conditions — I just go there to see what I can find. This kind of routine approach makes it easier for me to wake up early and leave the comfort of my home, and avoid doubts like “maybe the conditions won’t be good today, maybe I should just brew another cup of coffee and read a book on the sofa with my dogs”.
I usually spend there two or three hours and find these moments of quietness and aloneness very rewarding. They give me time to disconnect from the city, from my work, and all the problems of existence. It gives me time to think, or even better, not to think.
Berlin is not the best place for moody landscapes. For example, we have dense fog probably just a couple of times a year. And if I was going out only when the conditions are promising, I’d have probably stayed at home all the time. So I just go. Most of the time, I end up shooting something. However, not every time do I have something worth keeping.
Anyway, even if there’s nothing to shoot, I enjoy the walk, nature, occasional encounters with wildlife, and of course, coffee. There’s nothing better than sitting on a fallen tree, chewing a semi-fresh croissant or even some homemade banana bread, and drinking hot coffee from a thermos.
I had many lucky mornings when I managed to catch great light or amazing conditions in my forest. However, one particular morning in winter 2020 is by far the best of all and the most memorable. I don’t think I’ve seen such incredible conditions anywhere in the past decade or so.
The following piece is adapted from my journal and was part of my first photography zine that I’ve published in the autumn of 2021. All following photos were made on that morning.
The sun promised by the weather forecast is nowhere to be seen. Instead, all the trees are sparkling with frost! It’s so strong — I’ve never seen anything like that in my five years in Berlin. The frost and a touch of fog are transforming a regular forest into a truly magical landscape.
A flash in the corner of my eye — a white deer’s bum behind the trees. Another deer is crossing a path right in front of me. I see six of them, and they aren’t running away until I try to come closer.
The fog is denser on a field — I can’t see the trees across the field. Shouting loudly, birds are flying above the horizon. Woodpecker’s knocking is echoing from the other side of the field. Another photographer is shooting a lone tree — the one I’ve tried to shoot so many times before, none successfully until today. Fog and frost are the best photographer’s friends!
I drink hot coffee, looking at a frozen pond, and eat a cold croissant I’ve bought at the train station. Two swans are flying over the pond. Birds are tweeting and jumping from branch to branch — I guess everyone is having breakfast in the forest. Only barely audible noises of the road and occasional dog walkers and joggers remind me that I’m still in the city — not in a magical forest.