in the woods – tree photography


A familiar photographic device is an image of a solitary tree. So why do we love woods and trees? We humans enjoy the stories and fables about trees and looking at trees and even like hugging trees. However, tree photography is popular (and a bit of a cliche) but they’re a simple and satisfying subject, waiting to be photographed, so why not make that image? 

The bare branches of trees in winter add drama to a photograph. Add some early morning mist or November fog to a wood and make an atmospheric image. I enjoy the dramatic gloom of a tree on a murky winter’s day. The trees in these photos mainly grow in shallow soil on limestone. They grow as small, spindly windswept trees, hanging onto the thin soil as best they can.

My favourite trees in rural areas of Cumbria and Scotland live in managed woods and wild countryside. Wild trees that grow on the coast and in high level, exposed areas.  Some small and fragile trees, survive the felling of large commercial pine forests, while others stand alone in the middle of common land, grazed by sheep and cows. 

Capturing trees in black and white emphasizes the grandeur of trees. Images rely upon size and shape more than colour. I enjoy displaying the mystery of trees this way. Walking deep into a wood and you most of the colour drains way, leaving nothing but the stark shapes of the surrounding trees.

An estimated one hundred thousand species of tree live on our planet. Possibly are as many as three trillion individual trees. This provides photographers with plenty of subject matter, but I suspect I’m unlikely to photograph them all.