in the woods


Images of solitary trees are a familiar photographic device. What is it about woods that has generated stories and fables over the centuries and why do trees still attract the photographer’s eye? Tree photography can be a cliche, but the trees are standing in the woods, waiting to be photographed, so why not?

The bare branches of trees in winter give extra drama to a photograph. Add some early morning mist or November fog to a wood and you have an atmospheric image. I enjoy the dramatic gloom of a tree on a murky winter’s day. The trees in these photos This means they grow as small, spindly windswept trees that hang onto the bare soil as best they can.

My trees are trees that live in rural areas in managed woods or in wild countryside, they are not urban trees. They grow on the coast and in high level, exposed areas.  Many are small and fragile having survived the felling of large commercial pine forests. Others stand alone in the middle of common land grazed by sheep and cows. Most of my woodland and tree images are made in Cumbria in north west England or in the Highlands of Scotland.

Why capture trees in black and white? I think this is because the grandeur of  trees depends upon there size and shape more than their colour. I think they are more mysterious displayed this way. When you walk deep into a wood, most of the colour drains way and you are left with the stark shapes of the surrounding trees.

There are an estimated one hundred thousand species of tree in the world and it is thought there could be 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.