Infrared in the woods

Saturday, the 2nd of July, I did a photowalk in the Vijlenerbos. No rainy or foggy conditions. It was just a hot sunny day, all in all a perfect day for hiking in this forest.

Due to the warm weather I only passed a few other people wandering in this forest. When I am photographing, people sometimes stop and ask what I am doing. This can be distracting, specially when they find themselves in the composition of the image to be taken. I sometimes get startled when a person approaches me from behind and I don’t hear this person. When nobody is around I can fully immerse myself in the photography. These are the moments I can shoot my best images.

I decided to embrase the bad conditions, photograpy wise speaking, and set out a search for interesting woodland scenes to photograph. With the harsh light, standard colour photography in woodland is not a great starting point for interesting photographs. Because, a lot of bright spots in an image is distracting to look at.

It is always possible to shoot small woodland details that are in the shade, but my main interest is still taking images of the more bigger woodland scenes. Woodland scenes that give the viewer the possibility to imagine themselves to be in that particular scene. Taking photographs of woodland details has also its own challenges. Like movement due to wind.

I wanted to do some black and white infrared photography, to get a more graphical look of the woodland scenes in the Vijlenerbos. Due to the amount of bright light spots in the forest it was still really difficult to get some decent shots. Here are examples of a black and white infrared image with some big bright light spots.

In any image a viewer is attracted to the brightest spots. A lot of bright spots “all over the place” does make a photograph complex and uncomfortable to look at. This “distracting” effect of the bright light spots in an image is also apparent in black and white infrared photographs. Perhaps even more.

I found a scene fully lit by the sun. With a lot of dodging and burning I have created some depth to the image.

Later on I decided to shoot more into the sun. When scenes are more back lit the effect of “distracting bright spots” is better manageable and those bright spots do not appear all over the trees and leaves. Also, the photographs get a more “graphical black and white” look.

I would like to hear in the comments what image you like the most.

All content and photographs are (C) Copyright Ruud Maas. All Rights Reserved.

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