All images © Stan Navratil

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Post # 4: Finding the order within chaos

“For photographic composition I think in terms of creating configurations out of chaos, rather than following any conventional rules of composition.”   Ansel Adams

The principal challenge of  forest photography  is dealing with the chaotic appearance of a natural scene. When walking into an original native forest stand we may be overwhelmed by the disarray of patterns, shapes and forms.  At first glance all seems messy .  It helps to slow down.  Soon we start discovering elements of composition, such as the distribution of tree trunks,  their patterns, symmetry, harmony or discord of tree sizes, angles of trunks.   Leaning or bent trees or fallen trees can be a powerful element in the composition.
In older and more open stands without dense understory the composition is easier. I strive to find the view that eliminates clutter like an obscured branch or shrub and to position the camera so that tree trunks do not overlap or touch. The image should also include as little as possible of bright spots of sky.

Conversely ,   shrub or smaller trees can be effectively   integrated into  composition ( fourth example) .  

The carefull positioning of camera was required to eliminate trees overlap and thus giving the depth to the scene.
Grove of western redcedar in the late evening light.
Interior wet-belt forests , Interior Cedar-Hemlock Zone. Manning Provincial Park , BC
Central position of the nearest tree is balanced with the compositional use of fallen, dead trees.
Subalpine interior forests, Englemann Spruce -Subalpine Fir Zone, Cariboo Mountains, BC

The composition relies on the distribution of trees trunks and lines of fallen trees.
Old-growth forest in Englemann Spruce- Subalpine Fir Zone,
 Moffat Lakes,  Cariboo, BC.
Mountain managed forest of Norway spruce Picea abies and beech Fagus silvatica.
The Jizera Mountains, Czech Republic.