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February 2016 Issue
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Photo school: Forest photography

Photo: Richard Young

Get the light right and choose a subject to photography lush forest scenes

Find a subject

When photographing in the bush, it is often hard to know where to point your camera. To avoid ending up with a cluttered shot of lots of trees, single out a subject. This could be a particularly stunning tree, a splash of contrasting colour, or a pattern that begs to be photographed.

Photograph on an overcast day

The harsh light of a bright day creates a great deal of contrast and makes exposure more difficult. On an overcast day, unusual lighting and weather can make a more unique photograph of the forest, especially mist. Sun can occasionally add to an image, such as capturing rays of light breaking though the trees.

Capture the forest floor

The forest floor is often covered in lush ferns and other beautiful small plants; include these in your shot. Sometimes these on their own can make the best shot. Getting down low to photograph them works best.

Get the leaves in focus

If you’re singling out a subject in your shot, like a particularly stunning tree, make sure this is in focus along with any ferns or plants on the ground. If you are photographing in low light on an overcast day, you will need to use a tripod or select a higher ISO to get a shutter speed which is fast enough for a sharp image.

Location: Forest on the edge of Lake Waikaremoana, Te Urewera

Settings: 22mm lens, ISO 100, f11, 1/2 second

– Wellington-based Richard Young runs photography workshops in Tongariro National Park