There are a number of techniques behind creating good rainforest photographs – but before you even begin to think about them you need something far more important: passion; a passion for the outdoors, for tall majestic trees, far reaching canopies, light filtering through the branches, raging waterfalls, babbling streams, still pools. You also need to be curious about the little things and take a closer look at what is right around you – fungi clinging to a tree stump, scribbly bark, the illusive singing of a bird, vines and moss, crawling insects, motes of dust in sunbeams, and the slither of a snake or skink. The love you have for your surroundings will give you the key essential for capturing the images you want. A photograph is a personal vision – a reflection of how you see what is around you. Be inspired by your surroundings, by the big and the little things, the colours and the textures.
Here are some of my ideas on creating landscape and forest photos.
Be creative. Take many photos, and find out what style works best for you in various situations. Discover what others may overlook. Aim to capture the essence of what comprises the richness and diversity of our beautiful forests.
Be unique. Many people take thousands of landscape photos – but what is it that makes the masters stand out? Their own style and interpretation of the scene in front of them. Study the work of our famous landscape photographers, from Ansel Adams and David Muench to Australia’s own – Olgas Truchanas, Peter Dombrovskis, and Peter Eastway. Interpret their photos and assess for yourself exactly what it is that makes them masters of photography. Beginners to photography tend to copy the styles they enjoy – later on experiment and find your own style.
Your style. Be different from the crowd. Find unusual angles, try taking shots from ground level, or frame the shot with interesting foliage.
Enjoy what you are doing. You will need deep reserves of patience, there will be many failures and some days which just don’t work for you. And then there are others when you will find yourself in the right place at the right time and camera ready. When the lighting suddenly turns a scene into something magical.
Practice the traditional methods, and experiment with new techniques. Many of the most stunning photographs follow an adherence to the old rules. Composition, the rule of thirds, lighting, colour, texture, shape and lines. Study these and spend time practising them.
Experiment. Be prepared to break those rules, and you may discover the unusual. There have been many developments throughout the history of photography, and now we are in the age of digital photography, giving photographers new powers of imagination and experimentation. Many say the advent of digital photography has ruined traditional methods of recording what the photographer sees. How do we know if the photo is real? Photographers have manipulated their photos in their darkrooms for years, just as artists manipulate their work with paint and brush. However, don’t forget a photo needs to be pleasing to the eye. Invariably this means composing the shot carefully at the click of the shutter, having a feel for the angle and direction of the light.
I am a runner, and I love to run effortlessly - at one with my world. However, if I don’t run for a while, and slacken my training, running can become a chore, tedious and unfulfilling. Photography is similar. It requires taking many shots for you to be able to ‘see’ the composition of that perfect photo and be familiar with the functions of your camera. Get out there, enjoy your surroundings, experiment and constantly seek to better your results. Above all, keep practicing, enjoy what you are doing and what you achieve.