Shooting Challenge #23 — Trees

By Martin Snelling on at

Of all the things I love to photograph, I have to put trees somewhere near the top. They're like people; they have a life of their own and every single one of them is different. Some are loners, while others huddle together in vast forests of green, and they all make fantastic photographic subjects.

My favourite tree to photograph is the single tree, standing alone in a field against a vast open sky. There's something quite lonely about one single tree; standing proud yet alone while all else around it has fallen. I'm lucky to live fairly close to the New Forest and so whenever we're out driving, I'm always on the lookout for that one solitary tree to photograph. I will often stop the car, get out and walk 20 minutes just to photograph one (like the image above).


The Brief:

This week's brief is straightforward: photograph trees! One tree, two trees or a whole bloody forest of trees; I'll leave it entirely up to you. But your photograph must contain at least one tree (dead or alive).


Shooting tips:

While there are no hard and fast rules for photographing trees, here are a few pointers that could ignite your creative flame.

- If you're shooting in woodland where the light may be lower, use a tripod or a higher ISO. Do be aware that a higher ISO can result in a noisier image.

- Shoot up! If you're surrounded by tall trees with the canopy high above, point your camera straight up and photograph the rays of the sun coming through the branches.

- Shoot down! On the flipside, tree roots can also be a great provider of photographic inspiration.

- Devil is in the detail. If a tree or forest isn't working for you at a distance, get up close and photograph the trunk and bark; some great shapes and patterns can be found.

- If you're photographing a solitary tree, walk around it and photograph from all sides and angles; you can get very different results depending on which side you photograph.

- Want a silhouette? Shoot into the sun.

- Cloudy days can create very dramatic images; don't wait for the sun.

- Misty days can create atmosphere; if it's foggy, grab your camera and head out to the nearest forest.

- Branches can make great frames so consider introducing objects to a scene in order to create a juxtaposition between man and nature.


The Rules:

- Submissions must be your own work.
- Submit up to five images.
- Photos must be taken after the challenge was published; so no existing shots please.
- Global image post-processing is allowed (changes to levels, brightness, contrast and cropping are permitted).
- Explain, briefly in your submission email, the equipment, settings, technique used and more importantly for this challenge, the story behind the image. Please ensure EXIF info is intact (if image was taken digitally).
- Email submissions to, not me.
- Please ensure your image is at least 600px wide and less than 3MB in size.
- Save your image as a JPG, and use the following naming convention FirstnameLastnameTrees.jpg.
- Don't forget to include a shooting summary (see above).
- Send your best photos by Monday, October 7th 2013 at 6pm UK time with "Shooting Challenge - Trees" in the subject line.
- Anyone can enter, regardless of location.
- The most important rule -- HAVE FUN