Our 6 Favorite Photos of Trees, Woods, and Forests: Reader’s Assignment

The Tree With a Mind of its Own
“This tree is in Pacific Grove, California, just off of Lighthouse Avenue,” Christopher Axe writes. “I really love its quirkiness and the incredible detail in its branches.” He shot it with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a 24-105mm f/4 lens at 27mm and f/19. The image was processed as a 32-bit HDR in Lightroom and then edited in Photoshop. “I removed most of the telephone lines and added a new sky with more color,” he adds. © Christopher Axe

Photographing trees is harder than it seems. First of all, everyone knows what trees look like so how do you capture them in a unique way that showcases their natural beauty?

Second, oftentimes woods and forests are so densely packed, it’s tough to get a visual bead on your subject. And third, just about every photographer we know has captured trees with their cameras. They’re just such amazing, ever-present subjects, it’s hard to resist photographing them.

With all that in mind, we asked readers not to underestimate our Trees, Woods, and Forests assignment. We knew readers had tons of photos of trees but how many of them truly stood out? We found out as we received a record number of submissions for this assignment, many of them quite good.

We only wanted to see the forest for the trees and that’s exactly what we got. Here are our six favorite images of Trees, Woods, and Forests.

(Note: To enter your photos in Picture This assignments, visit Shutterbug’s Galleries.)

Trees in the Clouds
“I shot this photograph during the blue hour, about 4:30 in the morning, from Steptoe Butte in the Palouse of Washington,” Donna Caplinger explains. She used a Nikon D800 and a 500mm lens at f/16, ISO 320, 1/4 second. © Donna Caplinger
Trees in Ice and Fog
“Driving into Guadalupe Mountains National Park, I encountered a sudden ice storm and thick fog,” Timothy Van Minnick recalls. “The entire landscape was coated in ice and mostly hidden by fog. This icy tree stood out in stark contrast to the low-contrast landscape.” The image was made with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and a Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro lens. The exposure was 1/2500 second at f/5, ISO 800, and +1 EV to compensate for the bright fog. © Timothy Van Minnick
The Dark Hedges
“The Dark Hedges are located in Ballymoney, County Antrim, Northern Ireland,” Colette Cannataro writes. “I had always wanted to capture this photo, way before Game of Thrones made them famous as The King’s Road. I arrived well before sunrise, and was the only person there until a French photographer came along. He did not speak any English nor did I speak any French, but we got along famously and stayed out of each other’s shots. It was a cloudy morning and it did not seem like we would see any sun at all. We shot for a long time and then packed up our gear, and he went one way, while I turned to go the other way. At that moment, the clouds moved and the sun broke through the trees on the right, resulting in beautiful light and awesome shadows on the road. I yelled “Hey!” to my new French friend and pointed. He came running back. Hopefully he got some nice shots as well!” Cannataro captured the image with a Sony A7R and an 18-200mm lens at f/6.3, 1/80 second, ISO 64. © Colette Cannataro
Filtered Sun Rays
“During a walk at a local park, the fog had moved from a ravine to the highlands, allowing the sun to shine through,” Bill Lanahan says. He shot this image with a Nikon D100 and a Tokina 24-200mm lens at f/9, 1/200 second, ISO 200. © Bill Lanahan
Tree Lines
Andy Lerner captured these acacia trees in Tanzania with a Nikon D300S. © Andy Lerner