Photographing Big Trees

Posted by on Aug 18, 2016 in Articles | No Comments

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_DSC1476One of the hardest things I do in my photography is to try to show something that is really big to be really big in the final image. What generally happens is that anything that is of unusual size (I suppose the really small things have the same issue) magically become ‘normal’ sized in your image. Really long boats shrink to normal sized boats, huge waves shrink to just everyday waves and giant trees shrink to normal sized trees.

This last one is the one that vexes me the most. I don’t know how many times I have taken a photo of a tree that is 6,7 or 8 feet in diameter only to have it look like a tree 2 or 3 feet in diameter on my computer. The trick is that you need something of known size in your picture to show how out of the ordinary big the tree is. This is easily done with a person standing next to the trunk but for a nature photographer it is often nice not to include a person in your picture.

_DSC1444-2On my recent trip to Sitka, Alaska I found a beautiful grove of huge Sitka Spruce trees in the perfect light and the perfect situation. What wasn’t perfect was how I photographed them. A few of my photos show a larger than normal tree but none of them show how enormous the trees were. None except for the ones where I included a person in the photo for comparison (that’s Bob in the blue rain coat).

I tried putting an obvious plant in the photo for comparison- a huckleberry in one, a Devil’s club and a hemlock sapling in others-  but unless you know how big those plants are supposed to be it doesn’t really work.

Oh, well. I guess this means I will have to keep seeking out these giant trees and keep on trying!!!!

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