How to Photograph Trees, Mushrooms and Rivers | Woodland Photography Tips


– Hi guys, it’s Ross
Hoddinott from NatureTTL.com and I’m here today to help you take great photographs of woodland. (light uplifting music) (clicking camera shutter) I’ve decided to come to woodland today, because the weather
isn’t particularly good, it’s a bit drizzly, it’s overcast and woodland’s a really good place to go to take photographs on
a fairly rubbish day, weather’s not great, come into the shelter of some woodlands and hopefully I can photograph, there’s a really nice river here, so I’m hoping to photograph the river, there’s some seasonal
colours starting to appear, so I’m hoping to shoot those as well, I’m hoping to find some fungi and perhaps some other kind
of textures and patterns, so fingers crossed, we’re going
to have a little explore now and we’ll see what we can find
and what we can photograph. (gentle relaxing music) (rushing water) I think this is a really
nice spot along the river. I’m a bit concerned about some of this kind of debris in the background here, I think that really ruins the shot, but the viewpoint looking in
this direction is really nice, there’s a few autumnal
leaves in the foreground, which I might decide to
incorporate into the shot, but I definitely think
there’s real potential for a nice image here, possibly using a polarising filter to kind of give the colours
a bit more intensity and also maybe use an ND filter, just to give the water motion, just a little bit of
kind of creative blur, so I’m going to set up now. (gentle uplifting music) So the river look fantastic here and this is my initial composition, I’ve decided to use the foreground rocks to give a little bit of a frame, I also quite like the fact there’s some autumnal leaves
here in the foreground, which I think is kind of quite attractive, that makes it look quite seasonal, I’ve deliberately, as you
can see from this shot, I’ve intentionally obscured the sky, I don’t want any white sky
coming right into the shot, so if I just alter this and you can see some kind of white highlights coming into the upper part of the shot and they will burn out and
they’ll look really distracting, so when you photograph
woodland on overcast days, ideally try and exclude the sky and make sure that the frame
is filled up with just woodland and that will reduce the contrast and make it a lot easier
to get a very nice shot. I’ve just attached a polarising filter I used a LEE Filters
Landscape Polarising Filter, and the reason why I’ve done that is because polarizers are
great for woodland interiors, most people think of
polarizers as just being good for blue skies and kind
of big, open vistas, but polarizers reduce all
the glare and reflections coming off water and foliage
and so for a scene like this, it does a really good job of
giving the scene more punch, giving the colours more vibrancy. This is the unpolarized
scene at the minute, and just as I rotate the filter, you’ll see that the colours
really start to intensify and the contrast within the moving water becomes much greater, the image looks far better
now with this filter and if you’re going to go
out and shoot woodland, I would really recommend that you bring your polarizer with you. In this instance, I’m using the leaves and this kind of rocky ledge
as my foreground interest, but a scene like this doesn’t
have to have foreground, I think a lot of photographers
get really hung up on always having foreground interest and river scenes can look
great with a fallen tree or rocky boulders in the foreground, just to add that little bit of interest, but when you’re shooting water motion, that water motion itself can create that really nice, kind
of foreground interest and sometimes that’s all you need. You’ll probably notice that with my shot, that I’m shooting upstream with the kind of water
running in towards the camera, which I think in this instance
works really, really well, but don’t worry too much about whether you’re shooting upstream or downstream, rivers are really good at
creating a natural lead-in line, so whichever direction you shoot in, the river’s going to direct
the eye through the image and create a really kind of
deep, compelling composition. (light uplifting music) Another good technique to
try on a day like today, when it’s damp and a little bit miserable is to try Intentional Camera Motion or ICM, as people often describe it and this is a technique
where you move the camera, you drag the camera during the exposure to blur subject detail, subject motion, that’s what you’re kind of creating. Now, I’ve come to this
particular spot here, this group of trees in front of me, because I’m looking for strong structure, so when you intentionally
blur your subject, you’re looking for a subject, that has got really good structure to it, strong, bold shapes, there’s
texture, there’s contrast, so that when you kind
of create that motion, the image actually still has really good definition and interest. So for ICM mages, it’s quite a good idea to actually use a tripod, but
you can shoot them handheld, it’s not an issue, different
heads work in different ways, this tripod head isn’t the best for this, it’s a geared head and
it creates a little bit, it’s a little bit jerky to
actually move up and down, possibly a ball and
socket head would produce a slightly more kind of flowing motion, but whatever you decide to use, it’s just a matter of trial and error, try different lengths of exposure and also just vary the actual speed, that you move the camera and those things will all create
different looking results. One of the big considerations,
when shooting ICM images is shutter length, you need
a relatively long exposure, in order to get the
creative level of motion, that you’re trying to achieve, I would say an exposure
time of around a second to two seconds is a really
good starting point, so you can achieve that with a low ISO, you could also select
a very small aperture, you don’t need to worry
about diffraction at all, when you’re taking these kind of images, because obviously they’re soft anyway and you could use a solid ND filter to help create that
long level of exposure, I’ve got a polarising
filter on at the minute, because that’s absorbing a
couple of stops of light, it’s also saturating the colours, which is making my images look a little bit more saturated as well. (light uplifting music) One of the first things that comes to mind when you think autumn is all
the lovely autumnal colours, but you have to be really careful that Auto White Balance doesn’t
try and neutralise them, I recommend you shoot one of your presets, like Daylight or Cloudy
and you could actually use one of the presets to deliberately saturate the colours slightly more, Cloudy and Shade are both really good at just giving your shots a
little bit of extra warmth. The other subject that you really think of when you think of autumn is fungi and that’s what we’re going
to go and look for now. (light uplifting music) And it looks like we’ve
found the perfect subject. There’s some really nice
groups of toadstools here, but they’re a bit chaotic,
there’s a lot going on, so I’m actually looking
to find just one or two and they’re growing kind of slightly more separately from the
others, which I can isolate and hopefully make a kind of a simpler, kind of nicer composition from them and often it is better
to go for small groups, than it is to go for obvious large masses. I’ve found my subject,
it’s in pristine condition and now I’ve set up my
tripod to give me stability, there’s not a lot of light
obviously in the woodland today, so I need the tripod to
give me not only stability, but also it allows me to
fine tune my composition. In terms of composition, I’ve
gone for a fairly low angle, because that generally
looks more intimate, it looks more natural
and often with fungi, a low, worm’s eye view,
when you’re looking up at it can look really nice. I’ve just isolated the one mushroom, the other ones are kind
of out of focus around it, I’m going to use a relatively shallow depth of field to achieve that and the fungus is just kind
of on an intersecting third, which is a really kind
of nice, striking place for the subject to be. So now having set up, I’ve got two things I really need to think about,
my focusing and also lighting. With focusing, I always favour Live view, it is great for really
precisely applying my focus, so what I can do is with a Live
view activated on my screen, I can just zoom in and then
manually adjust my focus, I can do this with great precision, generally with close up subjects, it is better to focus manually,
you have more precision, Autofocus can sometimes hunt around for focus on small subjects
shot at high magnification and I’m just very, very
finely adjusting focus, so that it’s placed just
on the edge of the cap and having done that, I’m
going to zoom back out, it’s all nice and sharp and I’m
ready to take my photograph. I’m really pleased with it,
the shot works very nicely, I think the toadstool is
standing out really well from its kind of out of focus
foreground and background, so I’m happy from that perspective, but the image does look a bit flat, which is hardly surprising, the light’s very flat,
you know, it’s overcast and there’s a very
dense leaf canopy above, so in order to try and give the
image just a bit more drama, I’m going to apply a little
bit of artificial lighting and to do that, I’m going to use this LED, the one I use is made by Manfrotto, but there are all kinds
of versions available and the nice thing about
using a constant light source like this is that you
can be very creative, you can kind of move the
LED around the subject to kind of get different effects, I’ve always liked backlighting the most, so I’m just going to turn this LED on now and I’m going to just
handhold it behind my subject and obviously I’m just regulating effect by either moving it
closer or further away, I’m just looking at the effect
on the screen on my camera, I’m happy with that and
suddenly I’ve got an image with a lot more interest and impact. Another really good lighting accessory for close ups is a reflector, in these kind of dark conditions, just having a little bit of natural light reflected up in your subject can just relieve very dark shadow areas and just create a really kind of nice, natural looking light, a small version like this,
this one’s made by Lastolite is ideal and a perfect accessory to kind of keep in your backpack, when you shoot woodland close ups. So there you have it,
three really neat ways to take great shots in
woodland on an overcast day. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video and don’t forget to hit
Subscribe to Nature TTL for more interesting and
great videos every week. – [Announcer] Subscribe for more and don’t forget to check the Description for links to all the
gear used in this video.

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100 thoughts on “How to Photograph Trees, Mushrooms and Rivers | Woodland Photography Tips

  1. Great video, the first I have seen of your though I recently started getting your brilliant news letter. Personally, and this is purely a taste thing, I’m not a lover of ICM. Fantastic information all the way through with great advice. A very professionally presented video.

  2. Always inspired by your macro work and try to emulate your style – unsuccessfully of course but your work always makes me strive to improve – thanks

  3. I love capturing images of fungi. Great tips! Will definitely get an LED light and reflector. Thanks for the video. Subscribed!

  4. How do you like the Nikon D850. Black and white would make an interesting pic. I use ICM to take pic of lights. Christmas make a great shot. Thank you Ben

  5. Without a doubt the best informative video I’ve seen in ages…excellent and learned so much,, thank you for sharing…just subscribed!

  6. By far the best video tutorial that I've come across on YouTube. Like the other viewer said, you should totally do more videos. Great content, precisely delivered. Thank you for the effort. Learnt a lot!

  7. I had not even thought of using a portable light source to back light a subject. Can even use it as a rim light. Duh! WOW. THANK YOU!

  8. Very good information , straight to the point , but I got question as I'm not pro ..well do you use manual setting for your macro pics or built in macro setting .
    Thanks

  9. thanks Ross, I have had some of my best shots in those woods, I usually visit spring and fall. for uk people this is Golitha Falls in Cornwall.

  10. You didn't like the down river shot? you complained about the tree limbs wrecking the image, that's how rivers look & the trees made for great depth with the limbs in the river creating a lower pool.Taking images of perfect Christmas trees looks boring, natural looking nature is far more realistic & interesting than postcard images.

  11. I've looked everywhere for Fly Agaric mushrooms and cannot find any. I've spent a fortune on diesel looking for woodlands where I might find them but never ever seen one.

  12. I just watched this out of curiosity, but to my amazement, found that it was a very good video, TTL knew what he was talking out, no waffle, l shall take a look at TTL's other video's

  13. when using a sticky tripod use a piece of elastic like a bungee cord attached to the handle. It will act as a damper and reduce jerkiness

  14. Great suggestions. Am actually heading out to a national park and we have rain in the forecast for the first half of the week. So i'll take the macro and try this out.

  15. Ross you inspire me to take better photos . i love nature and asp by the sea ,clouds asp. and sunrise or sunsets with a wide landscape view. .i get confused with all the maths and calculations , but your approach getting out in the open helps me to grasp the subject.your a good teacher and know you subject well. thanks a bunch.

  16. Enjoyed your video. I just purchased the D850 and I am in the process of setting it up. Do you have any recommendations for settings?

  17. Great camera height. If lowered you would lose the little stream coming in on the left side which sort of indicates an island in the center of the great composition. Thanks for all the tips.

  18. I like the use of the polarized lens. Is there one that will fit all different lenses without having to carry a lot of kit ? Also looks like a d850. Did you try the focus stacking on the 850?

  19. I agree with you that a lot of photographers get hung up on foreground interest. Obviously it's important for many shots but certainly not all of them. I think that's one of the reasons many landscape photographers are switching from wide-angle to telephoto as their main landscape lens. Compressing the background, bringing everything closer to the camera and focusing more on light, shape, texture etc. can create really powerful images. This also steers you away from taking those boring, repetitive postcard shots and allows for a more creative approach that show your unique view as an artist.

  20. Amazing job on the video. I will definitely be using this to help me with my photography.
    Also i like what you did with your channel. You have my subscription would love to have your support as well.

    ATB Joe 😎👊🏻

  21. I agree with the prior posting. One of the best instructional documentations of considerations in one's shooting process that I have seen.

  22. taking into account your a professional and I'm an amateur, the mushrooms DOF seemed to narrow to me, or for my tastes in photography I would have gone for a longer DOF

  23. How do you describe the difference between a "Polarizing Filter" and a "ND Filter" and how do you choose to use one or the other..? Thanks Great Video..

  24. Top tip about white balance and overcast days. It took me a while to get out of the habit of auto WB. My camera does do a a good job of getting it fairly accurate, but it wasn't until i started setting purposeful kelvin levels and carrying a white card to set a custom WB that my nature images began to remarkably improve and have life to them.

  25. I think I would have focussed more towards the stalk of the fungi rather than the front edge and used a narrower aperture to capture the whole of the toadstool in focus using like a hyperfocal distance in order to keep the whole item sharp. Depth of field is always narrow when shooting macro so the background would still remain out of focus.

  26. With regards to polarizers, can’t you just boost saturation in post and decrease highlights

  27. Thanks for the video. Some very nice ideas, both with the motion of the tree and the use of constant light for the macro.

  28. Nice video but it would be nice to know what camera settings you used for each shot. Nothing too in depth, maybe just ISO, aperture and shutter speed 😊👍

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