Forest Floor

by Wayne O'Neill
(Long Barn, California, USA)

Not long ago, I read a photography book that said one should never include the forest floor when shooting in the forest. I live in a forest and think the shadow patterns cast on the floor by a noonday sun can sometimes be awesome.

I've also read that nature photography should only be done in early morning and late evening – go figure!

I'm trying to make the transition from point-and-shoot picture taking to DLSR photography. I intended to make this submission B&W but when I removed the color, I felt the picture lost something.

This shot was taken in Stanislaus National Forest just north of Yosemite Park. I wonder if it's the overwhelming natural environment making me see things that really aren't there and that this is just a picture of some pine needles and trees?

Does the shot convey any of the feelings of the moment?

I can't say I've ever read anything that suggests photos of a forest shouldn't include the forest floor - like Wayne says, it's often the floor that's most interesting!

Personally I'd disagree with that book. But that brings me onto another element to Wayne's post - photography rules.

In general, photography rules make a good starting point for making a good picture, and for that reason it's worth having an understanding of them.

That said, photographers should always experiment, and rules should be broken. There's another rule that Wayne eludes to - the golden hour.

The golden hour is, roughly speaking, an hour after sunrise, and an hour before sunset (two every day!). The light at this time is less harsh and colours are more saturated. It's worth knowing this, especially with landscape photography.

But it's a rule that can be broken.

As Wayne points out, at midday the shadows can be harsh (which is why it often makes sense to avoid taking photos during the middle of the day) but those shadows can also be used creatively - and hence the rule is broken.

So, to sum up, nice photo, and, after learning a a few rules of photography, don't be afraid to break them!


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