Rafael Rojas Photography

Blog of Rafael Rojas Fine Art Photography

Photo of the week: Forest Seasons


Hi all. Sorry for the silence...these last weeks are being really hectic! I am working right now on quite a lot of different projects...from calendars to workshops, from a new book which will be released in a few months if everything goes well, to a totally new website that will see the light this next summer, a big project related to environmental education and awareness by using nature photography, and still other things.... Funny that, the more projects you are involved in, the less time you spend shooting outside and the more hours you tan yourself in front of the computer screen...

Anyway, here I am back, with loads of news. I will be posting some new things, ideas and happy events related to my photography in the following weeks...but before that, here i come with the image of the week (after some weeks silence!).

This is in fact not an image, but a portfolio of images. I was the other day compiling a portfolio for the IPA 2010 photography awards, nature-trees and nature-seasons category....I wanted to portray the magic of seasons through the view of a forest, by using four images using a similar tone-graphical design that would make a perfect coherent portfolio. I had taken an image from a beech forest nearby one february morning, after a fresh big snowfall and during a totally calm and misty dawn that would make a perfect image to depict the silent, cold and magical ambiance of winter in the forest. Winter was ticked.

Then, i needed a strong image for the autum. I took some nice images this last autumn in another beech forest of the region where I live. Beeches, my favourite trees...That day, a perfect calm and foggy morning coincided with the peak colours of autumn. It was just the matter of finding the perfect "order" whithin the chaos which normally dwells in the forests. Two trees, stretching out their branches, made the focal point of the image, leading to the representation of dancing trees amidst the rest of their colleagues, in the perfect golden autumn paradise that spring to our minds when we think of fall...Great, i had two images.

Now I needed a powerful image portraiting the forests in a typical summer day. That one was hard. Summer forests are not really impressive.... The fresh hue of spring has turned into a dark and bug-eaten green by midsummer, and the light is normally harsh during the day, leading to a big mess of contrasty spots beneath the canopy. Not nice. However, as Nature normally teaches us, there is no "bad" light, no "bad" conditions or no "bad" photographic subject. We just need to find the "suitable" conditions, light and subject for every moment and every place, for every feeling that we get and want to be conveyed in our image. The summer spirit is one of evening walks through the forest, of the sound of insects flying around while the heat of the day gives the way to the coolness of the dusk and the yellow golden hues of the evening skies turn into the dark blue of the twilight. Forests know about that spirit too. It just might be a little bit harder to express it on an image, that is all...Last summer, when I was driving along a backroad, I saw from the corner of my eye a really magical scene indeed. As the sun was setting after a long day, the last rays of light penetrated through a dense pine forest, setting ablaze all the trunks with an unbelievable golden light. The contrast was massive, leaving just thin ribbons of light floating in the middle of the darkness. I stopped dead the car and run with the panoramic camera in hand. I just had the time to take an exposure, a couple of minutes later the sun was gone and the forest turn into a conventional bunch of vegetal verticals...That image would make a strong summer image. Ticked, that one.

Then, just the spring scene was missing...Spring...but no image sprang into my mind (no pun intended!). I had been waiting all these months to shoot the forests in the spring, but till now I had not yet had the chance. Too sunny days, leaves still not totally out at this latitude,...That one was missing. Luckily, shooting film is still not as unflexible as digital photography has made us think. The last sunday, the perfect conditions presented themselves: damp day, relatively still, all leaves out. Time to get lost into the forest again. I grabbed my large format panoramic camera and got into a nearby forest where I had selected a composition a year before. There they were, standing proud, some of the most "photogenic" beech trees of the region. I could take some long exposures of several minutes getting the most of some lulls in the breeze, develop them on monday, scan them by monday evening and post them online the very same night. The porftolio was over: four images, four seasons, four complementary colours (red, yellow, green, blue), different qualities of light, ...The magic of the forests, throughout the year, into one collection.

I hope you enjoy it. From my part, I took an insane pleasure making this...

Thanks for reading and great light to you all,