Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back Lighting

I've been noticing the aspen trees in our front yard for a few days now, and meaning to photograph them. I love the look and feel of aspen trees with their texture-y white bark, especially against a snow backdrop.

Anyway, there was a somewhat boring sunset today, but it cast a nice orange light, so I figured I'd go out and give it a try.

click to enlarge, or see it on Flickr
Aperture: f/2.6
Shutter Speed: 1/60
ISO: 80

There are a few things I'm dissatisfied about with this, but a few elements I really like. The flare wrapping around the tree is cool, and it's a nice focal point. The textures and translucent lighting of the flaky parts of the bark are nice. But the house in the background has to go. Unfortunately, this tree is on the top of a small landscaped hill, so I couldn't shoot up or I would miss the sun. Shooting down inevitably led to shooting across the street into someone's driveway with a car, or their house. I also don't like the color of the bark. It is the natural color, but it's not a color I normally associate with aspen bark. It's supposed to be white. I don't know why this is brown.

Maybe sunset lighting and white aspen bark aren't very compatible with a snow background... the snow also looks pretty blue because it's in shadow, and I can only set white balance for one thing.

All in all, an okay picture and a good learning experience.


  1. Love this shots... The flare was a nice and interesting objects... You had figured it out right... :)

  2. Have you tried cropping so that only the branch on the right is showing, moving the sun flare to the upper left third of the photo? I'm just wondering how that would look.

    I like the bark on these trees as well. I think they look especially cool with a dark background, but that doesn't happen much this time of the year.

  3. There is something about the aspen tree... I remember being with them in nature, while skiing mostly (and in Utah mostly) - they seem to have eyes that are watching. I've always been intrigued by them, and always felt comfortable in their presence. Sounds weird, but it's something about the knots in their bark that resemble eyes. I love your shot here, and I do like the flare on the right branch. The textures are beautiful, and there is a warmth with (what I assume is) the sunset.

  4. I don't think the house behind the tree is distracting - it's enough out of focus. It would be neat to try some different crops, like Steve said.

    Back lighting is something I want to play around with. I'd like to get those sun flare circles on purpose. That might have been cool in this photo.


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