Forest Photography

July 06, 2014  •  4 Comments

Earlier this week, I pulled off Spring Road in Oak Brook (a western suburb of Chicago) to capture this photograph of the woods. My car is parked just outside the left edge of the frame:

Creek in the woodsCreek in the woodsCreek in a forest near Fullersburg County Forest Preserve off Spring Road in Oak Brook, Illinois on June 10, 2014

It was the color green that attracted my eye to this scene. Whenever I take pictures in a forest, I hope for overcast conditions. The clouds diffuse and soften the light. The soft light brings out the colors. Sunny conditions introduce too much contrast--and the scene is rendered far too harsh.

For this image, I secured my camera to a tripod. Stabilizing the camera allowed me to use a long 1 second exposure. The long exposure made it possible to use the camera's base ISO of 100 for maximum image quality. It also provided the flexibility to use a narrow aperture (f/10) to maximize the depth of field. Without the tripod, I would have had to make sacrifices and compromised image quality.

I also used a cable release to trigger the shutter. The mirror was locked up as well to minimize camera shake.

I attached a circular polarizing filter to my lens. This filter minimizes reflections which helps remove the sheen from the foliage. This in turn deepens the colors throughout the image.

For those wondering if post processing plays much of a role, here's a look at the picture straight out of the camera (SOOC):

From here, I adjusted the white balance, added contrast, a vignette, applied a couple of Nik Color Efex filters and sharpened the image.


Glenn Nagel Photography
Hi Greg,
When I first viewed the woods, it appeared to me as the finished image. Often times, I think the SOOC image looks much flatter than the real scene--especially since I shoot RAW and don't apply any in-camera settings. Thanks, Glenn
Gregory Overcashier(non-registered)
When you spotted this Glenn, did the woods appear like the finished image to your eye.? Was it what your artful eye imagined it could be. The reason I ask is because it seems a long way from the SOOC image.
Glenn Nagel Photography
Nick, the only time I use an UV filter is when the front element of my lens requires protection from elements like salt or sand. Otherwise, I don't use one. I use the polarizer filter quite often...and it is a Nikon filter. I don't like stacking filters either. Glenn
hey, Glenn, what filters do you use?

Especially what UV filters. There is so much junk on the internet.. some claim, you dont need it. Others say that you are fine with Hoya filters. Some suggests with expensive glass you must use an expensive UV filter (like B+W) .

I myself have the nikkor 24-70 which is quite expensive .. and I am to lazy to do all the tests myself. So what is your opinion on UV filters?
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