Adam Burton Photography

Vinney Ridge, New Forest

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Some things naturally compliment each other.  And so it is with foggy mornings and pine forests.  When I anticipate a foggy or misty morning I head to one of two locations; high up on a hill or deep in a pine wood.  I will cover the misty hill tops in a future Viewpoint, but for now I will focus on foggy pine woods. 

Anticipating a foggy morning I headed into the New Forest, an area not short of coniferous plantations.  For this trip I headed right into the centre of the National Park to Vinney Ridge, a car park surrounded by many pine inclosures.

As I arrived I was pleased to see the trees immersed in dense fog.  I headed into the wood and wandered for a few minutes, searching for compositions.  As often is the case with landscape photography I wandered with a sense of urgency; while foggy mornings can seem to last forever, it is surprising how quickly the fog can evaporate when it notices your camera being set upon its tripod!

I was searching for something slightly out of the ordinary.  Shooting pine woods in foggy conditions seems to be a popular choice amongst photographers and for good reason.  Fog enhances the orderly vertical lines of the trunks and simplifies a composition by replacing dark backgrounds with soft white/grey smokescreens.  I wanted to capture this but also add something slightly different to the composition.

I soon found what I needed.  Among the huge pine trees, a young sapling was growing, stretching up to try and reach his family of giants.  Favouring a telephoto lens composition to compress the trees, I attached my 150mm lens to my Canon EOS 5D.  I circled around the viewpoint, keeping the tree in my composition while searching for the most appealing background.  This can be a challenging part of photographing woodlands as you can literally point the camera in any direction.  As I moved around I was looking for two things; to try and separate as many tree trunks as possible from each other while keeping the sapling away from any dark trunks.  Furthermore, with the ever moving fog blowing throughout the wood, I wanted to point the lens in a direction where the fog was still thick enough to simplify the background.

After finding an effective viewpoint, I set my camera onto my tripod and began fine tuning my composition.  Using wide-angle lenses are second nature to me, so I always need to think more when using telephotos.  To keep the composition simple and unusual I decided to go against my natural instinct and completely obscure the ground from the frame.  I also wanted to include the background juvenile pine tree completely in the shot. With the 150mm being a prime lens, I needed to step backwards somewhat to achieve both these objectives.

As soon as I reached a suitable position I took several unfiltered exposures before the drifting fog completely changed the background and feel of the composition.  I moved to several different parts of the woodland looking for different subjects to photograph, but by now the fog was fading fast.  Soon after I packed up and headed home to review the mornings work on the computer.

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