There’s something really special and serene about snow falling in complete silence. If the forest is also shrouded in fog, this makes for one of the most serene places I have ever been. When there is no wind and the forest is far enough from any human settlement, you can almost hear the snow falling.
I remember I walked trough the forest for a couple of hours taking foggy winter pics, and because my battery was getting low from the cold and night was approaching, I decided to turn back. Only then the snow started falling and I was mesmerized by the dreamy winter wonderland. I used a 35 mm lens and used a f6,3 aperture to have the group of of trees in the foreground in focus yet still have the snow flakes from the front and back blurry enough to make the whole setting more dreamy. I decided to make the white balance colder to better match what I saw that evening.
It’s one of my favorite winter photos. It brings together elements that I love: winter, fog, the forest, and has that “dreamyness” and atmosphere that I love to see in a photo.
There are a lot of hidden valleys that are still unexplored near the place that I live. I often go trough these wild valleys in search of natural wonders and inspiration, and there isn’t a single time I come back without finding something really interesting and worth photographing. You can’t access these places with any kind of transportation, there isn’t any cell phone signal and even GPS signal because of the huge steep cliffs that border the various valleys, so these places feel really remote and wild. Because of this isolation, they have managed to remain pretty much uncharted. It is always a relief to explore such places.
This is a photo take on the same tour as the macro shot here. The river that shaped these rocks and formed beautiful steep gorges still flows today and has a permanent stream of water, so advancing is really difficult. There are also fallen trees and branches that are obstructing the way, not to mention the narrow path that someone exploring this place has to follow. I remember that the first time I was there I really wanted to go further and see new wonders awaiting me around the corner, but the water was just too high so I had to call it a day. I returned many times and every time I managed to go a bit further than the last time, finding some of the most giant caves and some of the most beautiful gorges I have ever seen. Sometimes it’s difficult to come back in one piece, and I have found myself stranded on narrow steep pieces of land because of the rain, but nothing beats the feeling of discovering new things even after years of exploration.
The photo above was taken on an autumn day, the leaves not quite fallen from the trees. The human figure you see is my brother, with whom I was in quite a few risky situations due to our desire to uncover the secrets of this valley. I needed a human silhouette so the viewer would get a feeling of the size of the cliffs, so I told him to go forward and used an ultra-wide angle lens to capture this shot. I used a f 11 aperture to have everything in focus, and the shortest shutter speed that the light and my lens allowed. This kind of photos are usually used for environmental campaigns and also – like many of my photos – for horror movies posters. I think it has something to do with the unknown, the mystery of such photos, because they give a sense that you don’t know what may come after the next corner. I really like this feeling too, so I will be taking and posting more images from this place in the future. The “hidden valley” series is always expanding.
Although I usually like muted tones, earth colors and atmospheric landscapes, I also enjoy looking for special patches of color in nature, small details that can be easily omitted by the naked eye. I like searching for interesting colors and textures in nature and then capturing them with my macro lens. I won’t get too technical, I use a 90 mm macro lens that does it’s job quite well. Looking closely I can find subjects that evade my sight when I am out to find bigger landscapes.
The photo above was taken when I was exploring a very interesting and hidden valley, while resting for a couple of minutes. What caught my eye was the really thick spider web with sand grains in it, but I realized I was looking at something interesting when I spotted the colors in the background, so I spend some time trying to capture something unique, and I am really glad I did because this is one of the most appreciated abstract photos of mine. It manages to have a strange atmosphere even though the colors are happier than usual.
I think it’s the micro-cosmos that captivates me in these kinds of images. It’s all about scale. Our world is huge compared to the tiny micro world, but tiny when compared to the immensity of space, just a sand grain caught in the web of time and space. This is why I like these small worlds I encounter on my journeys.
I was thrilled to find out that one of my images is used as the basis for Chris Brown’s new single “Grass Ain’t Greener” cover art. The image was probably sold trough one of the agencies I work with, so I had no direct contact with the artist or his staff, but it’s nice to see a mainstream artist opting for such mysterious and atmospheric imagery.
My photos are used a lot for album covers, posters and artworks, but I think Chris Brown is the most known artist that used one of my photos for his artwork. Maybe I will write sometime about the other artists that used my images for their artwork.
Taking a look trough my portfolio, I notice that a lot of the photos that are best sellers have just a glimpse of the human form. People are rarely present in my photos, and when they are they are just small silhouettes part of a much bigger picture of a bigger landscape. I think I do this to give a sense of size in my photos, but also to put the human form in contrast with the vastness of nature, the grandeur of it all.
Take for example the photo above. The silhouette of the man is much further from the tree, so I played a bit with proportions, but this helps give a sense of how big the forest really is. Plus it is a nice subject, visible but with no details, and left for the imagination to think about what it really is. Being just a lonely silhouette it makes the photo more powerful and one can almost feel the cold of the night approaching in late autumn. The mysterious atmosphere that the fog gives certainly helps a lot, and it seems like the character is walking in a fantasy enchanted forest. The day I took this photo was really cold and it was drizzling. I didn’t have a lot of time because everything was getting wet and the light was falling fast, but I used my trusty wide angle lens and a tripod and told my brother to go in the distance so I have a silhouette in the frame. I don’t usually like staged shots, and this is about as far as I go with them, but I think here it was important to have the small silhouette in the frame. The contrasting fallen leaves give a nice touch to a late autumn photo. Looking at the final result, I really think I managed to capture the atmosphere and coldness of that evening, and people who have not been there and see the photos tell me the same, so I have achieved what I wanted.