It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog, I guess I’m still trying to figure out what direction it should take. The Stocksy Top 5 of the Month is a section that gets a lot of attention and some of my best photos are available for licensing at Stocksy United, so I’m definitely going to continue this section, even though I’ll most likely be a little late, like this month, because we’re already pass the middle of April.
About 20 photos were added to my Stocksy collection of premium stock photography so it was really hard narrowing them down to only 5. I’ve chosen a bit of everything: strange night forest photography, symmetry on moody empty fields, surreal cave photography, misty spring morning landscapes and a strange forest detail. Here are my Top 5:
This winter wasn’t particularly rich in snow or very cold for that matter. There were a few photo opportunities but with snow only lasting a couple of days at a time, we had to plan everything really well. It was also the case with our last trip, one close to home but higher in altitude. The day before it was raining heavily and we kept watching the forecast as well as the weather outside. At night the rain turned to a heavy snow storm. By morning everything was covered with a thick layer of snow. The roads were bad but we managed to get up in the forest mountain not far from home, now covered in snow and fog.
The higher we went, the thicker the fog became. We kept going through the fog and it started snowing again. The blizzard had knocked down a lot of giant old trees and there was a strange sense of danger lurking through the snow covered forest. Later into the day we reached a clearing near the top of the mountain just as light began to fall and everything was turning blue. The gentle hum of the wind in the trees was the only sound we could hear and the atmosphere was really heavy. No human in sight other than us, no man-made sound, everything seemed so far away and muted. It was almost like we were hearing some sort of white noise. Lonely trees with strange shapes grew out of the snow like antennas to the sky getting lost in the fog. Everything was overwhelming. Got as many images as we could before the light started to fall. When out photographing it is easy to get lost in time, but as the night drew closer we had to get back on lower grounds and back into this world.
For the next couple of days after something surreal and intense like this, everything seems to be at a lower volume and running at a slower speed for me. Maybe this is the consequence of visiting another world. I hope the gate opens again soon.
It’s time for the Stocksy United Top 5 of the month – this time for November. I’ve had a hard time choosing them but I did it in the end with a bit of delay. There is a bit of everything here: adventure under dramatic skies, rare natural phenomenons, extreme cold, beautiful natural conditions coming together perfectly to highlight the beauty of autumn and magical nights under starry skies. Got your attention? Then here are My Stocksy top 5 for the last month:
This image is one of the favorites of people who visit my website and browse through the categories, so I thought I’d write a bit about how it was made. The timing should be great too – what better time to write about a dark scary image than Halloween?
Although it was June, the weather had been particularly cold so the weather conditions were great for mysterious foggy forest shots. Me and my brother had been wandering all day through the forest. The weather changed a lot of times from sun to rain so this brought a lot of opportunities. We ran like mad searching for light rays to capture and hid everything away looking for shelter when rain came pouring down. This happened throughout the day so later in the day we were pretty tired.
After chasing sun rays through the forest we reached a part that we didn’t know really well and were amazed to find some giant old trees with big twisted roots. It was really one of those special moments, one in which we felt our steps were guided there. One of those old trees stood out and I knew we had to make something special with it.
I’ve mounted my tripod in a strange position so I was afraid the camera was going to fall over, but it was worth it. I used a wide angle lens at 19 mm, an aperture of f/8 and an exposure of 1/3 seconds because the woods were really dark at that time. I had used hands before in photos to create a creepy surreal atmosphere and to make it seem like some kind of monsters were coming out from the ground. This time I used the hands of my brother coming from the sides of the frame and to the center. The final shot is a composite of 4 photos to make up for the fact that I didn’t have so many “hands models”. I love the darkness, the surreal feel and the overall mood of this photo.
That place really felt surreal and special so I am glad people like the image. For those of you who want to license dark scary surreal images, you can find it exclusively here: https://www.stocksy.com/1334681
The month of August was really prolific in terms of accepted images on Stocksy – 28 of them got added to the Stocksy collection and it was really hard to choose only five of them. I did it in the end, and I hope you like them as much as I do. These are my Stocksy top 5 picks for the month of August:
As people who follow my work know, a picturesque look is what I try to achieve, together with a special mood and atmosphere, and it seems that the folks at Shutterstock got that too. I am andreiuc88 on Shutterstock. Got that nickname in 2009 and didn’t change it. Here’s what they had to say on it:
“Many photographs seem like paintings because they effortlessly evoke a complex mood or feeling with just a glance. Such is the case with this eerie photo of a desolate pathway in a dense forest in Transylvania, Romania. The combination of the fog, sparse flowerbeds, and low light make for a creeping sense of dread.
The effect here is not accidental – the photographer, andreiuc88, is somewhat of an expert when it comes to moody, atmospheric photography. A nature photographer based in Transylvania (the literary home of Dracula), andreiuc88 creates a variety of nightmare-inducing landscapes.”
I’ve written about photographing star trails and other types of landscapes at night before on this blog, but there is another type of night photography that I like and find really interesting – photographing deep in the woods at night, in total darkness. It’s a unique experience and I have to admit that I really feel the grandeur of nature when doing this.
This works best when the air is a bit hazy but there isn’t any thick fog. Going deeper into the woods on forest roads and then leaving it always feels a bit like the premise of a horror movie. It’s a totally different experience than in the daylight because a lot of the forest creatures are nocturnal. There are strange noises and little glowy eyes following you everywhere so imagination runs wild. Knowing that the “safety” of civilization is so far away and gets ever further makes for and interesting mix of emotions.
It was on one of these night hikes trough the forests of Transylvania that I made the photo “Apparition in Forest at Night”. As always, I was with my brother. We saw that the light from the flashlight is casting interesting shadows and tried to see how a lit silhouette would perform under such conditions. Like on all night photos I used a tripod and a wide angle lens. The problem here was that the light behind the silhouette was coming from a flashlight and was pretty low so the silhouette became blurry because of the tiny movements. I tried to keep the exposure as low as possible but still needed 50 seconds at f5,6 and ISO 400. Multiple tries later, the result was something surreal and dark that makes the mind wander. It could be a magical portal to another world, the materialization of a dark time, a ghost apparition or even an alien. It could also be a vision for the concept of spiritual enlightenment, time and space.
I caught this moment a few years ago. I got to the woods early in the morning and a deer herd kept appearing and disappearing trough the fog almost like it was watching me. I got a glimpse of them running and jumping trough the air as they appeared only as silhouettes in the magical glowy light. I saw them doing this a couple of times but they were too fast for me and the light was too dim to photograph the scene. After a few hours I was following a forest road and saw the herd standing in the middle of it. I had a short zoom lens on my camera and thought there is no way I can get the shot right. As I was approaching two of the deers started to run but one stood curiously in the middle of the road watching me. I kept taking pictures and approaching bit by bit until it ran away. I said it before – for me it’s almost like a supernatural moment when I cross paths with wild animals so I was really excited to see this scene and photograph this special moment.
I have also made it available on NatureStockPhotos.net for those of you who don’t have a Shutterstock account or don’t like the subscription model.
It was a cold December day when the weather kept changing every minute. The few inches of snow made the climb harder, but once we reached the top all was worth it. A cold wind began to blow and the clouds covered the sun again. Thick mist started rolling down from the mountains and pouring everywhere. The landscape was changing right before our eyes.
The endless pine forests were engulfed by the mist and only a few rays of light managed to break trough to them. The whole landscape got a mysterious eerie beauty that was accentuated by the fact that there was no human being in sight for miles. We could really feel lost in the enormity of the landscape.
The only sound was the one of the cold wind blowing. The rush and background noise of everyday life vanishes is replaced by a calmness that you can’t find anywhere else. It always amazes me how the mist has the capacity to transform a landscape so fast and make it almost timeless. It’s this kind of mood and atmosphere, that feeling of being lost that I (and we at PhotoCosma) try to capture and transmit trough images.
I used a 300 mm tele lens to capture what was happening around me. I was so excited of what I was seeing that I realized a lot of the shots will come out blurry so I used a tripod. It proved to be a good decision as the light was scarce. The mist kept moving and transforming so I had a lot to photograph, but as the night approached I knew we still had a long way to go back again so I stopped and stared for a few minutes. The cold, the tiredness, the fact that we would have to walk a long way trough the dark – nothing mattered. Everything was perfect.