I’m back with another Stocksy United Top 5 of the Month – the April edition. This time it’s about mysterious dark lakes in the forest, spring pastures with trees in bloom, gorgeous autumn mountain sunsets, creepy crawlers and night photos of river under the stars. I’ve also had some photos added to the curated feed lately, more that in the past. It’s great that Stocksy is finally expanding its vision into promoting dark, ethereal, mysterious images. Here is my Top 5 for April 2018:
I’ve been an active member of One Exposure (1x.com) from 2008 and until sometime in 2012. In that time I’ve learned a lot, got frustrated a lot, saw a lot of great images, met some great people, grew up as a photographer, established my own style and when I became skilled and confident enough to know which photos of mine are good and which ones aren’t I noticed that the curation process doesn’t always work so good.
1x.com is a curated photography gallery so the level is usually higher than on any other online galleries that I saw. Only a small percentage of the photos (some say 3%, others say 5%) get accepted to be part of the gallery. That’s both good and bad. The gallery looks great and a lot of the photos they accept are extraordinary, but curation takes a great deal of subjectivism and the curators will favor and accept a certain style and category of photos. There are a lot of photos that should be accepted and aren’t, just like there are some photos that maybe shouldn’t be accepted – so the curation process is not perfect and it get’s frustrating and unfair a lot of the times.
That being said, it’s still one of the best photography galleries on the internet and the majority of time I’m glad of being a part of it. I have 17 photos that are accepted and curated on 1x.com and a total of 25 photos in my portfolio. I’m expecting these numbers to increase. I have also made my photos on 1x available as high quality fine art prints.
I’m confident that this will again be a great experience and that my images will find their place once again in one of the most interesting online galleries. I’ll let you know how this goes 😉
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.
Winter has a mysterious side matched by no other season. The fact that there are only a few hours of light might be a drawback, but for me this thing sets the right mood for the mind to imagine fantasy worlds that begin where the dark snowy woods begin, and where the roads become impassable for the vehicles.
I was out with my brother photographing the beauty of winter woods all day carefully timing everything so I wouldn’t get caught by the night as the plan was to get back to the car while the light was still enough, but just when I wanted to turn back it started snowing so I knew that I had to miss my schedule and stay a little longer. The snowflakes were falling heavily over the landscape so I took this chance and took as many photos as I could. In winter light falls fast so every minute the conditions were changing. It came to a point where I realized that it’s completely dark, so me and my brother started using our flashlights. The image of a man walking through the fog at night in the woods with snow flakes falling everywhere looked very theatrical, it was like we were seeing a movie so we had to capture this.
Using a wide angle lens and a tripod I opened aperture to f5,6 so I could have a shutter speed of 20 seconds and still have everything in focus. I used the flash multiple times to make the large snowflakes visible in the frame because otherwise they would not have been visible.
Like all the photos that remain in the mind of the viewer, this one has a special atmosphere. The man is wandering in the unknown. Anyone can make his own story out of it. Maybe the character is lost, or he is out seeking something in a haunted forest or it could even be that the silhouette belongs to a ghost or an alien. Imagination has no limit. I’m glad that a lot of people saw something in it too and made their own story.
I don’t usually capture photos of wildlife, but in my search for special moments in nature I got a glimpse of them a few times. It’s always like seeing a chimera, a ghost. I know it’s something that many never see and that I don’t see everyday. I also know that these sightings get fewer as time goes by and as we humans destroy the places that wild animals inhabit, so it becomes more and more like seeing a ghost. I feel that I am wittnessing something rare. This is why this feels a bit bittersweet to me.
I was out in the woods in winter photographing when snow started to fall. I started shooting with a tele lens to get the dreamy snowflakes in the frame, and after a couple of minutes I saw this wild deer trough the trees. It didn’t take long before it noticed me and got further and further away from me, but I managed to capture the photo above, along with others. The trees made everything even more difficult, but I like how in the end the tree trunks frame the deer and also the fact that the dark trees contrast with the snowflakes falling. It truly was a magical moment.
It seems that the folks at Stocksy appreciated this special moment too, so now it is available for licensing here.
It seems to me like the last places where you could feel truly remote and hidden from the outside world remain these mountain valleys that are only accessible by actually going up trough the water and wet rock. The sun only shines on small parts of them because of the steep cliffs and so a perfect fantasy eerie atmosphere is created. This is even more so in the evening when the light falls fast and you have to get back to the outside world before the darkness. I remember being careful not to slip on the rocks and lifting my eyes just for a second and seeing the beautiful light and reflections of the warm light shining just for a couple of moments in the dark cold valley.
I was fortunate enough to have the time to capture this image, and it truly reflects the feelings of awe that I had when seeing such great beauty. I then rushed back to the outside world with the darkness behind me engulfing everything, the only light I saw being the hazy reflection of the autumn sky in the cold water. It’s a feeling that stayed with me.
I’ve had this photo added to the curated feed recently on Stocksy.
I’m glad others like it too, because I feel that it has a special winter fairy tale atmosphere. It is a photo taken in 2012, but I couldn’t find the perfect balance when editing it until now, so it spent almost 4 years in the making.
Even tough this doesn’t happen with all my photos, I do spend a lot of time getting everything right, and getting the right feel trough a discrete enough editing. Not to mention the planning of the trip, getting there and actually taking the photos in the right conditions.
Quality does need time, unfortunately the world has less and less time for quality. Just think about how quickly a new book, a new album or a new movie gets obsolete. Everyone just wants the next one and so on. There’s too little place for soul in art nowadays.
There’s been some cold and rainy days where I live. Good for photography but really bad for the equipment and the photographer. The photo above was taken last year, on a similar cold and rainy autumn day. The raindrops flying trough the air are visible in contrast to the dark forest, and the last leaves on the branch give a sense of a late autumn. Sometimes the atmosphere is in the little details. I love the autumn rain, but I do hope the weather gets better – I had to postpone a photo tour because of it.
This moody autumn detail is available for licensing at Stocksy.