It’s been a long time since my last post. Hope you all had a wonderful end of the year and hope your new year is off to a good start. I’m off to a new start and lately at PhotoCosma we’ve been experimenting with some new things and also expanding some good old concepts that have become classics for us. With PhotoCosma entering it’s 10th year in 2018 we want to keep pushing things forward and experiment different things that add up to the atmospheric and surreal nature photography that you know and love.
The way things are, it’s always a journey into the unknown. But I am convinced that the knowledge we’ve acquired in the past 10 years will guide us forward into the night and all the pieces will fall into place.
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:
The last month was really hot where I live. There wasn’t much to do in the day as long as photography goes because the temperatures were (and still are) unbearable so I took this opportunity to do some night photography and also test a new piece of gear that I’ve got.
A moonless night followed so the timing was perfect. Me and my brother have some places that we have done night photography before but no two nights are the same. The thrill of night photography can’t be matched by any other type of photography, maybe because in the dark we feel so exposed. We looked for interesting trees and angles at daytime because once the light drops it’s really hard to move and find subjects for the images. Some of the photos resulting from this shoot will probably surface on this blog too at a latter time, but it was the photo above, “The Visitor” that first caught my attention.
There was orange light that came from a nearby town and that was polluting the night sky so there was no way it would get better no matter how long I waited, so I decided to use it to my advantage. The strange eerie orange glow still let some stars be visible so I placed the subject in the center of the frame so it would almost be framed by this light. I used the flash of light to make the silhouette visible and it seemed to me that this looked like an alien apparition scene. I used and aperture of f/4 with ISO 3200 at 20 mm at 30 seconds so the stars would appear as points for this one.
The blue light adds a bit of contrast and makes me think of Sci-Fi, as does the field and stars. I love the mystery that comes with this one, it’s a great addition to my night photos.
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 dug up this winter photo from the archives, as it was made in 2008. I always liked winter because to me it’s the most special season of them all because it has snow and you can’t really beat that 🙂 Of course that shooting in the snow and cold makes things more difficult (more on that in a future post), but it’s totally worth it. I am usually searching for dreamy scenes and winter is great for them, so it’s only natural that I have a lot of dreamy winter photos.
This photo was taken at the beginning of my serious photographic endeavour, and it struck me after some years that the elements that I search for in a photo are there: the dreamy scene, a natural setting, the human element that gives a sense of scale/lost/awe. It has an eerie lost atmosphere to it, and it seems that the tree is almost in the middle of nowhere. It is a great way to attract the viewer and make him remember the photo, because at the end of the day it is a feeling that makes an image special and this is why I like atmospheric nature photography, and this is why I search for the scenes that make you feel something.
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.
I really like taking photos in the night because it’s such a surreal and out of this world experience. I have posted before about the thrills of night photography here.
The photo above is made using a really long shutter speed – 60 minutes, so that the stars become star trails. This is due to the movement of the earth and the fact that the Northern Star (Polaris) is realtively still, so the whole night landscape is eerie, strange and beautiful. I’ve added a light source and a silhouette that could be the one of an alien so everything has the grandeur of the cosmos.