Looking for it to work…


BH Looproadbirches1

Every time I drive along the Loop Road in Acadia National Park, my eyes are drawn to this stand of birch trees, and I just know a photograph is buried in there somewhere. I stop and try to compose a photograph maybe one in every three times I pass this spot, but to date I’ve not been able to come away with a composition I’m entirely satisfied with. Looking at these photographs, I’m thinking that maybe I need to get a little tighter? I find the distinctive white bark on the skinny but strong trees quite remarkable, and for me, the dark shadows in the forest add a much-needed element of depth to the scene. Although I’ve tried again and again to make it work, I’m still not thrilled about what I’ve been able to create from here. Certain scenes are more challenging than others to photograph in a personally meaningful way, and in instances like this, I wonder if I’m just trying too hard to make it work, when perhaps there isn’t something there after all. Oh well… I bet the next time I’m driving along the Loop Road I’ll stop once again… and who knows, maybe one day I’ll figure this place out after all!

BH Looproadbirches2


29 thoughts on “Looking for it to work…

  1. David, I love your silver birch trees running along the side of Loop Road. It just makes the reader see it from the writers eyes and see it as he (you) does (do)that is real talent and I appreciate you sharing it with us it means a lot to me. I look forward every day to a new adventure as only you can tell. Kat

  2. This reminds me of when I was young and so into fashion. I would get the idea for a certain look in my head and search fervently for each piece of the ensemble. Its hard for reality to compete with imagination; hard but not impossible.

  3. I’ve taken one or two photos of our Aspen up here…very similar to your Birch. I agree that the upshot gives good results, as does finding the “eye” marks on the bark…sometimes close-up is good, too.

  4. Grandpa

    You know that I just like scenes in your photos without knowing why I like them. I see from your comment today about depth in a photo being important. I will look for that the next time. What else?

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Grandpa. Yeah… depth is one of those things that sometimes helps make a composition more interesting. Placing things near and far (for example, a large rock in the foreground and Otter Cliffs in the distance) creates a path that helps guide the viewer through the scene.

    • David Patterson

      Thanks for the kind words Ali, they are very much appreciated. I checked out your site… I love the way you photograph things that are important to you. I think that’s always a key ingredient of good photography… photographing things you enjoy/love will always result in more interesting and more meaningful images. Keep making photographs and telling stories 🙂

  5. I know this spot well! I got some good results in these groves using black n white, slower shutter speeds, and close-ups in some early morning light. The slower shutter speed let the light wash through the tree trunks so it gave the illusion of movement. I will eagerly await your return! 🙂

    • David Patterson

      Next time I’m down I’ll definitely get a little closer and see what I can do. I’m also wondering if there might be some nice color in behind these trees in the fall that would create an earthy toned backdrop to the bark.

  6. Oh, I relate to that feeling of knowing there is something more to a scene, that you can get something out of it if you keep trying. It’s a process that is so enjoyable, going back and looking again and again. Finding the right light sometimes…

    • David Patterson

      Agreed on the process being enjoyable. I don’t get frustrated with the process, just more curious about the possibilities.

  7. Hi David,
    I definitely like the b&w suggestion, unless it’s autumn! Try to take the image from less of a “front on”perspective so that you incorporate some sort of leading line. One way to do this is to find a group of the trees with one tree sort of acting as the ship’s prow with the others forming the wake or the curve of the hull. You don’t need to include the grass in front, but include the foliage of the trees. Or come at it from the side and use the grass as another element that leads the eye.

    The important thing is to just hang out with the trees and they will lead you.

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Liz… some great advice about composition that I’ll definitely try, and couldn’t agree more about hanging out with the trees – thanks 🙂

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