How to Photograph the Forest
You've probably heard the expression, “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” However, in this case, the opposite might be true, “you can’t see the trees for the forest.” In other words, detail is very important in making a picture in a natural area, such as a forest.
Shoot a close-up of the plants that grow on the forest floor. This will most likely be under low light levels, so a tripod might be necessary. By concentrating first on the forest floor, begin this project by searching for interesting colors and shapes on a two-dimensional plane. You might find that interesting color in a spring flower or an autumn leaf, but sometimes it's the little things that can make for an engaging scene.
Look for interesting detail in the trunks of the tree. A close-up of a tree trunk can be a fascinating image, especially if there is something growing on the trunk, like a lichen or a fungus. First take a picture as a close-up. Then step back and try to incorporate the detail of the bark into an overall view of the forest.
Point your camera straight up toward the sky. This works best on a sunny day when there are but a few clouds in the sky. This unusual perspective can produce a different angle for a picture, especially in the fall when the colors are at a peak. Also, notice how the lighting changes during the course of a day.
Take a picture of the boughs of leaves that hang down near your eye level. Again, this is another exercise in an effort to become more aware of detail.
Find an interesting visual device that leads the viewer from the foreground to the background. This can be anything from a small stream to a walking path to a fallen log. Use this item as the center of attention, and let it take the viewer’s eye on a gentle path from foreground to background.
Learn about the different lighting conditions. Sunrise and sunset produce very subdued lighting conditions that often require a tripod. However, long exposures under these conditions can make for extraordinary intense and vivid colors. Midday lighting conditions can include sunbursts that come filtered through the forest canopy and produce visible streaks of light on the film.