How to Find Split-Second Composition in Woodland Photography

Do you have trouble finding comps in the woods? Over the years, I have developed a strategy that has helped me succeed. Sometimes I even see one composition next to another without even looking.

In my last forest photography vlog on YouTube, I was driving down a mountain road in deep winter conditions, looking for a parking space. On a road about 10 or 11 kilometers long, I found about fifteen amazing compositions, just while I was driving. And I found them even though I only saw them for a fraction of a second. Is it enough to find a convincing composition?

Unfortunately, it was not easy to find parking spaces with winter service early in the morning, so I was only able to visit one of the spots. To be honest, I found it quite difficult to track down the place, as the distances seem different when driving. I walked up the road to find the same perspective I had while driving. I was definitely in the right place, but I couldn’t find the composition. What happened?

The power of natural intelligence

Have you ever looked at the face of a person looking at a landscape? The eyes jump from one point to another like a chicken’s head. They seem to “scan” the landscape. It’s simply because human eyes don’t see like a camera. The angle of view that our eyes see clearly is very narrow. When we look at a landscape, the eyes see only a few fragments with sharpness, and the rest between them is blurry or missing. The final image is finally assembled in our brain.

As I drove in my car, I only saw a fraction of the scenery. I was blown away, and at first glance it looked like a finished composition. But a split second is simply not enough. We need to engage with the scene, to see more reality and less of our brain’s output, less of our fantasy.

This is how I succeed

The trick for me is not to trust what I see. I mean: don’t trust your eyes. But it’s good that we are attracted by the spots. Something was appealing, something led me to park in a parking lot with no snow service, risking getting stuck there, and I took the effort of driving several miles through deep snow to get to square. You don’t do that when there’s no chance of being rewarded with a great photo, do you?

I don’t trust what I see, but I trust what I feel. When I’m drawn to something and only have a split second to look at it, which doesn’t allow me to engage in it any deeper, I just go back to it without any expectation and try to find out what it was. was attracted.

In this case, it was those incredibly cute baby evergreens on the ground and the snow cover of the barks of all the bigger trees from a snowstorm the night before, all the textures and that enchanting softness in the distance from the snowfall. Based on this, I was able to create fantastic compositions while simply enjoying being in nature.

Is it possible to find a composition in just a fraction of a second? Usually not, but in such a short time it’s possible to know if it’s worth coming back, to think about comps that are different from what you’ve seen before but support the story you’ve seen. Many more tips and the whole adventure are revealed in the video above.

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