Photographing Trees in Winter

It’s harder than I thought.

This somewhat surprises me. They are just trees, silent and aloof, moving only when wind passes through. We see them every time we go outside. When I approach they don’t flee but pose tall and proud.

The challenge, I found, is photographing them in a way that transfers the mood I felt in their presence to the viewed photograph on screen or in print. How to transfer mood? This isn’t unique to trees as this is the essence of photography, inviting the viewer into the experience. However, the trees don’t usually have the same wow factor as a sunset, mountain, or waterfall, for example. For me, there is more of a challenge to evoke emotional reaction with an object we view as more mundane.

How to transfer the mood of trees?

Let’s briefly take a look at the following photos and see if they speak for themselves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASnow has recently fallen in the woods with dozens upon dozens of red pines. It blankets the ground, clothes the branches of all trees. But the quiet is striking. I pause my boot crunching steps and observe. Dark trunks contrast mightily against the white glare. The woods seem to contain a slight fog, but it’s the snowfall muting the landscape.

Fallen Tree
Fallen Giant

Nearby, a massive tree has taken over the ground, its limbs sprawling among the still standing community. In a grove with so many standing trees, a fallen giant is notable.

Winter Stream (2) (1 of 1)
Peaceful Winter

A stream curves through the woods, leading to a beautifully white-coated tree with dark, thin and young trunks. The power of the stream with the quiet woods is a powerfully peaceful spot.

Winter Pillars (2)
White Pillars

Tremendous contrast on these “white pillars” in a small, composed bunch. They withstand the winter conditions beautifully.

Winter Pillars
White Pillar Grove

A wider look at the grove of white trees, with a fallen comrade beneath them and some color splashing subtly behind.

Fallen (ig)

In pine alley, one small oak kneels.

Through the trees

A bit more abstract, the white path weaves through the young growth.

These pictures are a result of four outings specifically photographing trees. So tell me, after viewing the pictures above, how did I do? Did you feel the mood of any place, or were they easy to scroll past?

2 thoughts on “Photographing Trees in Winter

  1. I just scrolled right past them. 🤓 just kidding. What helps me, and what I try to do in my own blogs/posts, is to share what I was attempting to capture and the feelings/emotions as to what drew me to that particular image. I find it helpful for two reasons.

    It helps to lead the viewer to understand what was behind the reason for taking that image. Sometimes, maybe often, our viewers need to be helped along in “interpreting” images, at least from our point of view if they don’t really have any thoughts one way or another. The second reason is it helps me to remember why did I take this image? We as photographers, IMO, should be able to be ready to share when asked “why this image?”

    Enjoyed the blog and the images. Your story behind the images help me to se things from your viewpoint as well as what I see in them.


    1. I once didn’t care what others thought because it was my emotions and I wanted to do what pleases me. I have those thoughts to the degree that I must continue to photograph what means to me otherwise I’m done. But now expand to welcome others into the meaning. Sometimes, I explain thoroughly and sometimes not. It depends on the image as I do enjoy having people add their own interpretation at times. Thanks for the comment Stephen (Steve preferred)?


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