Light and shade

I find dappled light quite difficult to work with. Our trail Monday and Tuesday was lit by wonderful light. However as we walked into the wooded area the trees and bushes start to break up the uniform golden bath and create sharp contrasts of honey and black treacle. Very sweet but not necessarily good for photography. Even if the insect or flower is not itself in dappled light the surrounding leaves or tree trunks can be and they create distracting highlights, pulling the eye away or leaving you with unpleasant blown highlights. There is a limit to how much you can crop these out sometimes.

I try to find subjects that do not suffer from the dappler effect and often isolate areas that might almost be abstract. Here is a tree trunk section:

Bark tones

I just called it Bark Tones in honour of Lulu.

I love to see lichens growing prolifically. These are good bio-indicators. I took this extract from

Lichens are widely used as environmental indicators or bio-indicators. If air is very badly polluted with sulphur dioxide there may be no lichens present, just green algae may be found. If the air is clean, shrubby, hairy and leafy lichens become abundant. A few lichen species can tolerate quite high levels of pollution and are commonly found on pavements, walls and tree bark in urban areas. The most sensitive lichens are shrubby and leafy while the most tolerant lichens are all crusty in appearance.

I confess I get confused between lichens, pure algae, mosses, liverworts etc. But hopefully that won’t detract from the visual enjoyment of this specimen.LichensFinally, as all woods contain little people, I had a go at photographing their umbrellas. Sadly this was much more difficult than I had planned because they were almost at ground level. My knees got me down there but when it came to getting me back upright or adjusting my position, well, I needed some WD40. As I remarked to John, what I need is a right angle viewfinder. Perhaps Father Christmas will bring me one.FungiI have wanted to try this sort of shot for a while but what I really need to find is the same sort of arrangement on a nice elevated bank so I can photograph at eye level. Such a shame it didn’t really work. I am however as happy to blog about the misses as much as the hits and leave you, the juke box jury to press the ‘miss’ button. I shall be eagerly watching the Observatory forecast over the next few days hoping that the temperatures drop a little and the humidity is less draining.






14 thoughts on “Light and shade

  1. Are “Bark Tones” available for my iPhone?

    For the last shot I usually lay on my side and look through the Live View as I am sure you do also. And, like you, it is very hard for me to get up again. I need some help from the forest little people you speak of.

  2. Lulu must be thrilled with the Bark Tones. Interesting about lichens being good indicators of the environment and pollution. I shall be on the look out for shrubby and hairy specimens from now on – speaking of which Irishman has just stepped through the door 😉

  3. Love lichens, so much better than camellias. I can still get up but only just, depending on how long I have been horizontal. Not surprised Lulu likes barking shots. Seriously though, another treat for the eyes from our Andrew. Thank you for your generous spirit in sharing so many wonderful photos.

    • Thank you Gerard. I think lichens may catch on. If only I called them something trendy like Or for the French maybe an iFern.

  4. I really like the bark tone – and your comment on the dappler effect, very funny.
    Because of the ups and downs of photographing fungi I have opted mainly for my version of the toy – the Sony – its has a pretty good viewing screen which can be tilted 90 degrees from vertical. So I can actually place the camera on the ground by the subject and look down onto the screen. Even lying flat with the DSLR viewfinder I find it difficult to get really down – until I see the results 😦

    • Ah! You noticed the dappler effect. Very gratifying, Rod. I wish I had understood it when I was doing o level physics. I think I might have had better grades if I’d submitted this photo. I think I may need to have knee replacement at some stage. No idea what to replace them with. I wonder what’s available on the NHS.

  5. The “bark-less” photo is very pretty. Wonderful natural colors that would be very difficult to replicate in a painting. I love the mushrooms or fungi. That one is very nice. And yes the dappler effect is something that I contend with almost everytime I am photogaphing anything in my yard. Dogs, plants, or butterflies. The light does need to be just right or there is a problem.

    Three years ago, I tripped on a long scarf while scurrying in my house to get out the door. I thought that I had ruined my knee but it so much better with pampering, glucosomine, and gentle exercise.

    I really hope that you do not eventually need surgery on your knee. Everybody says that is a torture.

  6. Whaaaat – already fungi…!!! Agree, getting lower would have made a cleaner background possible. Well… the next time 😉

    Bark tone…. cool 🙂 =D

  7. Gorgeous shots Andrew, and I’m glad to see you’re still loving the lichens! I think you have sparked a new-found fascination with them in me. I love your little umbrellas, and I quite like the unfocused ones in the background. I noticed your watermark…I guess that debate got answered! It’s very subtle, doesn’t detract at all. Well done.

  8. Wonderful set of images! Yes, dappled light can either be incredible or incredibly frustrating…it just depends.

    In my part of the world, it’s dry enough that lichens stand alone…I do love all the colors they come in though!

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