Tips from a Pro: Using Trees for Dramatic Landscape Photography

“Landscape photographers have a love affair with trees,” notes Charlie Waite, the celebrated British photographer whose scenic studies over many years reveal his deep reverence for the subject. Here he tells us about his distinctive approach to picturing trees in the landscape

Valensole, France.

Valensole, France.

Valensole, France. Rows of lavender lead the eye to a lone tree in near-silhouette. Charlie Waite used a Hasselblad 500CM with 50mm f/4 Carl Zeiss Distagon lens to make the exposure on Fujichrome Velvia 50.Charlie Waite
Valensole, France.

Valensole, France.

Valensole, France. Rows of lavender lead the eye to a lone tree in near-silhouette. Charlie Waite used a Hasselblad 500CM with 50mm f/4 Carl Zeiss Distagon lens to make the exposure on Fujichrome Velvia 50.Charlie Waite
Buttermere, Cumbria, U.K.

Buttermere, Cumbria, U.K.

Buttermere, Cumbria, U.K. A shaft of sidelight cutting through the mist defines a lone tree against the mountain. The photographer used a Nikon D700 with 24–120mm f/4G AF-S Nikkor lens to make the exposure of 1/60 sec at f/16, ISO 200.
Lot, France.

Lot, France.

Lot, France. The light above suggests a wine bottle. Waite used an 80mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Planar lens on a Has­sel­blad 500CM with Fujichrome Velvia 50 film.
Damme, Belgium.

Damme, Belgium.

Damme, Belgium. Trees fade into mist for the shot, center, made with a Nikon D3S and 24–120mm f/4G AF-S Nikkor lens, at full tele for mild com­­- pression. Exposure: ¼ sec at f/22, ISO 200.
Épernay, France.

Épernay, France.

Épernay, France. Waite used Fujichrome Velvia 50 film (as usual) to capture the saturated fall reds in this tree avenue, above. He shot with the Hasselblad with the 50mm f/4 Carl Zeiss Distagon lens.Charlie Waite
Amiens, France

Amiens, France

Amiens, France. Waite used a polarizer on a 50mm f/4 Carl Zeiss Distagon lens to reduce reflections from the water. Exposure was on Fujichrome Velvia 50 in a Hasselblad 500CM body.Charlie Waite
Ticino Valley, Italy

Ticino Valley, Italy

Ticino Valley, Italy. A stand of trees contrasts with the field’s golden tones. Same equipment and film as in the Amiens image.Charlie Waite
Ronda, Andalucia, Spain

Ronda, Andalucia, Spain

Ronda, Andalucia, Spain. Overhead light creates a near-abstraction. Same camera and film, this time with 250mm f/5.6 Carl Zeiss Sonnar lens (roughly 140mm in 35mm).Charlie Waite