Observing the frigid grey skies and experiencing the cold air chill on my brow was enough to make me move hastily from the car. The symphony of setting up my tripod was now a masterful art, and with my camera mounted, I could turn my attention to the main event. Awaiting a colour pallet to filtrate the sky, I stood in amazement. Snow had fallen over the course of the last days, creating a perfectly white soft powdery blanket over my local habitat. The Ore Mountains, a rural setting in Eastern Germany, normally don’t offer the opportunity for creating on-point masterpieces. In winter, however, this is different.
Germans are known for their simple, clean lines when it comes to design, and as a landscape photographer, I adopt the same principles. The connection with the environment coupled with nature’s symmetry is a recipe for a photograph. I would say I’m obsessed with structure and composition. Moreover, I think I have a sort of reductionist mind. This framework really determines my photography, and constrains it at the same time.
After photographing the beautiful scenery, I had time to reflect upon my outing. The components in this collection present a simplistic yet complex intertwine of nature and the elements. Take, for example, the photo I titled “Lone Tree”: what caught my eye at the time was beyond the obvious isolation. If you look carefully, you can see the tree’s left windward side remains frozen, whereas the right seems void of white. While I cannot capture the wind, I certainly managed to photograph its element and impact on the tree. These small things are important to me when creating artwork.
Turning my attention to what I call ‘Snow Soldiers’; I was fascinated by the spruce trees’ matchstick-like repetitive formation. Even at a distance, they could be mistaken for protecting the mystery of the forest behind them. The position of the front row of the conifer forest in the landscape would mean I could adopt different photographic techniques to capture their beauty.
First, while the light was beginning to warm, I wielded my Fujinon GF100-200mm lens to marry my capable GFX 50R Medium Format camera. In anticipation of the next glimpse of colour, I rested the lens to the widest position and turned my attention to timing. Moments passed, watching how the elements constantly changed the scenery. The warm rays of sunlight seemed to dance, embossing the mystic low-cloud and fog that engulfed the forest.
Not to miss a perfect opportunity, I kept my aperture at f11 and recomposed. My new shutter speed was minutely faster as, by now, some of the warm light had passed. However, it didn’t matter as the scene through my viewfinder was perfect enough to be brilliant without the glow. Filling the frame at 160mm, the isometric pines felt light, and they belonged on top of a cake. Their icing outlined each branch as they descended to the left of the frame. The sky added the perfect hue of colour to ensure the contrasting nature of the branches stood proud. There was a sense of stillness in the image I had longed to capture. This is why I was out here in the cold.
Realising how fortunate I was, I hiked further into the landscape. The light began to unveil the surrounding beauty further. Turning my attention to one of the highest points, I noticed a large frosty tree. Its frozen limbs were locked as they clambered toward the heavens. The sense of new growth was emphasised due to the sun enlightening its canopy. The golden blanket permeated on the pristine white highlights creating effervescence life in the branches above. I could only begin to imagine how this tree started in life and how many decades it stood steadfast in this environment. I’m a mere mortal compared to its lifetime.
Looking back, I find myself lucky to live in such a place. Here, I am with the beauty of nature at my doorstep. As a landscape photographer, it’s my aim to enlighten people with natures’ rich diversity many people miss. Having some downtime is more important than watching the latest television show or indulging in social media. Instead, I much rather explore my creativity and passion for the outdoors and share it with the world.
Erzgebirge, Saxony, Germany, January 2021