De Manteling, Zeeland, The Netherlands by Dion van den Boom

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Picture Story

Not being too fond of the feeding festivities during the Christmas days, me and a good friend of mine and also a photographer decided to head the coast of Zeeland in The Netherlands for some Christmas shooting. The weather wasn’t that interesting but it’s always good to be out in nature.

The sky was mostly clear and we were there during the day. This resulted in photos being visually pretty crowded without a real good point of interest. It’s a small but pretty dense forest but the trees have really interesting shapes. Apparently, these trees got their curved branches, because they were chopped down during World War II by the Germans, simply because they needed wood. I think the wind also has played its part as the forest is situated right behind the dunes.

At first, I was trying with a wide angle and simply go find a good composition with interesting shapes. It was okay, but it didn’t really satisfy me. Mostly it was too much. Then I turned to a short tele-lens to get in closer in a narrower angle to isolate the curved shapes more. Still not working for me. It was simply missing a certain atmosphere to characterize the trees, like some dense fog or a moonlit evening. That would certainly make it look spookier and give it a more eerie feel.

We both had our flashes with us, so we decided to use them in order to create some differentiation between the foreground and the rest of the trees in the background.

The white balance was deliberately set to a much cooler value and by under-exposing in combination with an off-camera flash, it pretty much of created the moonlit look we had in our mind.

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