Taunus Hills, Hessen, Germany by Howard Steen

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Picture Story

I count myself fortunate to be living in a town nestled up against the southern edge of the Taunus hills, a pleasantly wooded massif rising to almost 900 metres elevation to the north of Frankfurt. We are surrounded by fairly dense mixed forest on three sides and, even after having lived here for over thirty years, I am still finding new areas and trails to explore.

Winter here has always been a special time to experience this playground and over past years I’ve enjoyed getting out on cross country skis and gliding along the winding trails just letting the snowy landscape flash by. But, it has to be said, that this is not the ideal way to find good photographic motifs. However, something has now changed with the winters here and we are just no longer getting the level of snow cover needed to make skiing a rewarding activity.

I am therefore spending much more time exploring on foot and that has allowed me to leave the trails more easily and to give the task of finding good compositions the attention it requires. Early this winter, while descending a steep trail on foot, my eye was caught by the way the frost was delicately picking out the lower twigs on a distant tree. There is no way I would have spotted this tree had I been on skis. I found something quite mesmerising in the form of this tree, it was just so different in appearance to all of its neighbours.

I learned from this this experience that finding a suitable composition cannot be rushed and requires a single-minded approach and very keen observation. As a result of this I have consciously slowed down when I go out with my camera. I have found myself taking in more of the form and details which present themselves in the dense forest. I still think it is quite a challenging and sometimes frustrating place to do photography in but I was a little more encouraged after this day out.

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