It is true you know, behind every image you and I take there is a story, a thought, a feeling, an emotion and a reason we click the shutter.
I want to talk about the image of the bamboo forest that I recently took on a trip to Kyoto. I have just started my BW landscapes project and was on the hunt for some beautiful scenery. We got to the forest early, this is Japan and it is worth making the effort to get anywhere as early as you can because of the crowds. I had read that the light can be quite dark in the forest so I had my tripod with me just incase, I didn’t check whether I was allowed to use it or not, but hey it’s better to apologise after the fact instead!
So it is a short walk through the forest maybe 15 minutes max, and there is only one section that is proper thick forest. I walked ahead of my kids and my hubbie and walking alone really helped me get a feel for the place. (or as alone as you can get in Japan, I was still stopped and had my photograph taken with a load of Japanese students along the way lol). When my family caught up with me I was at the entrance to the thicker forest section and I used my kids, yes I use my kids a lot, to take photographs and see what it is that I like and don’t like about the surroundings.
As you can see cute kids! The light was dappled and it seemed to head into darker light further ahead, that told me that the if I was at the top of the hill looking back it would be into light. So we kept walking. Due to the amount of people everywhere, no matter how patient you were there was always going to be someone in the image so I tried a few shots where I tried to isolate the forest. Although I liked some of these shots they didn’t give me the feeling I was after.
We kept walking, my patient family and me, until we reached the top of the hill. From here looking down into the light was magic. I loved the light at the end of the tunnel, I loved the three dark trees mixed in with the bamboo, I loved the line of the walkway through the image. This was the spot I wanted and this was where I got that ‘feeling’. This for me was the forest. I still had the problem of people, so I took out the tripod and adjusted my settings so that I got to the slowest shutter speed that I could, I was hoping to remove the people completely. I tried and tried again and again. I had to overexpose to get a slower shutter and still the nature of the place was such that people would stop and look and stop and take their own photographs so I kept getting blurred people in the images and that was not what I was after.
Patience and flexibility are two things I think are blessings, especially in photography! I never did manage to remove all the people from the shots but I did manage to get a shot that I preferred and I am glad that the person is in it. You cannot recognise the person as his/her back is to us and they seem to be walking out of the forest into the light, they are in the perfect position to add a sense of mood to the image, and as well as that they help to give a sense of scale. So in the end I ended up better off and happier with the image then I would have been had I managed to get an image with no one in it.
And then a stream of taxis drove through the middle – seriously!!!!! And they dropped a whole load of people on the path so it was time to pack the tripod away!
The final image, although I was aiming for a black and white shot for my project I actually prefer it in colour. I cannot seem to break my love affair with colour! It is not the best shot ever taken of the bamboo forest and it of course has it’s flaws but it is mine and therefore I am happy!