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I have spent dozens of hours hiking the different official and ‘unofficial’ trails through a local cross country ski area called White Butte Trails in Saskatchewan. I can’t overstate the value of really getting to know an area when the goal is nature or landscape photography. It is the relationship you develop with a place that allows you to photograph scenes like this one.
I came across this tree several months before photographing and logged into the back of my mind for early spring when there were no leaves or snow. I hiked out when there was a nice flat light from some overcast skies that was allowing just enough ambient light to provide depth and contrast. I struggled for a while finding the right angle on this scene. A little higher and the sky would have popped into my scene, creating distracting bright spots. A little too wide and other branches began entering the scene. A little lower and the grasses below became too much of a focal point. I finally settled on this 16×9 composition.
I loved how unique this tree was when compared with its counterparts behind. It almost felt to me like it was reaching out to the edges of the frame and trying to “close the door”. I enjoyed how it alone was in directional light while the trees behind were in shade and reflecting a bit of soft blue. It wasn’t until I began post-processing that I noticed the red leaves on the right side that provided the perfect balance of colour in the photograph. This is one of my favourite photographs of 2019.
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