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Dusk is transformational, fading light changes the impression of a landscape entirely. Colors fade, green slowly turns grey as perspective shifts and what was once the distance in a woodland view becomes fog then complete darkness. Dusks light is a fickle and delicate thing, overexposure leads to a loss of perspective, as the image looks as though it was taken in daylight, while contrast beyond a minuscule amount becomes the destroyer of subtle detail. Photographing at dusk is a pursuit of balance, expressing a scene and conveying detail and emotion while maintaining an atmosphere of realism, one that’s dusk. 

Frozen Forest
Frozen Forest

           Snow-light illuminated much of the foreground of this scene. The orderly yet chaotic atmosphere created by the lines of the Western Hemlock trees and the light of the clear cut in the background bring startling contrast and details to the scene. Notice the dead branches clinging to the straight trunks of the Hemlock's? These Hemlock trees grow densely enough that branches on the lower portions of the trunks receive so little light that the trees simply cut off their circulation leaving them to dry and fall to the forest floor. 

           Interestingly, many varieties of undergrowth in forests such as the one above, have adapted to this low light environment to such a degree that they 'burn' when exposed to direct sunlight. Sensitive undergrowth can die off in a matter of days without the shelter provided by the dense foliage of Western Cedar and Hemlock. 

Cold Silhouettes
Cold Silhouettes

           The image above provides a closer view of the trees bordering the clear cut. The fog in the background was created by heavy snowfall. Snowfall this heavy, even at minor elevations such as here is rare in British Columbia, particularly, during late February and March. The normal conditions throughout Metro Vancouver during this time of year is 3 to 4 degrees Celsius and raining, sometimes for weeks on end.

The Third
The Third

           The photo above is the third and final photo from this area of the forest this image displays the change in lighting transitioning from the bright clearing to the dense forest. Again, notice the branches protruding from the trunks of the Hemlock trees in some areas they can resemble bonsai trees.

A Stream at Dusk
A Stream at Dusk

           A view up a small forested stream, in the summer if one looks closely enough fine china plates, bowls and other dishes can be seen protruding from a bend in this creek. The tableware were likely buried or discarded over sixty years ago I suspect by a logging camp or long gone homestead.

General Tips for Photographing in Low Light

           Unless your in a hurry I recommend a tripod, this allows you to maximize the depth of field displayed in your photo without introducing the distracting noise created by operating your camera at higher ISO settings. If your in a hurry or don't have access to a tripod carefully balance your exposure, don't select too wide of an aperture or too slow of a shutter speed and stay below ISO settings that introduce noise. 

Trail Marker
Trail Marker
           Alternatively, selecting a wide aperture and carefully choosing your point of focus could prove beneficial, introducing a natural perspective and depth of field into the scene. However, this natural perspective created by introducing depth of field can vary scene by scene; what may be appropriate in one image could ruin another thus aperture and depth of field are a matter of professional judgement. For example, the image above uses depth of field but maintains a natural perspective. I carefully selected the camera's settings avoiding too slow of a shutter speed and too high of an ISO by selecting an aperture of f/5 creating a subtle shallow depth of field.

           I avoid giving specific settings because the exposure setting I used in my image worked for that lighting on that day in different lighting conditions the same settings will yield a different exposure. 


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