How I Got the Shot: Fresh Spring Forest

Photograph by Mark Bowie

Fresh Spring Forest, Along Blue Ridge Road, North Hudson

Exposure Data:
About 1 second, f/8, ISO 50
Toyo 4×5 View Camera, Nikkor 90mm lens (35mm equivalent = ~ 27mm)

Along the remote Blue Ridge (also known as Boreas) Road, the spring forest was leafing out in an explosion of fresh colors, what I call the “pastel reciprocals of autumn.” It’s a magical time to photograph, before the leaves obscure the views and you can still see well into the forest.

Attracted to this bursting maple, I decided to place it in the center of the image, making it the headliner. The light gray and blue trunks splay out behind it, creating order out of chaos. I focused on the pink-leafed maple and shot at a medium aperture, f/8. This softened the background trees, implying depth while showcasing the maple.

The image was shot under my favorite conditions in which to photograph spring forests: drizzly, overcast weather. There are no harsh shadows and each leaf stands out in detail. I used a polarizing filter to cut glare off the wet foliage, enriching contrast and helping the colors pop. The final result is a rather pointillistic view of vibrant new life in the season of renewal.

Mark Bowie is a frequent contributor to Adirondack Life magazine and a much sought-after public speaker, offering presentations to camera clubs, environmental groups and others. He is a staff instructor for the Adirondack Photography Institute. He and fellow instructor Joe LeFevre will lead a waterfalls photo workshop to Ricketts Glen State Park in northern Pennsylvania May 28 – 31. For information, including the program description and pricing, see For more on Mark’s work, visit his website: