// text and photography by Marjolein den Hartog


Under the oak tree

For outdoor photographers, the weather at the moment is far from ideal. For weeks on end, the days have been bright and sunny, with clear blue skies. To most people, this is nothing less than a godsend, even allowing for some quick snapshots of a day at the beach or a picnic in the park with friends. And all too many times passers-by have remarked something along the lines of “Oh, you’re very lucky with the weather!” on the unfortunate occasion when I’ve been out and about on an assignment on a hot and sun-drenched day. I usually don’t bother to explain to them in detail that, actually, these are anything but the best conditions for photography and why this is (nuisances like excessive contrasts, blown highlights and hard shadows, and bleached-out colours).


Luckily, there are also settings where this harsh sunlight can somewhat work to your advantage, much like this wood landscape here. Not only is it much more comfortable to walk through shadow-filled surroundings than through wide-open landscapes whilst exposed to burning rays of sun and temperatures of 30-plus;  the foliage also often provides nice shadow patterns when filtering the sunlight. This old oak tree proved to be a fine filter for a forest floor “camouflage” pattern, overlooked by a verdant blanket of bracken (or “eagle ferns”).