About the Location
This image was taken on a day trip while being on vacation in Madeira island, Portugal. Madeira has a rich vegetation with old-grown laurel forests spread over the island and beautiful hiking trails.
This spot is located in the highlands of the island with ever-changing weather of sunshine, rain and fog. Combined with all those characterful and gnarly trees it makes for a great spot for nature lovers and photographers. This image was taken back in 2017 and in the last few years this place has grown popularity quite a lot.
Thoughts on Composition
The main subject of the scene is the laurel tree obviously and I had aimed for a simple and symmetric composition underlining its weird shape growing sideways. The key to make this image work well in my opinion is the fog separating the tree in the foreground from the background. Without the fog you would not be able to recognize the shape of tree equally good and the image would lack depth and contrast. At the same time the fog reduces the complexity of the scene by veiling distracting elements in the background. Still there are outlines of trees and vegetation visible in the background adding another layer of depth and creating an idea of the surrounding landscape.
I have tried cropping the image at the top and the bottom using different formats like 4:3 and 4:5, but in the end I liked the original ratio of 3:2 the most leaving more negative space to frame the main subject.
Looking at this image today I would probably try to place the camera on a lower position closer to the water surface in order to get more symmetry between the top and the bottom part of the image. But I can confirm that this tree is no more due to a storm in autumn a few years ago - a real pity! Happy to have a memory of this beautiful place and our first visit and experiences there.
Exposure and Processing
This image is about the shape of the tree in the first place and not about the colors so that I decided to convert to a black and white image. I also increased overall and local contrast what I find is often a good idea for black and white conversions in order to add a bit more punch.
Camera: Nikon D500 (1.5 crop APS-C)
Lens: Nikkor 24-120 f/4
Focal length: 102mm (approx. 153mm @full-frame)
Taken on tripod