|Nature Photography by Rob Gray :: Image #00187|
Given tree fern's great shape, and the strong graphical appearance of the radiating fronds, I would think it would be easy to make a good photo of one. Not so, I've tried on numerous occasion with little success.
With this photo though I think I have succeeded. The radial patterns of the two tree's branches, and the strong dark diagonal formed by the main tree's trunk, form a very pleasing composition.
There's an incredible brightness range here, from the inky black of the trunk, to the highly reflective leaves. However, using sheet film and Zone System techniques, it's quite easy to control this and capture a full range of tones.
To retain maximum detail in the shadows you expose the film for them, by metering on the dark area and reducing that reading by two stops. Then, later in the darkroom, this sheet of film receives a reduced development time to cut down the density of the highlights.