Can’t see the rocks for the trees

How do you show depth when the scene is almost monochromatic?  And I don’t mean black and white – actually all the same color.

I ran across this old stone wall in the woods and thought the contrast of man-made with nature was a nice image.  I was able to get some compositions I liked but the lack of color or tonal difference made it hard to make the wall stand out from the woods.  Here’s what I mean:



I tried with the light behind me and the light behind the stones but neither gave me the type of contrast I needed.  Composing from the side didn’t work because the moss-covered stones simply vanished into the green background.  I’m wondering if waiting until later, when the sun was obliquely lighting the stones if that would let the shadows make them stand out.  Or perhaps putting some flash on them just to lighten them up compared to the forest.  I didn’t have time or equipment to try these ideas but will definitely keep them in mind.

Don’t know the story behind the wall.  It runs along a wooded hilltop that’s a state wildlife refuge.  It’s not really tall enough to be called a wall, more of a line of stacked stones.  Perhaps in the past a farmer cleared stones from the hill so he could plant crops.  The area is surrounded by wetland so the hill would be about the only good land to plant.  This part of Wisconsin was scoured by glaciers and they left many rocks displaced from Canada but I don’t think even glaciers are this neat and tidy with their rock movement.  I just thought it was an interesting reminder of how we shape the land when we want, and the land shapes back when we turn aside for a bit.

I did find something with enough contrast to photography, however.  Some blooming bush sent a tendril out and snagged a limb, giving a nice arrangement of blooms in a minimalist sort of display.


Nice to see nature has a sense of style.


4 thoughts on “Can’t see the rocks for the trees

    • Autumn is the season I’m looking forward to in Wisconsin – much more hardwood than Nebraska with a more diverse population. Pictures I’ve seen of the area show great fall foliage. That wall will be on my list for sure.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s