The Beech Palace

The beech forest is something special. There are few vegetation on the ground; heavy foliage on the trees, creating a sort of canapy on the 15-25 meters height; rare but very expressive spots of light which manages to penetrate the mentioned leaves somewhere; sounds which closed “in the walls” of that forest. All this together creates the impression of a huge palace consisting of halls, rooms, stairs, patio. The Beech palace…

These images have experienced a real adventure before becoming this photo series. All of it were shot by my first camera (amateur DSLR with very unprofessional lens in not very professional hands :) ) in the beech forest on the way to the famous Djur-Djur waterfall (which is partially captured on one of the photos), in autumn of 2010 in Crimea. Something about three years these photos were firstly on my computer and then on my external hard drive. They were waiting. But I couldn’t imagine what to do with them: they were quite low quality because of too high ISO, they didn’t look like potential masterpieces but at the same time it was pity to delete. It was like “there’s something interesting in it but I don’t know what exactly”.

And then my hard drive have failed with all my photos that I shot to that moment. My friend found a couple of recovery programs but they fixed just a little bit including these images (of course in less quality). Recovered, they have waited for about three years more. And just recently, I faced them while seeing my photo archive. Suddenly, I have realized HOW exactly I need to edit them to express my impression of that walk.

When I finished, I gave this photo series to my friend’s judgment. And she mercilessly criticized it. Among others she said “I don’t understand what you wanted to say by these photos” and “this series is a step back for you”… Although she is the most objective reviewer I have ever met I still not agree with her. Yes, these images are not really high technical quality because of the reasons mentioned above. Yes, this are not HDR photos, moreover, recovered files were not RAW but castrated JPG. But to my mind I managed as close as possible to convey the mood, the play of light and shadow, the feeling of silence and mystery in the beech forest. I really like colors on these images.

Me or my friend – who is right? I guess only time can solve this question. But in this moment, I think that mood and emotions are more important than highest quality in art photography.

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