Macro,  Nature

Tree Bark as Art Photography Project

I love to photograph nature. But in the winter in colder climates there are significantly less nature subjects to photograph.  I still love to go on photography hikes in the winter and tree bark is a terrific subject to photograph.

Frosty Tree Bark
Frosty Tree Bark

This winter I’ve decided to focus on a project to produce artistic images using tree bark photographs as the inspiration.  Nature is a great inspiration for art.  I found the uniqueness of patterns in tree bark to provide a large variety of compositions.

In this blog, I provide a sample of the compositions that I found photographing tree bark during my hikes.  This is just a starting point as nature provides an infinite amount of variety in the bark of trees. 

Moss in the Tree Bark Art

Moss in the Tree Bark – Topaz Impression

What To Look For

  • Roots growing on tree trunks
  • Patterns in the Tree Bark
  • Peeling Tree Bark Patterns
  • Mosses and Fungi Growing on the Tree Bark
  • Snow in the Tree Bark Patterns
  • Shapes in the Tree Bark (human faces, etc.)
Menacing Vines on the Tree Bark

Menacing Vines on the Tree Bark – Topaz Adjust

Post Processing

In addition to Photoshop and Lightroom, I used a variety of plugins to both speed up my processing and to give me ideas for the look I wanted to achieve for a specific tree bark composition.

I used a combination of techniques when creating the final artistic images: black and white, gritty textured looks, soft focus effects, and painterly looks.

Textured Tree Bark

Textured Tree Bark – Topaz Texture Effects

Photoshop plugins Used for post processing Tree Bark Images

Topaz Impression – gives an artistic / painted look to your images.  Topaz Impression has numerous presets to scroll through to get ideas.  Once you select a preset, you can refine the image further right in Topaz Impression.  For more information, check out my blog post on Topaz Impression.

Topaz Texture Effects – Add more than just texture to an image.  You can also add dust/scratches, borders, diffusion, light leaks and more effects.  Like Topaz Impression, there are a large variety of presets to use for ideas and a starting point.  There are also additional presets that are easily downloaded from the Topaz user community. For more information, read my blog post on Topaz Texture Effects.

Color Efex Pro 4 – Nik Color Effects Pro from Dx0 also has a large selection of effects that can be applied to photographs.  These are less artistic effects but still worth checking out.  Some of my favorite effects are: Darken/Lighten Center, Film Efex: Vintage, Detail Extractor, and Bleach Bypass.

Red Beard Bark

Red Beard Bark – Topaz Impression

Written by Martin Belan

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  • Cheryl Day

    Tree bark is an amazing thing, but then so are trees. I not only photograph tree bark but also use it tomake jewerly. Love your images.

    • Martin Belan

      Hi Scott, Most of these were taken with the Olympus 60mm macro (effective focal length of 120mm). I think a 50mm prime on full frame or crop sensor would work nicely for this type of macro work as well.

      Thanks for commenting.

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