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 – Topaz Impression

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.  Also, check out my Tree Bark Gallery for additional composition ideas.

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

The Photoshop plugins that I primarily use for post processing were:

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 – Color Effects Pro from Google 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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