About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

Into the woods

Into the woods

During my recent stay in the German city of Darmstadt, I was scanning google maps one evening looking for places to go, when I noticed that down the road from where I was staying, there seemed to be a rather large area of forest. This was strange in and of itself, because where we were staying was in an industrial estate, with big modern buildings, but just down the road was a huge forest.

I decided to check it out one evening, although I didn’t have my camera with me as it was charging, and the woods were really beautiful. The birds were singing and the air was fresh and smelled of freshly cut wood. I did manage to catch one really nice image on my phone, but I really wanted to come back and shoot properly. So the following morning, that’s just what I did.

The forest itself, called the “West Forest” or in German “Westwald”, (I immediately thought of Westworld then I saw that!) is part of the Hessian reed forest and lies between the motorways and the settlement edge of the city. The West Forest has a number of protective functions and is of great importance for the water, soil, noise, air and climate protection of the city Darmstadt. (Info via the Westwald website)

I returned early in the morning, although I missed the best light, which was my own fault for delaying in the hotel. The forest was literally a two minutes walk away though, so it didn’t take long to get there. I tried to shoot as properly as possible, bring my tripod and making sure to shoot with the timer to avoid shake, but somehow, the images still didn’t turn out quite how I expected. For some reason my Fuji X-Pro 2 did not like focusing on the trees and foliage, and for whatever reason a lot of the shots turned out soft or not properly focused. I know that I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but there’s obviously some quirk of the camera that I’ve yet to figure out.

Despite this, I still managed to get some nice images. The fresh forest air was beautiful in the morning, and there were quite a few people walking and jogging through the woods. The one thing that I’ve noticed about my trips to Germany is that it is a very green country. The towns and cities have a lot of greenery and there is a lot of forested areas too. For foreigners, Germany has perhaps a reputation for cold industrial orderliness, but it’s actually a very pretty country with some wonderful scenery, and beautiful old towns and villages. If you ever get the chance, it’s well wort the visit.

Personally, I spent the time wandering the forest asking myself: “Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?”

(That’s a westward reference/joke for those who haven’t seen the series)

Images are all shot with a Fuji X-Pro 2 and 18-55mm Lens. Processed in Lightroom via Iridient X-Transformer.

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If you're a Fuji X-Trans shooter and Lightroom user, check out my guide to post processing X-Trans files in Lightroom. I also have a guides for processing X-Trans files in Capture One and Iridient Developer.

For Sony Alpha shooters I have a new guide with tips on how to get the best from processing your A6000 Images in Lightroom.

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Staatstheater Darmstadt

Staatstheater Darmstadt