British photographer Lee Acaster illuminates the quiet, mysterious beauty of the forest through his enchanting images of trees. Although a graphic designer by day, Acaster has gained wider recognition for the rich nature scenes that he captures with his camera, even taking home the title of British Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2014. Many of his striking photos are taken near his home along the border of Suffolk and Norfolk, including densely wooded areas like Thetford Forest and Thorpe Wood.
“Rather than simply recording the scene before me, I always strive to instill a sense of drama and emotion into my images,” says Acaster. As a result, his photos often appear like cinematic stills infused with a beautifully atmospheric quality. Looking at his images, one can almost imagine motion sequences of gently rolling fog, mysterious silhouettes lit by sunbeams, and even the sound of wind whispering across a forest floor covered in leaves.
We were lucky enough to ask the photographer a few questions about his work. Be sure to read that exclusive interview below.
What is it like photographing trees at Thorpe Wood?
As I do most of my photography at dawn, I rarely see another soul when I'm out with my camera. Being in the woods in the half light before the sun is up can be both incredibly peaceful, and on occasion a little unnerving, but there is no finer place to feel at one with nature.
Are there specific elements in nature that you're drawn to?
Saplings represent new life, and I am instinctively drawn to them; they show the changing nature of the forest. No two visits are ever the same, and there always seems to be something new to see, fighting for the light amongst the older, established trees.
What do you ultimately hope to capture in the forest?
The reality of the forest is often a tangle of undergrowth and chaos all around. I try to find some order in the chaos by looking for interesting branches or shapes that I can focus my images around. Whilst amongst the trees there are sounds and smells all around that add to the ambience; my aim, and the hardest thing to achieve, is to try and convey this feeling of atmosphere in a two-dimensional image.
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Thanks so much for the interview, Lee!