Forest in Sepia

Birch and Daffodils – Letchworth State Park “The white dead beech leaves created a wonderful contrast against the springtime daffodils.”

There are few pleasures as great as a warm morning hike through an enchanted Finger Lakes forest in the springtime. No words or images can truly capture the very soul of the land as it rises from a long winter’s sleep. This fact does not discourage the poet, the writer, nor the artist from interpreting these moments of springtime for others to enjoy. And so, with camera in hand, I begin my journey as an artist in search of my own interpretation.

This time of year creates some of the most interesting textures. Soft new leaves, just budding, are set against rough winter-worn bark. Young sprouts along the forest trail glow with a soft green against the dark earth. A row of still dormant oak trees provides a stark backdrop to a bright shining cherry tree in full bloom. Fields of dandelions with fresh faces rise from the gray grasses of the field. Dark-ridged cliffs frame a raging river white with foam.

Springtime also shows us wonderful contrasts. A small patch of bright yellow daffodils is standing tall in a forest of brown leaves. Sometimes a few winter-bleached leaves from last fall are set in a sea of tangled brown branches. Deep in the forest shade, the last patch of snow is tucked under a forgotten ledge at the edge of a quiet stream.

At day’s end, when I have found and captured the textures and contrasts of spring, I prepare my final impressions by teasing apart and amplifying my visions into earth-toned images. The mighty Cherry Tree, a Raging River, Daffodils and a field of Dandelions, simple in themselves, yet rich in vision. So these become my own interpretations of an enchanted Finger Lakes forest in the springtime.

by Doug MacFarland
Doug moved from film to digital photography in 2002. His early work was digital black and white photography, much the same as he had produced in a traditional darkroom. However, Doug realized that the digital “darkroom” provided greater creative possibilities than a traditional darkroom. Thus was born his sepia-toned, interpretive-style prints. Each image is an interpretation of what he sees, rather than what the camera recorded. Therefore, Doug’s work is about him and how he sees the world. You can see more of Doug’s photography at

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