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Water gums from Paul Curtis's book, The Heritage of Trees. 

Paul Curtis has published a book titled The Heritage of Trees and we'll be running an article in the next issue of Better Photography about his techniques. However, in the meantime, here are some tips from Paul if you're out and about this holiday season looking for trees!

1 – Know your subject and understand what makes it a good subject. Is it worth returning to and when would be the optimal conditions? I have stumbled across many great trees in my wanderings and sometimes a return was probably not possible, so you make the most of it like any subject and approach it from all angles and with all lenses. Or if you can, return when it is flowering or leaves are turning colour.

2 – Lenses and focal lengths. Consider all your available resources. I have found myself favouring a mild telephoto if I can get back far enough. It allows a more ‘face on’ perspective and avoids the ‘looking up’ view which can get repetitive. A wide aperture may assist in knocking the background slightly out of focus, isolating your subject better.

3 – If your subject can only be viewed from the base, ensure the foreground is in sharp focus. Often great trees have gnarly trunks full of interesting detail, even though your sharp focus may trail off into the canopy.

You can purchase a copy of Paul’s book A Heritage of Trees direct from his website at The cost is $44 and includes postage and packaging within Australia. For orders outside Australia, contact Paul via the website for pricing.

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