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Every year, my friends and I do a camping trip. Some years we go up to the mountains. Others we go out to the desert (Joshua Tree is amazing!). And other years we’ve been beach camping. All of these places are within a two-hour drive – the beauty of living in Southern California. You can check out video montages from two of our trips at the bottom of this post. This year, we went back the the mountains. I was so inspired by the light filtering through the trees on our first night that I went out and took a bunch of photos with my Canon 7D and 50mm lens.

I want to share some of my favorite shots with you! That one above is my absolute favorite. The leaf resting on the ground signaled the beginning of Autumn, one of my favorite times of the year. Below you’ll find a lot of photos shot directly into sunlight. Typically I would try to get a lens flare across the frame with heavy bokeh (blurry background). The most abstract and creative photos are the ones with the pine needles. I found that if I put my camera right up to the tree needles (literally inches away), there was this really amazing distortion happening to the light.

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The photo above with the crosses was a fun one to get. Can you guess what this is a photo of? If any of you said a bear box then you are a true champion. That’s right, we get bears up near Big Bear, California, so they have these metal boxes by the campsites to put your food so that bears can’t get them. On the side of the box was a little grate with these crosses. I practically crawled inside one of the boxes to get this shot.

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Well, this photo above isn’t technically natural light. But it was a really cool photo I snapped! I actually asked my wife Isabel to put her hand up to the light. Usually I don’t pose my shots, but this was an exception. All of these photos have been edited a bit in Adobe Lightroom to create more contrast and pop.

I hope you enjoyed these photos. Share some of your favorite natural light photos in the comments below!

Phil

Watch the videos below:

Jumbo Rocks, Joshua Tree Camping Trip in 2013

Big Bear Camping Trip in 2011