Here is the oak alley leading to Mansfield Plantation near Georgetown, SC. I made this into black and white because the gray of the Spanish Moss shows up better that way. The sun was shining that day, contrasting the shadow of the tree trunks with the sunlit ground and sunlit branches. Contrasty days are not good for photographing forests or trees like this. The result is a mottled look that detracts from the overall composition. Knowing this will save you agony at your computer or in the darkroom. Wait for a cloudy day!
I had the same contrast problem when I photographed the ruins of Sheldon Church near Yamassee, SC. The church was established in 1740 and is said to have been burned by General Sherman on his march to the sea.
The first time I shot the church was around 10 am. The sun was high by this time but I shot a bunch of shots trying to find good angles, foregrounds, etc. It was fun. I found that my wide-angle 12-20mm viewpoint was not my favorite. I preferred using my 28-300mm lens.
I went back to the church in late evening, around 6pm, on another day. Because of the intense sunlight in South Carolina in spring, neither day was perfect for photography. Say it with me! I needed a cloudy day.
I photographed the church from many angles using my tripod. I even did some HDR exposures but they didn’t work because the difference between the highlights and shadows was not sufficient. No neon lights or setting sun to make fantastic colors for me. I don’t want to admit it, but I will. I screwed up. I took the bracketed 5 shots (1 stop difference using aperture priority) but, but, but, I had the danged meter on plus 2 stops so my low light shots are not low as they should be and my highlights are too high. . Here are two of my best.
I was trying for a haunted look. Something that says: “here is history”, “here is the Old South”. Something that tells us that God was important to the people who lived here. They rebuilt the church once after it was burned accidentally, but after Sherman and the aftermath of the War Between the States, the community was too poor to replace the beautiful structure.