I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to write a post on our Christmas tree hunting adventures. Honestly I didn’t think it was going to produce enough content. But when we went up into the mountains and these photos resulted, along with sitting in the car on the way home thinking, “I wish I would have known…”, I realized I needed to share.
Where: Red Lodge, Montana
So first thing first - let’s talk about this tree hunting business. Here is a list of things you will need in addition to some advice I wish I would have known!
You will need
A car with AWD or FWD +/- a trailer
Tree tag - Google where they are sold in your area ($5 for Montana)
Warm clothes, aka snow boots, snow pants, gloves, hat, etc!
A saw, preferably electric
Gloves, either work or snow for cutting and carrying the tree
Optional: a sled to haul the tree on, food, warm drinks,and/or a camera
Recommendations: Know where you are going and start early. We went to the first place on the road, which was FULL of people, so we drove around to find another area. We started later in the day and, by the time we found a spot and walked around looking at trees, it started getting dark. We actually had to pick the best trees we could because we were running out of daylight. If we would have known exactly where we were going and started earlier we might have found better trees, although I still love mine. I also recommend you know how tall and wide you want your tree because they look SMALLER in the forest. Mine felt so small and it fit just barely in my house; Amber’s was too big and she had to cut some off the top.
Second I want to talk about photography. I’ve started following Isaac Johnston and each month he posts a newsletter called “Stoke-ness”. It has the same theme with different topics and I really enjoy it. It made me realize I can post whatever the heck I want within posts and someone else might actually like it. Without going too much into details, I’ve realized I like playing with light and people in my photos. Most photographers will tell you to head out for sunrise and sunset, spending time before and after watching the movement of the light.
In the top left photo I love how the light reflects off the mountain. The photo of Amber on the top right is just beautiful, her looking for the perfect tree, mom leading the way, saw in hand. The middle photo again has light dancing off the mountain. The photo didn’t turn out 100% but it’s still beautiful. When we finally cut down our trees the sun was gone so I decided to play around with the light from the truck. I love how the one of me came out and I am obsessed with the lights of the truck, slightly buried in snow, the blue background, and the outline of the trees. For the first time in a long time I LOVE the photos I took. I edited them with tweaked versions of Forest Mankins Lightroom presets. I like the consistency and ease of using the same preset. And, although I am not 100% sure I will continue with this exact lighting/preset through winter, for now I am loving it! They feel a lot less edited than presets I’ve used in the past which I love because I hate photos that feel edited, fake, or unnatural.