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Photos of One Forest in All Seasons


Throughout my years as a photographer, I’ve photographed the Dutch forests a lot. I love walking around in the forest on an early morning, clearing my mind, and photographing the first light peeking through the trees. Or shooting during foggy mornings, when the forest turns into a real-life fairytale.

There is one particular forest I have often visited throughout the year: The Speulder Forest. It’s also called ‘the forest of the dancing trees’. The images will tell you why.

When I just started out with photography many many years ago, I remember already seeing images of this forest. There was one photographer who I consider one of the first woodland photographers of the Netherlands: Lars van de Goor. After that came many and there are currently a lot of woodland photographers in the Netherlands. This really comes as no surprise, as we have many incredible forests in the country. The Speulder Forest from this series is just one of them.

I’ve heard that these trees came to be like this because of the history of this land: back in the day, farmers used to cut trees to build their houses. They were only allowed to cut a certain number of trees to not destroy the forest, so they had to be careful which ones to cut. Logically, they only cut the very straight trees, as these would be best to use for their houses. So eventually, all the ‘crooked’ trees were left. No one knows how old this forest exactly is. There are ancient areas that are dated from way before Christ.

The Speulder Forest has something special, magical you could even say. It has this special atmosphere that I can never get enough of and I just keep coming back. It’s also quite a big forest. After having been there at least 30 times, I still occasionally get lost when I just follow the light looking for nice places. I often wander around for hours and then discover that I have to walk back to my car for at least another hour or two.

It’s easy to lose time when you’re walking in the Speulder Forest, especially with the magical light. And it looks different during every season: spring and summer with the fresh green leaves, autumn (my favorite) with golden leaves everywhere and then there’s winter with no leaves at all. Snow in the forest doesn’t happen often. In fact, I’ve only seen good thick snow once here. I still remember that time when all the roads were closed and I was ‘stuck’ in the forest. I was there all alone and it was one of the most special experiences in this forest to date.

All these photos were made with that ‘special’ light. Either with thick fog or a soft layer of fog creating that magical atmosphere. I divided them into little scenes from different seasons that either look similar or are exactly the same place. These images have been shot over a period of 7 years. Please enjoy this journey through my favorite forest of the Netherlands: Het Speulderbos.

Patches of color with the forest as the backdrop are always beautiful to see throughout every season.

The same road photographed during both summer and autumn. This road really gets a color explosion in autumn peacetime when all of the trees are getting their yellow and orange colors.

The exact same scene in the forest photographed during winter and late autumn.

The same place with slightly different angles during different seasons. Summer, beginning of autumn, late autumn.

The ‘famous’ road that leads you into the forest and always welcomes you with the first light. It looks magical in autumn and mystical in summer with the right humidity.

The same tree photographed in Summer and early autumn.

The same tree with different conditions in summer and autumn.

Slightly different compositions from the same scene in winter and late autumn.

Wide forest paths throughout the seasons.

A similar scene in the forest photographed in both autumn and summer.

The same tree during different conditions in autumn, spring, and summer.

Wide tree views during every season.

Close up tree views during every season.

Close up views from patches of leaves on the trees during the beginning and the end of autumn.

A small path through the forest during spring, autumn, and winter.

A really nice little scene in the forest photographed in early and late autumn. This scene is unfortunately no more. A big tree fell on it and crushed the whole scene.

The sun peeking through the trees during the beginning of autumn, late autumn, and summer.

This is an ongoing project. There are still a lot of images that I would love to photograph like the sun peeking through the trees in winter with snow. I have unfortunately not seen that in all the years of photographing this area. But that’s the beauty of photography: Keep going to the same places and you’ll always find something different. I hope you enjoyed this series! Albert

P.S. A few years ago I made a series of a lot of different seasonal images from the same tree lane. This series is kind of an ‘extension’ from that.

About the author: Albert Dros is an award-winning Dutch photographer. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. His work has been published by some of the world’s biggest media channels, including TIME, The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail, and National Geographic. You can find more of his work on his website, or by following him on Facebook and Instagram.