The magical forest
Gespensterwald (ghostly forest) is an old beech forest near Nienhagen, Germany. It is buffeted by winds from the Baltic Sea, and these have contributed to the lack of ground cover and the forest's reputation as a spooky place. For Sandra, however, the forest is 'utterly beautiful'. After a heavy snowfall in January, she spent the day alone in the forest. 'It was so silent,' she says, 'that I could hear my heart pounding.' But it was only when it started to get dark and the snow began to fall again that she had the chance to create the surreal composition she hoped for, with the trees disappearing into snow and a curtain of large, magical flakes falling in the foreground.
Nikon D700 + 24-70mm f2.8 lens; 0.8 sec at f5.6; ISO 200; internal flash.
Gespensterwald, Nienhagen, Germany
Sign up to receive emails from the Natural History Museum about events and exhibitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
Sandra Bartocha, Germany
Sandra specialises in landscapes and plants. She seeks to photograph nature in an artistic way, focusing on details, light, colours and moods, and using creative camera techniques to best capture the beauty of a scene. Her pictures have been published in magazines, books and calendars, and she has received prizes in numerous international competitions.