Imagine walking through a quiet forest in the winter. There”s no sound but some falling icicles, and no light but the stars. And then suddenly, a tiny light blinks on in…a window?

That”s the scene in Boston-based photographer Dan Barreto”s tiny tree worlds, which he calls “woodhouses.” Using digital photography, he creates miniscule homes in tree trunks, turning the forest into a tiny city populated by mysterious, miniature inhabitants. Using recognizable architectural forms for the windows and doors, his images read like a modern take on fairy legends; imagine if the fairy folk used neon lights and double-pane glass in their homes.

Shadows and light are also added in for realistic effect.

This house also includes a tiny traditional house.

The pictures invite you to imagine what kinds of creatures might be inside these trees.

So how is it done? Quite simple, really. The photos are just superimposed onto one another. Barreto takes photos of doors and windows in urban settings, typically his native Boston, and digitally inserts them, as well as the light and shadows they would produce, onto photos of trees in the forests of New Hampshire. It”s a simple enough concept (and one you could try yourself!), but the effect is charming and just a little noirish at the same time.

The photos are made by combining other photos into one. The door from the photo on the left gets superimposed onto the photo of the trees, and instantly creates a new landscape combining the natural and constructed world.

Some of them have also been converted into .gif format, which allows the lights in the windows to flicker on an off.

You can see the rest of Barreto”s surreal photos and moving images on his website.

Via Designboom