Week 2: Traditional Landscape
Week 2: Landscape Photo: Telling a story through the environment.
Photographers like Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, and Peter Lik have iconized landscape photography using a lot of the same rules with new technological advancements in photography such as color. These photographers all knew that leading the eye across a monolithic landscape like a mountain range or simple group of flowers in grass could evoke powerful emotions and bring you an understanding or experience though the photo record of nature that day.
Great landscape photos will stop you and hold on. You might first notice the large size of the print, the large features the photo holds like mountains, and then the process of emotion which something like a mountain can make us feel. After you have noticed the large scale of Earth’s beauty itself, the photo will keep you mesmerized and you might notice small things like the direction of a fence, or where, or how a tree was in the photo. Great landscape photos lead you in, and then grab you. They will pull emotions that may feel like a reaction rather than a thought process. Can you smell the sweet grass in the photo? Can you hear the silence of the snow? A quality landscape photo will bring that moment to a viewer and bring to mind all the memories or associations we make as humans to that specific moment, each person’s associations and memories being different than the other.
This capture of a moment should be thought about while shooting too. Landscape photos are static – they are a split second in a relentless world of time. The photo becomes a subjective narrative when the photographer then decides to use a longer exposure for a fluid look which could evoke peaceful feelings or decides to use an hd stop motion photo to convey the power of the river. In the past I have shot side by side with another photographer, only to see later when reviewing the photos- landscape photography allows very much for the photographer to be expressive. Photos of the exact same landscape can look very different and convey completely different meanings, even when shot side by side at the same time of day.
These two images were shot side by side by two different photographers on the same day at the same time. This just goes to show that each person’s interpretation is very different.
Photographer Sean McCroy
Photographer John LaTourelle
Within my image I tried to convey a feeling of loneliness, cold, solitude. When snowfalls it forms small spaces between flakes allowing for sound to resonate in but not back out, making it very quiet when it snows. I used the background of a lake covered with white snow to really push the photos white & bright look. I think the white adds serenity to the quiet peaceful somewhat lonely photo.
Landscape photography is not a large part of my portfolio…okay maybe it is one of the smallest parts of my portfolio as a professional photographer. It pushes me out of my comfort zone and is sometimes a struggle. When approaching landscape photography I still use strong general rules of photography.
The rules of thirds: Divide with your mind in the viewfinder 3 lines across and three lines up and down. (You can also use the grid, most modern cameras will have a setting with the rule of thirds) . The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. Studies have shown that when viewing images that people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the center of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.
The golden hour: the hour after the sunrises and the hour before the sun set, at this time of day the light is redder and softer than at times of full sun.
Use contrast: the darkest and lightest parts of a photo will direct the eye. Being as it is winter; use the snow has a focal point that directs the eye.
Adapt: Landscape photography is essentially large scale nature photography, be prepared. The weather or lighting conditions should not be a hindrance they should add to the photos you take. If you took the effort to bring lights or other technical gear, don’t scrap the shoot because you don’t get to use it. Rethink the shot you had in your head and roll with the punches, remember to have fun!