Controlling the Far Distance in Photography

Controlling the Far Distance in Photography

  • As foreground-dominated pictures emphasize specific aspects of landscape; background-dominated pictures can highlight distant elements of a scene. For example, to create an image that simply conveys the idea of the sea; you might start by composing a picture of a wind-tossed seascape, cropping out cliffs in the foreground and coastline in the middle distance. The shot could have equal relevance to viewers familiar with any one of the Seven Seas.

  • Images that are composed exclusively of background, though, are unusual. They are mainly pictures of sunsets in which forms are silhouetted against the sky. Most often, though, the background plays a supporting part, and the principal subject falls in one of the other image planes. If you're focusing - either literally or metaphorically - on the foreground then the background provides a canvas on which to paint your view of the landscape. Remember that in these instances, the background need not be a specific landscape feature: often you'll wish to use the sky as a background.

  • If you choose to close in on the background at the expense of other subject planes, you'll find a telephoto lens a valuable aid. The narrow field of view of these lenses helps to isolate the most interesting sections, compressing the various planes together into a tight composition.

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