Pictures in which the main subject is
water, land sunset, snow, etc are all classified as landscapes. In
these shots, composition is arranged in large masses, a river winding
from one end of the picture to the other, several houses nestled in the
hills of a Vermont village, a range of mountain tops, or a line of
trees, are all typical of landscapes.
What makes an interesting landscape
photos? There should be a variation in shadow and light, and also
variation in composition. A curved river in a picture is usually more
exciting than a straight river, but often nicely formed trees over a
serene, straight-flowing river will also make a fine pictures. A
contrast between the light and dark tones of the landscape will make a
better picture than one in which all objects seem to appear in the same
tones of gray.
Plan your composition
When you plan your composition, watch your overall outline. Clouds, for example, form all kinds of shapes. Land, water and snow subjects also lend themselves to symbolizing emotions. Mountain peaks and tall trees seem to suggest grandeur, stateliness, dignity. Meadows, glades, brooks symbolize quietness, peacefulness and intimacy. Swamps, jungles and overgrowth often lend a feeling of confusion, mystery and fear.
Waterfalls present freshness, force,
eternity. In the desert you find vastness, emptiness, bleakness. A
village scene is friendly, sturdy, pleasant. A rushing river or
churning ocean suggest strength and action.
When a picture can evoke one or more of
these attitudes, this is something extra beyond the concrete
composition and rendering of a landscape, you have produced an above
average photograph, a photograph that people will want to see and that
will be even saleable for publication. Nature offers limitless ideas,
images, symbols and patterns to photograph. There is a surprising
amount of order and design in nature. All we have to do is see it, for
example vein in leaves, ferns, branches, trees, tree bark, flowers,
spider webs, sea shells, grass, etc.
Take light from all directions and take note on its quality
In photographing a landscape (or any
other subjects) don't confine yourself to having the light come only
from behind you. Always take note of the direction of light. As a matter of fact, it is generally better when it
comes from either left or right. In this way you can achieve modeling
and a roundness of forms you would otherwise miss. half of your subject
is then light, and gradually the other half assumes a darker tone,
which gives it distinctive form.
If the sun is behind the camera
everything appears bright, but without contrast and resulted the
picture to look flat. If the light is behind the subject, the subject
will then appear as a silhouette or near silhouette.
The quality of light also changes from
day to day and hour to hour, as the sun and clouds move. At times you
can even see how the changing quality of lght alters the mood of a
picture from one minute to the next. This is particularly dramatic when
a sunny landscape changes with the approach of black storm clouds.
The best hours for outdoor shooting
Generally the best time for taking
photographs are early morning of late afternoon
hours are the most favorable times for shooting landscapes. During
these hours, the slanting light produces long shadows and emphasizes
texture. Filters can be used to pick up clouds or to cut out haze and
glare from snow scenes. A yellow filter should be used to correct blue
skies or blue water; otherwise they will have little tone. Filters are
not necessary with overcast skies.
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