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Landscape Photography

Tuesday 20 October 2009

We are half-way through the Landscape Photography course I am teaching at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. I

Hermitage Creek, Sulphur Springs, Dundas Valley Conservation Area, Hamilton, Ontario

Hermitage Creek, Sulphur Springs

am so energized by the 15 students, our hands-on field sessions and the classroom sessions where they work magic on their images. Despite the threatening rain each time we’ve been out, students are managing to produce some incredible photographs. I will be sure to highlight their work as a collection that can be viewed online.

Like any other style of photography, producing quality landscapes is a craft. Ideally, you want to create the feeling that viewers feel a part of the photograph so they can “walk into the image”. To create a classic landscape – often called the grand vista – you want three elements:

  • the image portrays the surface of Earth;
  • the horizon is apparent or perceived; and
  • there is a progression from foreground through to midground and background.

Now, these are not hard and fast rules. Landscapes can involve a whole lot more and a whole lot less.

One method involves getting down close to a strong foreground element – rocks or foliage, for example – with a wideangle lens set to a small aperture (f/16), can be the start of creating a truly three-dimensional image. Of course, landscapes can also be made with telephoto lenses.

As with any artistic endeavour, photographers are most successful when they have a clear sense of what they are trying to say. So work on your craft by looking carefully at your successes and failures to help clarify your vision and style.

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