Landscape Photography

February 12, 2015  •  2 Comments

How does one create landscapes that capture the feeling of place?

I sometimes do photos for friends, and enjoy trying to capture their character in the shot; and I have had quite a bit of success at this, especially with young children.  However, when it comes to landscapes, I find it much more difficult to capture the feeling of a place.  I want the viewer to be able to feel the same emotions I felt when taking the photo. I want the viewer to be led to the same thoughts I had as I gazed upon the scene.  Anything short of that leaves me feeling as if I have failed.  While the scene may be beautiful in lighting and color, awesome in its panoramic view, and in razor sharp focus, if the viewer does not feel what I felt when taking the photo, then I consider myself to have failed.  And fail I do. Frequently!  This causes me to give a lot of thought as to how I can portray the feelings of a view to the viewer who is not there.  Unfortunately, this usually happens AFTER I have taken the shot and left the location!  How does one accomplish this?  Does anyone else out there share in this frustration or experience???  In the accompanying photo, I wanted to capture the feeling of isolation, solitude, or loneliness I felt while looking at the lone bison foraging through the snow down in the valley.  Not sure if I did or not.

My goal for 2015 is to learn how to transmit my feelings, thoughts, and emotions of a place to my viewers.  All comments, suggestions, commiseration on this subject are welcomed.


Comments

AstilesPhotography
Thanks, Mike!
You offer some great tips!
I appreciate your sharing. Hopefully this will help more than just myself.
Mike Maples(non-registered)
I struggled in a similar fashion and still do sometimes. For me the partial cure was threefold...

Use a wider lens...went from a 24-70mm down to a 12-24mm on a DX camera and a 16-35mm on my FX. Even if the end result was to be cropped I still use a wider lens for most shots unless I'm intentionally wanting to isolate a tight subject.

Use filters to achieve dramatic results. Neutral density for smoothing water, graduated for darkening blue sky or dimming snow or polarizing for seeing through water or brightening colors.

Evaluate the scene with my eyes first, without looking through the camera, until I see what it is about the scene that strikes me. Then use whatever lens, filter, framing, etc. it takes to see that through the lens. This is often very hard to do. Sometimes it is the foreground elements that draw my eye toward the subject and they have to be included in the shot even though they seem to be unimportant to the main subject. Sometimes it is a shot with extra frame above and below because I already know I want a panoramic crop or extra frame to the sides because I want a tight vertical.

In your buffalo shot for instance, a wider view with more foreground might add a feeling of distance and isolation to the bison. I'm no expert by any stretch but these are things that helped my shots. And I don't know how you feel about post processing but I usually punch up the color a bit on my landscapes to make them pop more.

Hope this is a little bit of what you were looking for.
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