Moving Past The Obvious

Certainly landscape photography is one of the two most popular forms of nature photography, with  the other being wildlife photography. Wildlife photography requires expensive lenses as in large one, but a nice all purpose zoom will handle most landscape photos. Even when I was a kid, most people had a small camera of some sort with them, loaded with a roll of Kodak film of this type or that. Especially when traveling. Today, it’s our cell phones.

One of the biggest mistakes beginners make when “pursuing the land” with a camera, is they try to take too much in. Often wild angle shots without a wild angle perspective. Frequently only subjects which are famous or spectacular need apply for having their picture made.

Below is an image I made along the Arkansas River in Colorado. It is a pretty spot and has been made dramatic by my keeping my exposure low enough to record the saturated light and the drama of the location.  There is of course more than just land in the photo. There is sky and water as well. I consider waterscapes, which this is not, in the same general category as landscapes.

Dramatic light, usually adds to a landscape. One needs not to have bright light that reveals everything to have a nice landscape photo. Often the less revealed in your photo, the more powerful the image.

The location where the image below was made, was not very spectacular. A bit of water, few reeds, and one single flower in blossom. Throw in a few spider webs, there you have it.

Now I know, much of the world will say who cares about one flower and some dark light. They might say it’s too bad that I could not have made a brighter photo.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To me, teaching ourselves to “see” beyond the obvious is a victory. Seeing what others miss can be a learned skill.

Sunrise images with silhouetted shapes, are becoming more popular. Not long ago, it would have been difficult for me to find anyone who would have found the image below in any way satisfying. I will silhouette anything. A leafless tree, some prairie grasses and few clouds, and there you are.

The land caught between some water and some sky. With a few clouds.

This image below is the same to sunrise/sunset photography as was today’s second photo to landscape photography.

I accentuated how I felt about this scene with an after the fact pano crop to help make my point as to what I found powerful about this location at sunrise.

The basic theme of today’s post is, who cares about the obvious. Look at the world through your own, personal “photographic eyes”.

Certainly of we silhouette shapes in nature at sunrise/sunset, then birds and other critters are fair game, so to speak.

Other than the fact that this duck was moving, making this image was pretty close to the same as making the tree silhouette.

I of course could see some limited details in the duck when I was there. Our eyes help us to eliminate dark places but sometimes a photographer, just might want more out of an image.

Most people including many wildlife photographers, would want to see a whole animal in photos of them. That’s understandable for ID purposes, but sometimes we want more than a “mug shot” of an animal. I wanted to sort of get inside of this preening Sandhill Crane. If I were closer to it when I made this picture, I would have still cropped this image even tighter. As is, it would begin to fall apart so to speak at a tighter crop.

Nature photographers, in particular landscape photographers, have a lot in common with architectural photographers.

I have always had a love for old, history filled  buildings. I get goose bumps when I am around human history. The good and the bad, it is all important.

Much like when I photographed the land, I tended to look first at the big picture, and then downsize it until I could see some details.

Both buildings below were long, long abandoned when I made these simple photos. They reside, or resided as the case might be, along the Mississippi River in Wisconsin. They have character, and I bet, lots of stories to tell.

As is often the case, the “big picture” shows the overall character and design of the structure. The closer shot shows off detail and texture.

I find wood verses brick to be interesting. The peeling paint speaks to age better.

The angles I used in both, reveal dimension. Flatsiding can be nice, but less alive if you will.


Ephesians 8 & 9

For by Grace are you Saved through Faith  it is the Gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast


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