Monday, October 14, 2013

My 2 Cents On Landscape Photography (Composition)

This is my very first blog and I have been debating myself for a day or two on what topic I should choose for this very first blog. Finally I decided to go with photography over other areas of interest like technology, gadgets, fitness, sports etc. I guess I will touch upon those areas in coming days/months.

A little background on my photographic history. I had been a point-and-shoot kind of guy pretty much throughout my adulthood until 2011 when I picked up my first DSLR (Digital SLR) Canon EOS Rebel T3i. Ever since I have been trying to better myself at this craft(as a hobbyist/enthusiast).

With this series of blogs I am trying to share what I have learn so far. Here's hoping to help those who are new to digital SLR photography with my tips.

Today, I want to start with landscape photography. 

Landscape photography by definition could mean lot of things. In short, photographs of vast, natural spaces on this earth can be categorized as landscape photographs. But let us not lock ourselves down with definition and keep an open mind here.

This plays an important role in any kind of photography not just landscape ones. You might have heard many photographer saying Location, Location & Location is key to photography. Well, that's actually true for landscape photography. But you can ruin a good location with bad composition and at the same time make a bad location standout with good composition. So I often say Composition, Composition & Composition are key to good photography. And it's true for any kind of photography, be it sports, macro or even portrait for that matter.

So what is composition. Composition is the placement of visual elements in the picture frame.

How do we go about composing a perfect landscape photograph? Lets me give some few simple tips and then leave bunch of resources for reference and inspiration.

> Horizon One Third
This is when we keep the horizon approximately at 1/3rd of the frame vertically from top. I often do this when there's not much going on in the sky but there's lot more to capture on the ground.Perhaps a rocky beach, reflection of trees on a lake, field of flowers and so on.

Here are some examples to give us better idea.

Example 1
Example 2
Example 3

> Horizon Two Third
This is exact opposite of the former. We go 2/3rd with the horizon placement when we have a lot going on in the sky and/or background.  Examples could be cloudy dramatic sky during sunrise/sunset, wide angle beach shots during sunrise/sunset, New York City skyline on a cloudy night, airshows etc.

Example 1
Example 2
Example 3

> Horizontal vs.Vertical Shot
Almost all the time landscape photos are best taken horizontally. So much so that we ofter refer horizontal mode as landscape mode. The very few landscape photos I have taken vertically, I kinda wish I had taken them horizontally.
But there are some rare scenarios where you might want to take vertical landscape photos.  Also be sure to get your knees dirty aka get close to the ground if you must take a vertical shot. Check the examples below.

Example 1
Example 2

When you are not sure, it is safer to compose horizontally.

Coming soon..


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