Photography Information

 

Travel and Scenic Photography 101




When you're driving through the mountains somewhere, and you notice a car parked half off the road and some guy leaning to the left to avoid a branch with his Rebel 2000 camera in the act of focusing, you've met me. I do this because, to me, a trip isn't fulfilling unless I've preserved that beauty for posterity. I'd like to share some of the techniques that make scenic photography such a wonderful artform - simple, yet elegant.

First off, equipment. As much as the cheapo disposable camera beckons, get real. These cameras have fisheye lenses which I call "spam" lenses. They cram everything in, with equal blurriness and boringness. Good photos are sharp, unless you use blur for artistic effect. Sharp comes from an adjustable lens. It can be a fixed lens or a zoom, but it must focus specially for each picture. Fixed lenses are limiting for scenic pictures, where to frame the shot you may need to move long distances. Imagine using a fixed lens on the Washington Monument, when you're half a block away! Zooms get my vote, even though they often don't have as wide an aperture, which limits their capabilities in low light situations.

Practically speaking, an SLR is the absolute best. They are lightweight, and can be used with top quality lenses. Film SLRs tend to be less expensive, but have the limitations of film, meaning you have to get it developed and so forth. Digital SLRs are VERY expensive, so for the budget conscious either go with a film SLR or a high quality basic digital camera. With digital, resolution is also a critical factor, so look at the specs before you buy.

OK, we've got the camera, emotions are running high, and that's great, but not too great! Sometimes I find a spot that is so wonderful, I start shooting like a madman, only to be disappointed by the pictures. What happened? Emotions. When you experience a place, there are sounds, aromas and breezes as well as the visuals of the spot. Needless to say, you can't photograph all of these elements, only the visual. When overwhelmed by the spectacle of a scenic hotspot, we are often overwhelmed by all of these elements.

So what to do? Look through your camera. The viewfinder does not lie (usually). Try to see what you are looking at as the finished picture. Most people perfunctorily take pictures, hoping that somehow the shot will come out great. If you wonder how the pictures came out when you are on the way to the drug store to get them, you're doing something wrong. At the moment you click the pic, you should know exactly what you will get. (Of course with digital, that's not a trick!).

Now, I was a tad dishonest in saying that you can't capture all of the elements of a scene. You can hint at them. For starters, motion. Yes, even in a still picture, there is motion. Something happened before, during and after your picture. In a mountain vista scene, you may find something that hints at motion, whether it be a branch of a tree that has been swaying in the breeze, or a river flowing through the valley below. These add a sense of motion.

Then there's the "rule of thirds." When you place the main object of the picture smack-dab in the middle, it is static and boring. Place it one third of the way from either side, and you IMPLY motion. Put the horizon in a landscape photo a third of the way up or down, not across the middle.

Remember, when a person looks at a picture, their eyes move. You want to frame your photo to help that movement. If you can find some lines in the scene, such as a skyline, cloud formation, path through the forest, etcetera, use it interestingly, and with the rule of thirds to draw your viewer's eyes into the picture.

Avoid "summit syndrome." You get to the top of Mount Washington and shoot the majestic vista. Great. The pictures come out ... boring! How? No PERSPECTIVE. Big vistas will be flat unless you have an object in the foreground, such as a rock or a tree, to give them perspective. Then the eye really grasps how big this scene is. People enjoying the view is a real winner, because the viewer may identify with their emotions, giving the image real impact.

Cheese! Yes, you do have to take the family photos. It's obligatory. But when you do, make sure that they show the LOCATION of the photo. Otherwise, you might as well do it on your driveway. Frame the scene in context, with landmarks as part of the picture. Find a way to tell as story in the picture, such as little Sara climbing up the rocks by the waterfall.

Finally, any element in the picture that hints at more senses than just the visual will make it remarkable. Actor headshots for example, tell a story about the subject. You can almost hear them saying their next lines. If you photograph a garden, the viewer may experience the aroma of the flowers. A tourist street with an accordion player on the corner may have your amazed friends whistling "Dixie."

In summation, picture taking on travel is recording the experience in a satisfying way. Use motion, perspective, sensory, storytelling and so forth, to bring your photos to life. Oh, and needless to say, make your job easy and go to great places! See you at the overlook!

Seth Lutnick is a photographer, composer, and performer. He has taken thousands of scenic photos, recorded two albums of original music, and appeared on stage, TV and film. Visit his website - www.getitdone.biz - for more detailed plans on photography, music, health and education, and extensive product links for the resources to fulfill your goals.


MORE RESOURCES:

HuffPost

The Second Wave Of New York Street Photography
HuffPost
I was fortunate to have my street photography career when I did, I think. I photographed the streets of New York City (and Montreal) between 2010 and 2017. In 2017 I decided to call it quits and “retire”. Now, granted, this was not the era of Garry ...



Wicked Local Bellingham

Fine art infrared photography program planned
Wicked Local Bellingham
FRANKLIN -- The Stony Brook Camera Club will welcome Ron Rosenstock on Oct. 26 to present a program on fine art infrared photography. Rosenstock retired from Clark University after teaching photography there for 30 years. He has just published his ...

and more »


Fstoppers

You Are Responsible for Improving Your Photography
Fstoppers
Photography, as with any creative pursuit, requires the creator to have their hand in the process for the results to shine. Countless Facebook ads, online workshops, and even our camera companies would have you believe that they if you just buy that ...



Fstoppers

What Lensrentals' 2017 Equipment Rental Trends Tell Us About the Photography Industry
Fstoppers
If you want to get a good feel for the pulse of the photography industry, looking at the camera equipment photographers are renting is a good place to gain some insight. Lensrentals has released their data on the most popular camera equipment of 2017 ...



Foster's Daily Democrat

Area Arts: Digital artist Erin Warren combines photography and painting
Foster's Daily Democrat
What makes a person a good artist? Is it the tools? The best pencils, brushes or carving set? If that were true, then today, we would have hordes of artists, more refined than the Renaissance masters. Is it the materials? Well, if it were, then anyone ...

and more »


ArtfixDaily

6th Annual “All Photography” Online Art Competition Annouced
ArtfixDaily
Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the gallery's 6th Annual “All Photography” Online Juried Art Competition for the month of November 2017. The gallery invites all photographers from around the world to make online ...

and more »


Kindred Post to host instant photography workshop
Juneau Empire
Kindred Post, a neighborhood post office, gift shop, and community gathering space, will host an instant photography workshop on Sunday, Oct. 29 from 1-3:30 p.m. The workshop, taught by resident instant photography expert Veronica Buness, will be an ...



WGN Radio

Photographer Kevin Nance and the 'Way We Live Now': “The hardest thing about photography is knowing what to ...
WGN Radio
Photographer Kevin Nance and friend of the show Tony Fitzpatrick join Dave Hoekstra for a conversation on The Way We Live Now, and ongoing show featuring Nance's street photography at AdventureLand Gallery (1513 N. Western). Nance talks about his ...



New York Times

The Aftermath of War, Seen Through Photographers' Eyes
New York Times
When Carol McCusker was designing the photography show “Aftermath: The Fallout of War — America and the Middle East,” she wanted “powerful photographs that expanded the notions of individuals when they are considering warfare.” The result, at the ...



Washington Post

Flights of fancy vacation photography, courtesy of drones
Washington Post
“It's a whole new world,” said Emily Kaszton, a photographer from Newport Beach, Calif., who uses her drone for jobs around the world. “It's similar [to shooting on the ground] — in terms of looking for composition and focus — but it's a new way to ...


Google News

home | site map
© 2006 KeralaClick.com