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Author Topic: Photographing scenic vistas  (Read 14260 times)

Photographing scenic vistas
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2009, 12:38:14 PM »

Quote from: shutterpup
Thank you to everyone who responded. I have printed out this thread for reference as I get ready for vacation in the early fall. This information will go in my camera bag.

If I am hearing you correctly, when you stand in front of the vista you scan the scene horizontally to take it in with your eyes (a 50mm lens on a 35mm sensor) When you shoot with a wide angle lens the features seem too small and distant?. So what I have had good luck with is as previously mentioned, stitching a panorama. Use a 50mm lens (approximately if your camera is full frame) Place it on a leveled tripod in portrait orientation and shoot the scene from left to right with about a 30% overlap. Then stitch with Photo Shop or better yet PTGui. If you purchase PTGui I'll be glad to help with your initial setup (it is a pain!)
I hope this helps
Marc
« Last Edit: June 30, 2009, 01:21:30 PM by marcmccalmont »
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Marc McCalmont

wolfnowl

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Photographing scenic vistas
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2009, 02:11:38 AM »

Hi There:

It's often said one can tell a good photographer by how many photography books they have.  I'm not talking about technical manuals - those have their place, but by studying the works of other photographers, looking at an image you like and asking, "What makes this image good?" you can develop your own eye.  There are a LOT of really good photographers out there, but one of my favourites remains Elizabeth Carmel.  Elizabeth and her husband Olaf are photographers who run a gallery in Truckee, CA.  Portfolios of Elizabeth's work can be found on her website, so when you get a moment, have a look and ask yourself 'why' this image works.  What are the elements?  The main focus?  The depth of field?  Framing? Composition? Lighting - hard or soft?  From where?  Answer those questions and begin to incorporate them into your own work.

Mike

http://www.elizabethcarmel.com/
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Lisa Nikodym

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Photographing scenic vistas
« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2009, 11:52:32 AM »

Mike, thanks so much for the link to Elizabeth Carmel's work!  I'm *very* impressed.  Much of her style feels very familiar to me, because I'm usually trying for something very similar (though with much less success).  I'll spend more time rummaging around her portfolio when I get a chance.

Thanks!
Lisa

Eric Myrvaagnes

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« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2009, 12:53:09 PM »

Ditto to what Lisa said.

Mike often posts valuable tidbits on the LL forum. Thanks, Mike!

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Stephane Desnault

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Photographing scenic vistas
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2009, 06:35:15 AM »

Hi shutterpup,

A spectacular vista doesn't automatically translate into a spectacular photography: you HAVE to find a way to instill back the drama IN THE PHOTO.

As an analogy, think about literature: You can write about an obnoxious planter's daughter during the civil war, but chances are you won't come up with Gone With The Wind. The drama came from the art, not only from the story. The drama in your pictures won't come from the vista, but from how you make THE PHOTO dramatic.

I know that one simple thing I discovered is that any picture needs a subject, a focal point. It takes many forms: It can be a graphic composition or design, a surprise element, a "decisive moment"... There are so many different types of photography. But in all cases you need something that tells you "what the picture is about". And "the landscape", in my experience, NEVER cuts it.

Looking at Elizabeth Carmel's site, every picture stands out - each picture is about "colors on the cliff" or "that rocky point going into the ocean" or something. Look at her portfolio: You can describe each photo with a short sentence (that is never "a beautiful landscape"  ).

Putting this drama in, to give the picture a subject, is where the art comes in. There's no single recipe, but some simple tools do work well as a start: Playing with the exposure, the rule of thirds, finding light paths or lines converging towards your point of interest, choosing between serene and dynamic compositions (diagonals vs. horizontal-vertical) are things you can experiment with.

Photography is a language and an art. Just as it takes time to write Gone With The Wind, it takes time to master its nuances and establish your vocabulary and style.
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shutterpup

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Photographing scenic vistas
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2009, 12:56:43 PM »

Quote from: Stephane Desnault
Hi shutterpup,

A spectacular vista doesn't automatically translate into a spectacular photography: you HAVE to find a way to instill back the drama IN THE PHOTO.

Photography is a language and an art. Just as it takes time to write Gone With The Wind, it takes time to master its nuances and establish your vocabulary and style.


Stephane,
You are spot on, IMHO, with your conclusion. I have looked at Elizabeth Carmel's work(I have it bookmarked)and really like her work. When you said that the subject is never "the landscape," how true, how true! This has been where my frustration in taking photos of expansive scenery has always come into play. I will look harder, think more, before clicking the shutter.

Thank you for understanding my frustration and addressing it so well.
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alainbriot

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« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2009, 02:22:25 PM »

The light is your number one consideration.  If the light isn't good, the photograph won't be good.  

Think about the Grand Canyon.  Beautiful landscape.  Yet, most photographs of it aren't interesting.  They are just souvenirs of a visit with little meaning to those who weren't there when the photograph was taken.  

What makes a stunning photograph of the Grand Canyon is stunning light.  

Learn all you can about light.

In Fine Art Landscape Photography we photograph the light first and the subject second.  

If you only photograph the subject you will forever be disappointed in your images.

Your first thought when looking at a scene must be about light.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2009, 02:25:02 PM by alainbriot »
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Alain Briot
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byork

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Photographing scenic vistas
« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2009, 07:53:13 AM »

Quote from: alainbriot
The light is your number one consideration.  If the light isn't good, the photograph won't be good.  



In Fine Art Landscape Photography we photograph the light first and the subject second.  

If you only photograph the subject you will forever be disappointed in your images.

Your first thought when looking at a scene must be about light.

Never in the field of photography has so much been learned from so few words....(I think another bloke said something similar a while back)....anyway, I will remember this every time I go to the bush from now on. Thanks Alain.

Cheers
Brian
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alainbriot

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« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2009, 10:52:55 AM »

Quote from: byork
Never in the field of photography has so much been learned from so few words....(I think another bloke said something similar a while back)....anyway, I will remember this every time I go to the bush from now on. Thanks Alain.

Cheers
Brian


Brian,

You are welcome.

The word Photography itself means "Writing with light," from the Greek photos, light and graphos, writing.

Light is photography and photography is light. Without light there would be no photographs.
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Alain Briot
Author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Composition, Creativity and Personal Style., Marketing Fine Art Photography and How Photographs are Sold.
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com

shutterpup

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Photographing scenic vistas
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2009, 12:37:07 PM »

Quote from: alainbriot
The light is your number one consideration.  If the light isn't good, the photograph won't be good.  

Think about the Grand Canyon.  Beautiful landscape.  Yet, most photographs of it aren't interesting.  They are just souvenirs of a visit with little meaning to those who weren't there when the photograph was taken.  

What makes a stunning photograph of the Grand Canyon is stunning light.  

Learn all you can about light.

In Fine Art Landscape Photography we photograph the light first and the subject second.  

If you only photograph the subject you will forever be disappointed in your images.

Your first thought when looking at a scene must be about light.

Wonderful information, and a point of view that makes sense. I bothered a few months ago to get a book that talks exclusively about the nature of light. Understanding light has made a difference. As you say, if the light isn't good, neither is the photograph.

Thank you for your response.
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JMCP

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« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2009, 03:53:39 PM »

Hi Shutterpup,

is it possible you are looking for too much from your photgraphs, maybe, just maybe they are actually very good representations of the vista but you are expecting too much. I know I have a few places that I regularly photograph and I'm never happy with the outcome when I go home and process them but, often, when I happen to come across them a year or so later, I really like them and wonder what it was about them that I didn't like in the first place. Just a thought.



Cheers John
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shutterpup

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Photographing scenic vistas
« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2009, 05:43:04 PM »

Quote from: JMCP
Hi Shutterpup,

is it possible you are looking for too much from your photgraphs, maybe, just maybe they are actually very good representations of the vista but you are expecting too much. I know I have a few places that I regularly photograph and I'm never happy with the outcome when I go home and process them but, often, when I happen to come across them a year or so later, I really like them and wonder what it was about them that I didn't like in the first place. Just a thought.



Cheers John


John,
I really do expect a lot of my photographs. Actually what happens to me is I take the vistas, keep them for 6-8 months, and then toss about 80% of them. The remaining ones are set aside for another cut throat round in 6 mos. or so. The ones that are good start out being evaluated by me as good, and the rest are horrid.
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Tyler Mallory

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« Reply #32 on: August 24, 2009, 05:50:11 PM »

Think of it as giving the eye something to do. Presenting a picture asks something of the viewer. There has to be an element or elements to guide them into the image and, one way or another, get them to participate in the things that interested you. Ask yourself about the relationships the objects have with each other, the light, the general feel of the environment and the moment you are choosing to isolate. Look for ways that a path of interest can develop and bring a viewer into the picture in a way that they can share the interest you had when you came upon it.

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« Reply #33 on: August 28, 2009, 04:22:54 PM »

One thing I learned from Ansel Adams is that the landscape is not about just the background. The relation of foreground and background is what gives the sense of scale to the scene. Many times, if you only have background, there is no sense of how vast and grand it is.
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shutterpup

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« Reply #34 on: August 28, 2009, 05:36:40 PM »

Tyler and Hoang,
Thanks for the replies.
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