Sunday, December 5, 2010

Section 4 - Light on the Land

          The first chapter in "Light on the Land" discusses finding landcapes that will present good photographic opportunities. The first indicator listed as a good chance for a good composition is the presence of a strong, visually attractive color such as red. Other techniques, such as adding motion to water to make a normal composition more exciting, are discussed throughout the chapter. Another technique is using clouds to help make a sky exciting and shooting in snowy or foggy weather to add another element to the composition.
          The chapter goes on to give hints on good times to shoot and good directions. It suggests facing north or south for a composition in the prime light hours so that the subject is sidelight. An interesting foreground can make or break a good photo, and should add to the entire composition instead of being the main subjec. A really good foreground also frames the photo or brings the viewer in to a certain portion of the composition. Another technique is using reflections off of water and adding animals to the scene. Excluding human influence is recommended.
          The most important part about the next chapter is showing depth in landscapes. Having a good depth of field for a landscape photo is extremely important in showing the different planes that are visible to the human eye. Different planes usually include a blue sky plane, cloud plane, feature plane, horizontal plane, midground plane and a foreground plane. Using overlapping planes can be very beneficial if the planes are easily distinguished with high contrast. The author recommends setting up the camera at a 45 degree angle from the nearest size cue in the composition.
          The beginning of the next chapter discusses techniques for capturing reflections. A tall tripod is suggested because it can be used as a walking stick and a depth tester too. A camera focal length between 20 - 100 mm is suggested because it gives enough room to frame a picture by zooming but isn't too heavy and is wide enough for large landscape reflections. Techniques such as wading into the water may be necessary to capture just the right reflection. The best time is again early in the morning or in the evening.
          The basic recommended lenses are a polarizing filter and a one stop split neutral density filer, along with duct tape to hold them in place at the least. A polarizing filter at its maximum will make the reflection stand out the most, with the highest contrast. If the histogram shows less than 80% of the data is in the center then it may be necessary to use the split neutral density filter to darken up the sky. The split-neutral density filter is also recommended for scenes with bright mountain tops and darker valleys.

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