Landscape Photography Concepts II

Trying to show three dimensions using a two dimensional medium like photography is not easy.  Landscape photographers use various concepts to create the feeling of depth in their photographs.  Below are two such concepts with examples.

If you follow any Landscape photographers on Google+, flickr or other social network, you will see some patterns arise.  The one pattern I notice time and again is the use of an Anchor Point.  Moose Peterson explains it like this, “The anchor point is an item in the foreground that is in focus that the eye can lock on to and then wander out into the photograph.”  Below is a another photo of Sherman Falls from my Hamilton, Canada waterfall adventure.  Though it is easy to see what I used for the anchor point, I made sure there was no doubt I used one. 🙂

Sherman Falls near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Anchor point of a Landscape photograph.
Nikon D7100/Tokina 11-16mm, f/22, ISO 100, EV 0, 11mm (16.5mm DX) focal length, tripod, HDR Image.

The big rock was hard to miss as I walked up to the waterfall and immediately composed a few photos using it as the anchor point. If you go back to my previous blog, you will notice the use of anchor points in those photos, too.

A word about the HDR processing for this Sherman Falls image.  After I brought it into the Photomatix Pro plugin for Aperture 3, I found a black and white filter I really liked.  Except, it was black and white. I brought back the color saturation to 50% and liked how the color on the rock contrasted with the waterfall.  A little extra work in Apple Aperture 3.4 finished the image.

The next concept I call Small Subject, Big Landscape.  Moose refers to it as his favorite technique when photographing a small subject like a plant or small animal and include the environment in which it lives.  When reading about this, I immediately remembered the photo you see below. I took it in the North Dakota Badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  The red arrows indicate I was shooting over the small tree.  My focal point was one third into the frame at top of the tree which gave me the hyperfocal distance at f/22.

North Dakota Banlands from the Ridgeline Nature Trail in Theodore Roosevelt National Park near Medora, North Dakota.

Small Subject, Big Landscape concept.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/22, ISO 800, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

A little story to go with the Badlands photo.  Being an Easterner, I was not being very cautious when going down on one knee for this photo.  I found out fast to look for small cactus plants from there in out!

These two concepts along with last week’s blog post should get you started in improving your Landscape photography. If they helped, please, post a link to your blog or photo in the comments.

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7 Responses to Landscape Photography Concepts II

  1. Isabelle says:

    Very interesting technique, I see what you mean with “anchor point”. I will pay more attention with landscape photography.

    Thanks for your pictures, explanations and Moose Peterson’s link.


  2. Scott says:

    Nice work Scott! You should go on a long tour of the U.S. taking nothing but nature shots. Bravo!


  3. Great post Scott very valuable info here as well some great images !!


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