Just sharing some landscape shots

Started Oct 25, 2013 | Photos thread
yvind Strm Veteran Member • Posts: 4,130
Re: Just sharing some landscape shots

Thanks for sharing shots of some beautiful scenery. In general, I think you need to simplify your pictures. Most of them are loaded with things that I would call distractions, and lack a clear point of interest.

I think you run into a classic trap. With your obvious love of nature, you forget to turn off that affection when you judge the scene and raise your camera.

My philosophy is:

  • choose what to photograph with your heart.
  • decide how to photograph it with your creative part of the brain (POV, direction of light etc)
  • compose and execute with the logical part of the brain.

If affection isn´t turned off, you deny your brain the opportunity to find an interesting way to make the shot. If affection isn´t turned off, you deny your brain the opportunity to compose properly. Composition is all geometry. You will not be able to eliminate all the distractions, because you will never discover them, as your eyes will not wander around in the viewfinder looking for them.

And, when you come home, if the affection is still there, so you do not see the flaws, just the memory of a great scene.

I have tried to give some critique on each picture, and some general advice at the end. Remember, this is only my opinion. Use it or disregard it. My comments does not mean the pictures are bad, just that they can be improved.

Rutgerbus wrote:

All with D700 + Nikkor 24-70 f.2.8 except the first one which was taken with D80 + Nikkor 18-200 VRI
Hope you like them. (ps. I like saturated colors)

Exposure is fine, maybe a little dark. I find the picture too crowded. The ice in the foreground is quite dominating without justification. The ice on the right also does not add anything to the picture. Forget the see and the sun. Ice with low sun over water- yawn. It has been done before. Here it adds nothing to the picture. The interesting parts are the broken ice in center and to the left. These lines could make for some interesting possibilities.

Hmm. You introduce a compositional line with the river, but it leads the eye nowhere. The point of interest, is the clouds and the reflection. All the weed kind of distracts.

I have problems with the composition in this one. Probably because you do not tell me what the main subject of you picture is. The eye is drawn to the lightest part, the small stream, but it leads nowhere. Too many other things competing for attention, but none being interesting. There are interesting lines in the sky, some mist in the background, trees overlapping, a strange lonely fence.

The foreground, being of no interest, also draws attention, with the contrast parts.

Exposure is fine.

I think you need to consider more what you want to show. The early morning feel - then simplify and get rid of all the distractions. A subject? Move closer, isolate it and again, eliminate distractions.

Fascinating scene, but I think you should crop this heavily. The interesting parts are in the center. If any of the lights in the dark area remains after cropping, clone them out. Tripod is vital, the blurred horizon is distracting.

Beautiful scene, but I think the foreground is too crowded. Not sure what you want with that bench. I find it distracting. If it has a role, you need to place it against a lighter background. And get rid of all the weed/grass in front of it.

Next thing is that the camera POV is a bit to low, so that the tops of the trees at right is entering into the darker parts of the background. It does strange things to the foreground/background perception, and destroys the depth.

Its also a question if you are including too much here. The eye falls on the mountain first, and that is fine, as its the most important part. But when the eye starts to wander around, it finds nothing to rest at (apart form the bench), and nothing really supporting the mountain, in color or shape. Its like two different worlds.


If you want, try this "checklist". Until these things becomes second nature, do use a tripod as often as practical. Tripods do miracles with composition.

  • determine what the main point of interest (MPOI) is
  • determine direction of light (existing light? artificial light, fill?)
  • determine POV (low? high? normal?)
  • make sure that MPOI is well separated from the background - to stand out
  • place it somewhere in the viewfinder, but not just anywhere. Check "the golden rule", center it if you want calmness. Be prepared to adjust due to the next steps
  • see if you can find supporting elements. The eye loves repetitions - in color or shape. It could also be items that supports a story. They also need to be separated from background.
  • Adjust composition to suit MPOI and supporting elements.
  • force your eye to examine the viewfinder for distracting objects. Everything that do not add to the composition is distracting, and must be eliminated. Your tools are change of POV, lens, focus/DOF, lighting/exposure, scissors/chainsaw and postproduction. It sounds strange, but this is where a tripod really help, in several ways.
  • DOublecheck that there is no distractions just outside the viewfinder, if your viefinder is less than 100%.
  • make sure lighting matches what you want. Add fill if needed. Use gobos if possible.
  • make sure focus is appropriate (to me, focus is a compositional tool)
  • take care of WB. Remember that the eye/brain are operating on AWB, so you do not really know the WB of the scene. I prefer not to use AWB.
  • Take the shot
  • Review, and look for flaws, either at site or at home.
  • Discuss the image with knowledgeable peers. You will get few usable comments on most forums.
  • And train, train, train.

Why does the tripod help with composition?

  • You fix the framing. Easier to identify distracting elements just outside the viewfinder.
  • You get your hands free to arrange extra lights, physically remove distractions (scissors, chainsaw)
  • Most important, when you do not need to hold the camera, strangely enough, it is easier to look for distractions. When holding the camera, the eye only sees the center (until you know you have to force it to look elsewhere)
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Photographic Moments

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Kind regards

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