Erez Marom: On causality in landscape photography
Causality is the relationship between cause and effect – and in landscape photography, this dynamic can help you tell a story, beyond the conventional structures of composition and color.
Considering causality in a landscape image can have a number of advantages. First of all, including a visual indication of cause and effect can provide a through-line, within the composition of an image. Imagine a light source - mostly the sun or the moon in nature photography - on one side of the frame and the light or shadow it casts on the other side. This simple visual element does a great deal to connect the different sections of the image, and the different compositional elements on a higher level than just symmetry or balance.
Causality also adds interest. Images are comprised of several levels. The basic foundational structure is the composition. Beyond that, there’s brightness, color, contrast and similar traits, which bring the compositional elements to life by articulating the more delicate visual intricacies of the photographed subject/s.
Including a cause and effect dynamic can add another level in this hierarchy: not only there are interesting elements and good colors, there’s a story. Story-telling can be hard to achieve in landscape photography, but inclusion of a cause/effect dynamic can immediately introduce a different level of content. Picture an image which includes sun rays and a glacier melting into a river. Maybe it's just a pretty picture, but maybe you're telling a story about the threat of global warming.
|The sun, reflected on the walls of this ice cave, is what caused it to form. This image tells the story of the glacial melting, and the inclusion of the cause and its effect enriches the picture's visual appeal.|
The final way that a case and effect dynamic can contribute to an image is by what might be called imagined causality: the inclusion of elements which don’t affect each other in real life, but which are placed in such a way that the viewer is encouraged to imagine they might be related.
Take for example the image of Quiver Tree Forest, Namibia at night (above). I call the image 'Phototaxis', which is the movement of an organism toward a source of light. Needless to say, the Milky Way isn’t what draws the quiver trees to grow upward, but composing them in this way, using the ultra-wide angle lens to cause them to tilt toward the center of the image, all together with the image’s title, encourage the viewer to imagine the trees being drawn to it.
The quiver trees are thereby humanized, and the anthropomorphism makes the viewer identify and feel a deeper emotional connection to the trees and to the image as a whole, which is turn achieves our goal as photographers: having the viewer look at the image a bit more carefully, and take meaning from it.
Erez Marom is a professional nature photographer, photography guide and traveler based in Israel. You can follow Erez's work on Instagram, Facebook and 500px, and subscribe to his mailing list for updates.
If you'd like to experience and shoot some of the most fascinating landscapes on earth with Erez as your guide, you're welcome to take a look at his unique photography workshops around the world:
Land of Ice - Southern Iceland
Winter Paradise - Northern Iceland
Northern Spirits - The Lofoten Islands
Giants of the Andes and Fitz Roy Hiking Annex - Patagonia
Tales of Arctic Nights - Greenland
Saga of the Seas and The Far Reaches Annex - The Faroe Islands
Desert Storm - Namibia
Selected Articles by Erez Marom:
- Parallelism in Landscape Photography
- Behind the Shot: Dark Matter
- Mountain Magic: Shooting in the Lofoten Islands
- Behind the Shot: Nautilus
- Behind the Shot: Lost in Space
- Behind the Shot: Spot the Shark
- Quick Look: The Art of the Unforeground
- Whatever it Doesn't Take
- Winds of Change: Shooting changing landscapes
- On the Importance of Naming Images
|Well Hello There by evancj|
from My Best Photo of the Week
|Normally Amsterdam by Rudolph Arnstein|
from Your City - Biking
|laboratory glass by bombelpl|
|57 BelAir Chevorlet by TexasGal|
from Car Shows 2018
Parent company Longsys has announced that Lexar will be back "in full production" and shipping globally this fall.
Owners of V-mount Hasselblad lenses will now be able to use their modern and historic glass on the front of the Hasselblad X1D. The XV adapter hinted at late last year has now been officially announced and will cost €199 / $249 / £179.
Scottish whisky producer Macallen has teamed up with photographic cooperative Magnum Photos to create a single malt whisky in collaboration with Steve McCurry, Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin, Mark Power, Gueorgui Pinkhassov and Alec Soth.
The photography competition seeks "pictures that show the importance of health in society and the impact health issues have on people and communities worldwide."
Nikon has posted another teaser video for its upcoming full-frame mirrorless system featuring some classic Nikkor lenses. Perhaps the most notable thing about the video is the lens that's shown first...
Following the CES 2017 announcement of its revival, Kodak Alaris has started shipping test rolls of its new Ektachrome to photographers for beta testing.
Take an inside look at the work that goes into testing Nikon cameras from drops, dust, water and debris. There were definitely cameras harmed in the making of this video.
In a press release issued this morning, Sony announced it has sold more full-frame cameras than any other brand in the US over the past six months, measured both by units sold and by value.
Yuneec has introduced the Mantis Q, a consumer drone with an integrated 4K camera, electronic image stabilization and voice control.
The new 3 Legged Thing Patti is a compact tripod that doesn't break the bank.
Alex and Kathryn are photographers, friends and Tokyo residents who love exploring Japan's hidden cultural treasures. They each brought a Canon EOS M50 on a recent trip starting in bustling Tokyo and ending in the peaceful riverside town of Gujo Hachiman.
The triple-camera in Samsung's 2019 Galaxy S10 smartphone is expected to use three sensors with varying pixel counts.
Net SE, the parent company behind the likes of Oprema Jena, Meyer Optik Görlitz, Emil Busch, C.P. Goerz, Ihagee and A. Schacht products has filed for bankruptcy and removed itself from the German stock exchange.
Canon's latest 70-200mm F4L comes with a five stops of image stabilization, a new coat of paint and impressive sharpness. We've been shooting with our copy for several weeks now - see how it stacks up in our sample gallery.
Special 4K and 6K Photo modes may be one of the most under-appreciated features on recent cameras. In this week's episode, Chris and Jordan take a closer look at these modes and explain why – and when – you'll be glad to have them on your camera.
Ten years ago this month Panasonic and Olympus announced a new concept called Micro Four Thirds. We're now on the brink of full-frame mirrorless from at least one major player, so perhaps it's a good time to take a look back at where it all started – and how far we've come.
Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography breaks down five 'hacks' for organizing your camera equipment.
The City of Redding has published a series of aerial images showing the devastation caused by the ongoing Carr Fire in Shasta County, California.
Sigma full-frame Art lenses are finally available in Sony E-mount. Here's how the 85mm F1.4 Art looks on an a7R III and a7 III.
Sigma is now shipping the FE versions of its 14mm F1.8 DG HSM, 70mm F2.8 DG MACRO, and 135mm F1.8 DG HSM Art lenses that were announced in February.
We got some quick hands-on time with Samsung's newest, biggest Galaxy smartphone at the company's launch event. Here are the most noteworthy camera features we uncovered.
Leica has released the Elpro 52, a close-up lens adapter that works 3with more than 20 Leica M and TL lenses.
Nikon has released yet another teaser video for its full-frame mirrorless camera set to be announced August 23rd.
At a high-profile launch event in New York, Samsung took the wraps off its next Note device. The Galaxy Note 9 borrows the S9+'s 12MP dual-aperture dual-cam, with OIS in both cameras and an emphasis on AI-enhanced shooting modes.
One of the most keenly-awaited lenses for a while, the new Pentax D FA* 50mm F1.4 is finally here, and we've been using it for a few days. In this article, we're updating our initial impressions on the basis of our recent shooting with the K-1 II.
AirSelfie2 boasts longer flight times, a higher resolution camera and more built-in memory than its predecessor.
In 2016, Samsung launched a prohibitively expensive 4TB SSD. This week it revealed that it has started mass producing a less expensive variant.
At max speed, the Epson FastFoto FF-680W can scan a photo every second at 300dpi.