Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Power of Perspective

Portraying depth in photos can be difficult, but it is what makes landscape photography captivating. A camera can't take in the whole view like our eyes can, making it hard to capture the overwhelming beauty of a landscape. Using features of similar sizes like trees or animals can help put the size of your landscape into perspective. It is best to arrange objects (size cues) from largest to smallest and on diagonal plane that lead up to the image's center of interest. Using wide angle lenses can increase the perceived distance between your size cues creating a feeling of deep space, while telephoto lenses do the opposite by narrowing in on the cues. Position your camera close to your camera, until you find the best height and angle to capture the image you want. Use a slow exposure and wide aperture to capture all the detail within the frame. Take your time because trial and error will eventually lead to your ideal image and remember to use a cable shutter release so you don't bump your camera system during the long exposure.
Overlapping elements in your photo can create striking images or if done poorly can ruin them. Choose subjects with contrasting colors, different line directions and varying brightness and shapes. Utilizing sidelight accentuates shadows and helps bring out size cues and textures. Shooting in hazy situations like fog or dust can bring out the detail of close objects but will obscure distant ones. With all this considered it is best to look for five planes within your landscape photo. First the foreground with interesting details and size cues to set up perspective. Next comes the midground with well defined size cues leading towards the main feature of the photo. The feature plane shows the main subject of the image. The cloud plane is the forth, look for big puffy expressive clouds. The sky forms the fifth plane and depending on the time of day can vary in color. Capturing all of these planes will create an image projecting an endless deep space.

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