Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:
[Landscape] Traditional Landscape: Shoot a beautiful landscape and share it with the world. Find a nice foreground and don't forget the sky.
The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.
I find composition to be very hard with landscapes and cliffs. The hard lines of the cliff and horizon can cut off the space and make it feel cramped - the opposite of what I was feeling during the shot... hanging 100 feet off the ground. I did a lot of post-processing and cropping to get the feeling of 'space' in this photo.
Joseph: This is a really cool shot. Immediately it's enticing because it's clear that this isn't the sort of place that most people can access. It inspires some respect both for the majesty of the autumn forest sprawling out below and the risk and skill required to get this perspective on it. I think intensifying that aspect would be a way to improve the shot, too. I'd like to see your hand, or the wall nearest you as part of a frame for the landscape stretching away. It'd contextualize this view in the very personal effort it took to reach the top and could help to enhance the sense of scale through comparison. I'd also experiment with more sky in these photos. Right now, though it's not really a subject, the tree nearest you takes up a lot of space. Filling that with open, endless sky would pull away from the trees a bit, sure, but open up the image even more.
This picture took some work. A 5 mile hike with the sun setting rapidly and a camera battery that died. Unfortunately, I didn't get the landscape image I had planned on (think beautiful sunset on top of a mountain) but I was able to capture the eerie solitude of the autumn forest. It was tricky getting the lighting right. I had to bump my ISO up pretty high because of the shade. I took a reading at the darkest part of the image, increased the shutter speed and played with the exposure compensation.
I've been looking at/reading about making landscape photos more interesting, and one thing I've been consciously trying to include are triangles. In this case, the leading lines toward the sign in the foreground make two nice triangles which then blend into the background textures.
I've been doing a lot of climbing lately. In this shot, I captured some free climbers in the foreground against the fall colors in the backdrop. A relaxing day at climbing at the park.
Megan: What a great shot! I wonder if it was shot from a lower height if more focus would be brought to the rock and climbers. I find my eye is bouncing around the image trying to find a spot to rest. I love the colors and the mountain in the mid ground has a nice flow to it. Lastly, I wish the mountains in the backgrounds were a little darker. I'm not sure how exactly due to the cloud coverage that day.
The last week I was mostly stuck in Boston, though I tried to get out to the Blue Hills at least. Instead, I shot three (actually more like 9) landscape scenes of the type that I see every day. I'm providing all three to provide an idea of what I was editing from, but this low-light shot of a park near my house was best because of the silhouetted couple. It's hard to give a landscape photo a strong subject. I don't think this is a great example of one, but I think it draws the eye well. I also like the unnatural looking lighting (actually just a big lamp on the building behind me) and the large amount of negative space it produced.
Also, digital cameras are insane—this was shot at ISO 12500! The cloudless sky is undoubtedly noisy, but it also reveals stars which weren't visible by the naked eye against the city lights. ISO 12500 film would spontaneously catch fire at just the sound of a shuttersnap.
Zinnia: "Great shot! I really like the contrast of a brighter foreground against the silhouettes of the landscape in the background--cool effect. Maybe the brightness could be toned down slightly in the front/mid-section of the photo to help drawn the viewer's eyes more towards the silhouette of the couple rather than the bright foreground. I also like the choice of black/white to enhance the atmosphere of the picture--really brings out the simplicity and tranquility of going on an evening stroll. Nice work."
There was a landscape artist that I really liked -- that I can't Google at the moment to find on the fly -- that would capture one natural moment, where a static landscape came alive dynamically and vibrantly through the people experiencing it. I'm going through a phase right now in my photography where I really love capturing a beautiful place in all the different ways that it can be explored, in a moment there you can aim your camera at a waterfall or a big rock and see 5 different tiny events going on, each telling its own quiet story. Here's one part of a larger waterfall, a scene in a larger act of nature. By the way, one of our group members is in the photo, which he might dislike, but it's his own fault for exploring in front of my camera.