Mono Landscape

..but cold. Can you see it’s cold?

Why? Because it’s bright and snowy, and a little blue (“cold”, even in photographer’s terms – which by the way are opposite to physicist’s terms).

Can you also see:

  • Negative Space (much empty space to emphasize the animals’ isolation)
  • The rule of thirds (“off-centre composition”)

Back to the light. To get that brightness, I had to increase exposure compensation to +1.7 stops. To get the colour, I had to choose the right white balance.

Conversely, a little later I wanted the background to be darker. I decreased exposure compensation, to minus one or two stops. That gave me this:

Michael in Mono

Yup. Me. And a few minutes later:

Mono Winter Sunset

You see, lower brightness means more saturated colours (saturated means “not mixed with white light”).

And of course my speedlight is on the camera, to throw a little light onto the foreground. You would expect nothing less from the speedlighter.

I hope many of you can take similar landscape pictures this season.

Scale and grandeur

It is important to add both a sense of scale and a sense of grandeur to landscape photos.

You add grandeur by using a wide lens and getting close to something (even the ground). That shows the size.

And you add scale by helping the viewer. Adding people is a common technique, as I did in this image of Sedona, AZ, in December last year:

Sedona, AZ

Sedona, AZ

You need to see that image real size to really see it (click through, then select full size). And that brings me to today’s last tip: make it big. Large prints are sooo much better than 4×6 prints.

Piece it together

I have mentioned this before: the need to have your audience piece things together themselves.

One way is to use selective depth of field. Like in this snap from a recent outing in Mono Cliffs Provincial Park:

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, photo Michael Willems

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park

You see the apple first, then a blurred out view of the photographer, then you figure out what it is, then you slowly see what’s happening.

This snap also shows the benefit of wide angle lenses. As does this:

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park 2, photo Michael Willems

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park 2

Depth! And I also used a bit of flash, with a half CTO gel.

And one more, finally: colleague Joseph Marranca in the park at the lookout point. Also shot with a little fill flash with a half CTO gel, with the camera’s white balance set to flash. After first exposing properly for the background, of course.

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park 3, photo Michael Willems

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park 3

What we are doing there? tracing out  the route for the upcoming Nature Walk course!

All those shots were taken with a wide angle lens. Wide meaning 16mm (or 10mm if you have a  “crop factor” digital camera, i.e. one that is not “full frame”). Wide angles rock.