One thing I try and do more and more with landscapes, is take them with a telephoto lens instead of a wide angle. This may come naturally to some. But for me it took awhile to get used to. Wide angle lenses have always been my go to. I like the size and scale, with the disappearing horizons. But with a telephoto you get this cool effect known as lens compression. This is often referred to as tunnel vision. This is where the foreground and the background appear to get closer together. Quite the opposite of wide angles which push these two elements further away. The result can be epic. Like a mountain range appearing to be towering over a valley, when it could be miles away. Or in this case, a storm cloud sitting onto of the lake!
One neat thing to try is to also widen your aperture, as to single out a closer subject, while leaving your background slightly out of focus, and therefore appear further still. But yet close enough that it looks like you can still touch it.
As my Winter starts coming to a close, I start thinking about all the places I need to travel to get back my sanity! Winter can be fun… for a little while. Then you start going a little crazy with the cabin fever as we call it.
This morning I was thinking about this, as I need to find more and more places to take my kids. It was great travelling with just my wife for years. But now my kids have got to the age when leaving them behind is not really an option. Plus it’s cruel! And my son would die if he knew I was on an adventure without him 🙂
I remember when I told my dad (the original world traveller, with more than 200 countries under his belt!) that we were going to Peru a few years back. And he was so worried. He made us come over and talk about our plans to stay safe, and where we were travelling. He even made us watch a slideshow!!! I know what your thinking trust me… ;(
We found out once we arrived that his fears were unfounded. This country has dramatically changed since the “Dirty 80’s”, or so they are referred to. And the people were more than welcoming. Even in the quiet backroads that we found ourselves most days. I think the most important thing about travelling to unfamiliar countries where people don’t speak your language, is just have some common sense! Don’t go down that dark alley at night, don’t go to the bar at the end of the street with no street lights. You wouldn’t do that stuff at home would you? Maybe you would I don’t know. I’m from Canada, so it’s hard to find an unfriendly person 😉
I feel like no blog would be complete without a little slice of my home. Though not very interesting at times, you are bound to get the best shots of your life from your own backyard based on pure volume of shots. I find this to be more true the more I shoot.
This one was a case of sitting at home watching the weather get worse and worse. Then my wonderful wife Diana says to me, “Hey it looks like a storms coming, why don’t you go outside and take some pics?” She knows me very well 😉 And she was right!
I tried really hard to get one of those great lighting strike shots you only hope for in your career. And I didn’t… But I still sat out there for a good 3 hours watching the storm come in, and paint the sky all sorts of wonderful golden colours. Rainbows, and every sort of nasty looking cloud you could ask for.
I also want to speak a little about composition in this one. When it comes to composition of a landscape image, it can be very difficult. Especially when your subject is something like the sky.
Here I tried to use the hay bales to my advantage. I walked around them, shooting from all sorts of angles trying to get it just right. Trying to keep focus on the wonderful shapes of the clouds, and the colours that complemented the grass so well.
Where Utah meets Arizona is a magical place. Full of amazing rock formation that have the most otherworldly look to them. Getting to some of them to take a great pic was a more challenging thing than I realized when I first planned my trip there. And for someone from Canada, it was hotter than I anticipated. A lot hotter!
This shot was something of an anomaly for me as a landscape photographer. Normally my process involves setting up my tripod, spending some time focusing and working the exposure, and finally, taking a few bracketed shots to blend later.
Here I did none of those things. This shot involved nothing more than a good camera strap, and me hanging out a car window going 75mph down the highway… Not recommended. But when you see the shot you want, I suggest you take it. Even if it means pushing your iso to 2000 in the middle of the day.