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.
A few years back, at the start of my photographic journey, we took an incredible trip to China. We travelled to three different corners of this amazing country, and met some fantastic people, and learned a lot!
One place in particular was the Southern edge of what I like to call tropical China. It’s very jungly and temperate. And where you will find the amazing karst mountain ranges. This is where you find all those great pics of fisherman, fishing with their cormorant birds on little Phoenix bamboo rafts. The perfect mix of tourism and old world locked in an eternal struggle. The fisherman get so much attention from their practice, that they are not interested in progressing beyond the old ways. Which personally I hope never changes because it’s pretty amazing! And the Chinese do have a habit of getting carried away with things 😉
I’m not one for cruises. But I have tot say, spending the day floating down the Li river was pretty high on my list of great experiences. Snake wine and all. The place is very feng shui with water meeting rising bamboo, and the super tall mountains. Really is like no place I have ever been before. And a welcome change to the bustling cities we have become used to on our trip thus far.
On a list of places you always read about but never get to visit, Monument Valley Arizona certainly topped my list. And it turns out that I got there just in time for some amazing clouds as a storm was rolling through. Which I hear is very rare.
And the people you meet in these places can be equally as fascinating. One such Japanese man struck my friend and I particularly interesting. He didn’t speak English, but he was taking photos, and we had that understanding that comes along with that. And we were certainly waiting for the same thing. The Golden hour seemed like it was going to be an amazing one. But with the storm, and the clouds, the window was getting narrower, and we could see the disappointment forming on his face.
When the clouds did break, there was about 10 minutes to get as many shots as possible with this great light blasting in from the side. Lighting up the red rocks in way we could have only hoped for. But when it was done you could see in our new friends face that he was not satisfied. We dubbed him the saddest man in America. It was even more impactful because he couldn’t convey it in words. But at least we able to make a connection and brighten his day a little. I hope 😮
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.