Posted by Mark Esposito | Posted in Clouds, Composition, Southwest | Posted on 18-05-2009
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of clouds in Landscape Photography. When I started out doing Landscape I thought blue skies were the best. I guess if you’re used to boring overcast clouds of whitish-grey, the saturation of a blue sky is really pleasing to the eye. However, artistically, it becomes a large space with nothing interesting to hold your attention.
If you’re shooting Macro, these clouds are just what you needed as they diffuse the light leaving no harsh shadows and good saturation. Usually with Macro photography we aren’t including the sky in the photo anyway.
On the other hand, not all Landscape photos need the sky. Take a look at the photo of Spiderock in my earlier blog post here. The overcast sky took away from the mood I wanted to portray, so I left it out. I had to clone in some dark grasses (in Photoshop) in a small strip at the top. (not shown)
Finally, here’s an example from my recent trip to Arizona. The site is called Church Rock. As great as Church Rock is, the clouds made the composition. I used Nikon’s super wide-angle lens Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 to exaggerate the clouds. I’m printing this on Epson Exhibition Fiber paper, which has super bright whites. Printed at 16×24, or even cropped at 16×20 it’s really beautiful.
More Info on Clouds
Wikipedia has a short article on clouds that might be helpful here.
I just ordered the following book on Amazon since it had some good reviews, and it’s inexpensive.
Click on the image to order it.
Posted by Mark Esposito | Posted in Composition, Light | Posted on 11-05-2009
Just got back from the Photography Workshop in Arizona and Utah. Had a great time getting to know Alain and Natalie, and some very good sites that I hope to return to many times. For me this trip was a real test for my Nikon D3 and lenses. I wasn’t sure how well they would do for this kind of Landscape, shooting at f16, with tripod and remote shutter release. I say this because the prevailing belief seems to be that you need Medium Format to do justice to a great Landscape. I’m sure that 40 Megapixels makes a difference, especially when printing at very large sizes. However, the image below prints beautifully at 12×18, and can easily go much larger. If Art is the goal, and not just sharpness for sharpness sake, the D3 at 12 Megapixels did just fine with the right lens, f-stop, and Mirror-up. :^}
Spiderock turned out to be the most dramatic (for me) due to some great light just before sunset one night. I’m not kidding when I say that this light lasted 10 seconds. Once again it shows that the first hurdle in Landscape photography is just being there. Sounds easy, but being there at the right time often means 6:00am and 8:00pm, when most folks are sleeping or resting after dinner. Add to that a hike to get to the best location and you can see the commitment that it takes.
Let me know what you think of it by leaving a comment! Soon I’ll have a link to purchase a high quality print of this image.
Technical Details: Nikon D3, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, 1/30 sec, ISO 200 @f16
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