How do I make Beautiful Landscapes?
Many authors have written on this subject. The internet is jam-packed full of great blogs, articles and tutorials on how to photograph landscapes. So much has been written about equipment, the rules of composition, how to expose for a better dynamic range, foreground interest, the golden hour and so forth. The mere fact that so much had been written and I am writing even more, supports the fact that landscape photography is not as easy as we would think it ought to be.
The Essence of a Landscape
I believe the first thing we tend to overlook is that our experience of a landscape is often a full sensory experience…. We see (in 3D), we smell, we hear, we physically feel temperatures and textures, sometimes we even taste and we certainly have some or other emotional response to the landscape or scene we are experiencing. We then record all of this on a two dimensional medium and experience a sense of not having captured the essence of what we had seen.
Ansel Adams said: “Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer, and often the supreme disappointment.” I cannot recall if I ever knew the context in which he made this statement and I will not make any assumptions relating to that, however I would like to borrow this quote to bring across the point I am trying to make. We often are left feeling disappointed with our landscape images because we have failed to capture the essence of the landscape, the essence being that very “something” that inspired us to make the image in the first place.