Sunday, April 15, 2012

P37: ways of dramatising a landscape

To answer the question posed by this project I have looked back into my library of holiday photos, all taken in the tropics.  Vacations have been good opportunities for me to experiment with my visual style and I generally produce photos that are very different from my usual set, sometimes terribly cliched, sometimes oddly creative, mostly rather banal.  However, one thing I do try to achieve is drama.  The places we go to are full of visual drama, part of the reason why we go there, although technically it is the underwater drama we are seeking.

As we head off once more to Borneo in 3 weeks using those tropical images for this project is also a retrospective of some of my better images and an element of preparation for shooting the next set.  So rather than supply an imaginary example I will supply a real example:

Inherently Spectacular Subjects - What can be more spectacular than the pure form of a volcanic cone shrouded in low level cloud

Extreme Wide Angle (FF 24mm) - Used to capture the internal architecture of this Singapore Shopping Mall

Extreme telephoto (FF 480mm) - The telephoto enables compression of planes with a shallow depth of feild enabling the foreground subject to pop in the frame

Rich colours at sunset or sunrise

Unusual Composition - without a waterproof camera this shot would not be possible, ir provides a perspective on the boat from below rather than the typical above

Back Lighting

Isolation of a feature against the skyline - Usually a tree on a hill side, these trees slowly being overwhelmed by the sea made an interesting subject

Use of a strong foreground shape against a background

A one figure to emphasize the expanse of the landscape - could have been smaller

Moon Rise reflecting in a shallow lagoon

Minimalism - simple composition emphasizing the light

Weather - A downpour in a tropical rainforest

Macro - Not technically landscape, but adding to the landscape narrative

Compression of Planes - In the city shooting with a medium telephoto


City Skyline at Night  - the Singapore business district and Boat Key

Artificial Light - and reflections in the water

Over-Under shot - hard to do well and even harder to process after the fact.  This adds an unusual perspective and a sense of being in the photo

Under Water Landscape - With visibility not normally more than 30-40m and in this case no more than 20, convincing underwater landscapes are hard to create, this is one of few that I really think presents the mystery of a coral reef

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