Embracing The “Hand Of Man” In Your Nature And Landscape Photography
Nature and nothing but, doesn’t always make the best image.
With few exceptions, I try to avoid anything man-made in my nature and landscape photographs. I want the natural beauty of the scene to be the star of the show, without the distraction of mans handy-work. Since I live in New England and man has had in impact on the land for a few hundred years now, that isn’t always easy to do. From old stone walls and dirt paths made by the earliest settlers, to the wooden boardwalk at some of New Hampshire’s many scenic tourist destinations, the presence of man’s impact on the landscape is clear. I have tried repeatedly to exclude these man-made objects from my images, to create as natural an image as possible, often with less than stellar results.
So I gave up trying, sometimes.
I went to Shannon Brook at The Castle In The Clouds in Moultonboro, NH, specifically to make this photograph for last weeks theme of “How do you get from point A to point B?” as part of the Lens Pro To Go 52 Week Photo Project. While I was setting up and taking a few test images I had what I call a “Eureka! moment.” I go to Shannon Brook and the Castle In The Clouds specifically for the waterfalls. But every time I go I do my very best to exclude the boardwalk and railings along the walkways to the falls. While sitting below the Falls Of Song, making this photo, it struck me like a slap to the head, take my feet out of the frame and you’ve got yourself a pretty darn good photo. Even if the boardwalk and railing can be seen in the background.
If you can’t beat them, join them.
My initial plan was to make my photo project photo and head right back home. Once I realized that I liked what I was seeing on my camera’s lcd, I decided to stick around a while. There are many other waterfalls on Shannon Brook, but the Falls Of Song is my favorite and I have tried repeatedly to photograph it well. It is also the hardest of the falls to photograph without showing any of the walkways and railings that were put in for both safety and easier access. Here are a few of the images where I decided to embrace the “Hand Of Man.”
While I still prefer my nature and landscape images to be “Au-Naturale,” when that isn’t possible I intend to explore compositions that include the man-made elements in the scene, making them something to work with in creating the composition, and not something to fight with and possibly come away with a less than successful photograph.