Loon Island Light.
This past Sunday morning, really, really early in the morning, long before the sun was even close to rising, I ventured out onto New Hampshire’s frozen and windy Lake Sunapee. I, along with two camera wielding friends, Garrett Evans, and Tony Baldasaro were out to photograph a lighthouse under the stars. Nothing adds that little extra something to your lighthouse photos like adding the Milky Way to the mix.
It was cold and windy, so windy Tony had to chase down my camera bag, with my Canon 17-40 and 70-200 lenses inside it, as it blew across the lake. Thanks, Tony! if I had been out there alone I’d still be looking for it.
Not long after the rescue of the runaway camera bag, the wind decided that it was time to blow over my tripod. With my camera on it, lucky me! The camera survived without a scratch, my Tokina 11-16 on the other hand is no longer the pristine lens it used to be. Fortunately it’s still alive and kicking, with but one small battle scar from its sudden encounter with the lake ice.
While my lens took a beating, and my stars aren’t quite the pin points I’d like them to be, all in all it was a very good night to be out on the ice and under the starry night sky.
The view at 4,802′.
There are 48 peaks on the official list of New Hampshire summits with an elevation of over 4,000 feet. Mount Moosilauke is #10 on that list. “The Moose,” is also the western most peak to be included on the list, and one I had yet to climb.
My reward for the effort, a snowshoe hike on a gorgeous brilliant winter afternoon under a clear blue sky, was to watch the sun as it set over windswept mountains and a moonlit hike back to the car.
fades to blue.
The First Rule.
One of the first “Rules” of photography that most people learn when first starting out is the Rule Of Thirds.
When composing a photograph, visualize a grid across the scene, dividing it into thirds vertically and horizontally. Just like in a game of tic-tac-toe. For a more dynamic composition you should place your main subject at one of the intersections of these imaginary lines or along one of the lines themselves.
You should avoid placing your subject dead center in the frame. In the case of landscape photos you should also avoid placing the horizon through the center of the frame, placing it instead on or near one of the imaginary horizontal lines either 1/3 up from the bottom or 1/3 down from the top.
Pretty simple, right?
Then break it.
Photography rules were made to be broken.
In this case, due to the Symmetry of the reflection, placing the horizon line perfectly centered in the frame works quite well.
What other instances can you think of where you can break the Rule Of Thirds and still make a good photograph? What about using symmetry in your compositions?
Just how grand is that landscape anyway?
So what’s a photographer to do?
Simple, by incorporating something of a known size, like a person or a building into your photos you’re more easily able to give viewers a sense of scale in your image.
The fly fisherman standing in his canoe helps to give an idea of just how tall the granite cliffs along the shore of Stonehouse Pond are. (Can’t see him? Click on the image to see a larger version and look for the fisherman along the far shore towards the right side of the image).
Mt. Washington is the tallest peak in the northeast. Having my friend Glen, seen here taking a break on our way to the summit last July, gives an idea of just how big the mountain is. And how much farther we have to go before we reach the summit.
Here’s another shot of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, (the peak in the center of the frame), shown with the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Joe Dodge Lodge in the lower foreground. The lodge, the cars in the parking lot, as well as the roadway all provide scale to the mountains looming over them.
People and buildings aren’t the only thing to use to give a sense of scale. Anything of a commonly known size will work.
For more interpretations of this weeks Weekly Photo Challenge, click HERE.
We see the world around us in three dimensions, unfortunately our camera does not. Trying to convey the depth and dimension our eyes see with the two dimensional medium of photography can often leave the final image looking flat, without depth.
Fortunately, by using a few simple tricks when composing your photos you can effectively create the illusion of depth in your landscape images.
I like to use converging lines, both subtle and obvious, to create perceived depth in my compositions. In the photo above I used a rather winding interpretation of converging lines to help create the illusion of depth.
The waterfall and granite stream bank, very wide and taking up the entire foreground, then gets progressively more narrow while leading the eye deeper into the frame, eventually converging at the point where it disappears into the forest.
Railroad tracks as they appear to come together in the distance are another more obvious example of converging lines.
Place The Foreground In Shadow.
I’ve found that by photographing with the camera in the vertical, more commonly referred to at the “portrait” camera position, can help create depth. Include a strong foreground, leading lines, and by placing the main subject in the upper third of the photo works really well to bring out the depth in a scene.
What tricks do you use to create the illusion of depth in your photos? In the mean time, check out these other interpretations of Depth.
Your Photographs Are You.
The photographs you make are unique.
No matter the location, they are a piece of you.
Ten, a hundred, a thousand times, regardless of how often a place as been seen through a lens, the pictures you make will be different.
A small part of everything you are, the life you’ve lead up until the moment you press the shutter, will become the photograph.
Find inspiration in others, visit the iconic places, photograph uniquely.