The Challenge Of An Unfamiliar Landscape

In this post I want to share with you how I approach the challenge of a new unfamiliar landscape, very different from what I am used to.

A Study In Colours - Volume ThirteenShort version, don’t get distracted by the new environment, take a deep breath, remind yourself that all the basics still apply, a weak composition is still a weak composition, clipped highlights are still clipped highlights.

Long version, keep on reading.

After an 8 hours drive, I find myself with my family at a very beautiful location in Värmland, in the middle of the vast woods not far from Torsby

If you take a look at a map, you will see that this mainly is a wooded area with some lakes. The dense forest is dominated by pine trees and birches, it’s impossible to find a scene without trees in the background. Why is this an issue?

It’s very hard to get separation between the elements in the composition which is crucial for the reasons mentioned in this quote.

“In landscape images, the result of not separating the elements sufficiently can be a lack of depth in the composition” – Bauer, Hoddinott

Another issue is the vast dynamic range, not only is the sky very bright, the dense areas of pines is quite dark with deep shadows, even during the daytime. Setting the exposure issue aside, this leads to very dramatic, intense scenes. Not at all what I’m after, I want a subtle peaceful atmosphere.

The solution ? Find a evenly lit scene that allows for separation between the elements. Be prepared to deviate from your preferred camera angle, I typically don’t like shooting in a downward angle. Don’t be discouraged by the fact that you feel that ‘there’s nothing here’, keep at it. Learn to ignore the bugs that bite you. Stay focused, if only for a short while. It’s better to shoot focused for a short while than to stay on it for hours if the conditions are difficult. If your energy drained, nothing good will come out of it.

The photo in this post would not have worked if I had let the poles in the foreground break the horizon line created by the forest in the background, there would have been no separation between the elements. You find a high resolution photo in this portfolio together with EXIF.

I must say that I’m very pleased with the end result, abstract with a hint of reality, what I refer to as impressionist photography.

Presumptuous perhaps but that is how I see it. What do you think ?

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Thank you for your time.

Fujifilm X-E2
Fujifilm XF 35mm 1.4 R

Lightroom CC
Photoshop CC

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