Landscape Photography @en Macro photography photographing event rul Steve Gosling

‘BREAKING THE RULES’ (PART TWO)

In this second part of my ‘Breaking the Rules’ article I proceed to discover (and challenge) a number of the rules surrounding panorama images. The article was initially prompted by my experience of giving talks and operating photographic workshops the world over. I’ve been struck through the years by the variety of photographers I meet who appear hampered or constrained by the necessity to adhere to so-called ‘rules’; beneath strain to evolve to a set of expectations (or myths) that had been fed to them about what they should or shouldn’t be doing.

Rule 7 – Extensive-angle lenses are greatest for panorama images

Learn any photographic journal article or web site on landscape images and invariably you’ll be suggested to buy/use a wide-angle lens. Usually, it’s good recommendation as they are nice for pictures with robust foregrounds & lead in strains as well as enabling superb depth of subject.

Rule 7 A Question of Time
Rule 7 A Query of Time

But they can be troublesome to make use of. For example, additional care have to be taken with composition or the photographs can end up wanting cluttered because the large view takes in so many parts that need to be thought-about & organized or they will result in vast expanses of lifeless area in the frame with no or a very small point of interest.

Typically it’s fun to use longer lenses as an optical machete to isolate and summary particulars from the landscape, homing in on just a small part of a wider scene. Typically these smaller vignettes of a location can have more visible influence and at the similar time say just as a lot concerning the traits of that place.

Telephoto lenses are additionally good for producing more graphic or summary photographs that emphasise pattern, line or shape.

I’ve lenses with focal lengths from 14mm to 600mm and I exploit them all for my panorama images. There isn’t any one ‘best’ focal length – simply probably the most applicable software for a selected activity.

Rule 7 Spirits of the Rocks
Rule 7 Spirits of the Rocks

Rule eight – Landscapes are greatest taken with small apertures to maximise depth of area

Many years ago I was approached by a man at a digital camera club who expressed disappointment together with his panorama images. He thanked me for displaying my pictures and stated he’d realised that to enhance his own work he should shoot all his future landscapes at f22. This naïve assumption was based mostly not on what I’d stated however, on a belief, that growing depth of subject would give him the magic answer. If solely it have been that straightforward!

Rule 8 Autumn leaves Linton Falls
Rule 8 Autumn leaves Linton Falls

It is an indisputable fact of physics that small apertures do maximise depth of area. When capturing landscapes with daring & fascinating foregrounds then attaining entrance to back sharpness is a vital consideration.

Nevertheless it’s not an strategy that must be followed slavishly.

I notably like utilizing restricted depth of area to realize particular effects – for instance: to encourage the viewer to focus on one part of the scene while hinting on the wider context or to isolate my focus from its surroundings.

The choice of aperture can’t be made on a ‘one size fits all basis’. It’s a cautious blend of scientific & inventive issues and varies from one shot to the subsequent.

Rule 8 Silver Birch & Lichen

Rule eight Silver Birch & Lichen

Rule 9 – Atmospheric panorama pictures can only be taken at first or the top of the day

Once I run workshops or give talks I’m typically asked by individuals how they will improve their panorama images. My response is often:

  1. use a tripod, and
  2. get away from bed early to capture the dawn and stay out late to photograph at sundown.

The probabilities of capturing fascinating & dramatic mild are considerably elevated if we achieve this. Going out early pre-dawn or staying out late for sunset (and ceaselessly missing breakfast and dinner within the course of!) is a danger as there are never any ensures that mild & climate will co-operate. But when Mother Nature delivers her magic then we may be rewarded with fantastic colours, beautiful mild and dramatic cloud buildings.

Rule 9 Refuge
Rule 9 Refuge

Nevertheless, this may be taken to extremes for there are some zealots who argue that panorama images must be prevented through the middle of the day – notably outdoors of the winter months. However comply with this advice and we’d miss some great pictures. Good photographs may be made at any time of the day if care is given to the selection of material and composition.

Rule 9 Venetian Light
Rule 9 Venetian Mild

Rule 10 – You want sunshine to take landscape pictures

I have to smile once I’m stood in brilliant sunshine ready for extra fascinating mild to manifest & passing walkers say cheerily, ‘lovely day isn’t it; I guess you’re getting some good photographs’. For sunny climate may be nice for mountaineering nevertheless it doesn’t all the time equal good images mild.

Rule 10 Rain Clouds Over The Cuillin

Rule 10 Rain Clouds Over The Cuillin

I much favor to photograph simply before or after a rainstorm has occurred. I wish to work on the edge of weather methods, as dangerous weather is shifting in or away for that is once we can get probably the most atmospheric and dramatic mild. I have a saying (that notably applies to most of the places where I favor to shoot e.g. Scotland, the Lake District, New Zealand, Norway, Iceland) – ‘if I haven’t obtained wet then I in all probability haven’t acquired a very good photograph’.

Rule 10 Storm Approaching Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Rule 10 Storm Approaching Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Somewhat than watch for ‘ideal’ circumstances the trick is to attempt to match the prevailing climate circumstances with selection of location. So, in overcast weather circumstances I’ll:

  • hunt down water the place the sunshine on the water can present a spotlight in an in any other case drab scene. I’ll subsequently hunt down lakes, waterfalls, streams and rivers (an added bonus is that the low mild typically leads to slower shutter speeds giving extra options for using artistic blurring); or
  • shoot woodland scenes (these often benefit from low contrast) & look for detail photographs (e.g. tree bark, rocks, leaf particulars) figuring out that colours are often enhanced in duller circumstances;
  • search for graphic/dynamic compositions, the place dramatic mild is much less necessary to the general success of the shot.

Rule 11 – All the time design your pictures in response to the ‘Rules of Composition’

The primary of the compositional rules that I need to challenge is one which seems to be much liked by photograph judges (within the UK at the least) and discourages us from together with a good quantity (2, 4, 6 and so forth) of parts in our photographs.

Rule 11 Nidderdale Skyscape

Rule 11 Nidderdale Skyscape

The principle underpinning the rule is sound enough – by together with two parts in our frame, for instance, the viewer can end up confused about which one is the prime focus as their consideration is drawn forwards and backwards between the 2. But there are times when the photograph is definitely concerning the relationship between the 2 parts they usually require equal visible weight.

Rule 11 Refuge from the Night

Rule 11 Refuge from the Night time

The principles of composition additionally advise towards putting our focus too near the edge of the body. We are advised that we should always give it area and room to breathe. But typically, by putting the primary topic on the edge of the body, we will:

  • create a visible rigidity; or
  • a way of intrigue that forces the viewer to look twice; or
  • achieve a better compositional stability; or
  • provide a greater sense of scale that emphasises the vastness of different parts within the frame.

And eventually, there’s the much quoted ‘rule of thirds’ which has long been recognised in artwork & images as aesthetically pleasing and is predicated on the division of a rectangle into 9 equal sized blocks as right here:

Rule of thirds

The four intersecting factors on the grid are recognised as vital for the location of key focal points within an image.

Undoubtedly it may be a helpful compositional gadget and typically, once I’m struggling to resolve a troublesome composition, I’ll play with putting my focus on one of many 4 intersections to see if it helps.

But often I am not composing a picture consciously taking account of compositional guidelines. Usually, I compose intuitively – basing the design of my photograph on what feels instinctively right to me.

It was the good Edward Weston who stated,
“to consult the rules of composition before taking a photograph is like consulting the law of gravity before taking a walk”
And Ansel Adams stated,
“in my opinion, the so-called rules of composition are immaterial and irrelevant.”
My advice to photographers making an attempt to familiarize yourself with composition is to study the principles, perceive them, get to know when and why they work but then overlook them – or more precisely don’t consciously apply them to every image you make. The principles ought to be seen as tips solely.

Rule 11 Talisker Dusk

Rule 11 Talisker Nightfall

Rule 11 Two Seats Saltburn

Rule 11 Two Seats Saltburn

Rule 12 – You don’t have to fret about getting the shot proper within the digital camera; simply type it out in Photoshop later

If I had a pound for each time somebody on one in every of my workshops has stated “I’ll sort it out later in PS” I’d be a really wealthy man. Probably the most excessive case was a workshop participant who refused to degree his digital camera as a result of it could possibly be achieved on the pc back at residence. Come on – it takes two seconds to do it in the area!

Rule 12 Days End Loch Laidon

Rule 12 Days Finish Loch Laidon

Now I’m not an anti-digital man at all – I enjoy the flexibility of digital images and I do actually respect the facility & artistic potential of Photoshop and other software program packages to process my photographs. However I exploit software program primarily to duplicate what I might have completed within the darkroom (but now with extra control and accuracy).

My choice is all the time to get the shot as ‘right’ as attainable in digital camera. So, I don’t clone in clouds from one other image or mix multiple parts from quite a lot of sources. I’m not saying it’s flawed to do these issues – it’s simply not for me.

My choice is to wait for the elements (weather, mild, clouds and so on) to co-operate and if that leads to me getting moist & cold in the process then for my part that’s preferable to spending time in front of the computer making an attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear! I much choose being out within the landscape – that’s by no means wasted time in my ebook.

Most significantly although, I don’t need to turn into sloppy in my strategy. I consider that the self-discipline of getting it right on the time of taking the shot will assist me to proceed to improve as a photographer (slightly than grow to be a better pc operator).

Rule 12 Sunset Whitby
Rule 12 Sunset Whitby

I hope my two-part article on ‘Breaking the Rules’ have a minimum of been thought scary. Not everybody will agree with all the things I’ve stated I am positive. However I want to end with one essential message – that for the artistic photographer there are not any rules, no ‘shoulds’, no constraints. The minute you are feeling influenced by any ‘rules’ set your self a problem of intentionally breaking them to show they haven’t any common applicability.

Concerning the Photographer

Steve Gosling is an award-winning professional photographer who specialises in producing advantageous artwork panorama and journey pictures. He is an experienced instructor having run workshops within the UK and overseas, encouraging and galvanizing photographers of all ranges from the world over. As well as working intently with Part One and Lee Filters Steve is an Ambassador for Olympus, Manfrotto & Gitzo and Permajet inkjet papers. Website – www.stevegoslingphotography.co.uk

© All textual content and images Steve Gosling

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