It’s Aspen Season: How I Photograph Landscapes

“The lake and the mountains have become my landscape, my real world.”— Georges Simenon

While it may be a oversimplification to say that anybody can make a great photograph in Monument Valley, the truth is that that the art of landscape photography often gets confused with the real estate business because of its emphasis on location, location, location.

As a student at the Maryland Institute, College of Art I once attended a class on color and the first assignment was landscape photography. I wasn’t then or am not now a serious landscape photographer—although I do enjoy photograph landscape in infrared—but as a serious student developed a series of principles on the “what” and “how” for photographing landscape images that I still follow today. They are not cast in concrete and are presented here only as guidelines for your own explorations:

  1. Photograph locally
  2. Use a wide angle-of-view
  3. Create the maximum depth-of-field
  4. Saturate the colors

When I completed that assignment oh-so-long ago, it’s subtext was to only photograph landscapes that “I could walk to from my house.” At the time, I lived in Baltimore City and after projecting the slides (yes, it was back int he day) and announcing that subtitle the teacher and my fellow students asked to see them again. And that’s just the kind of affect you want to have on whoever your own audience may be—“can I see it again?”

Each weekday and some weekend days no matter the weather, although I’ll confess to becoming a wimp on really cold days, I take a walk and take along a camera because I never what I may find along the way. Using many of these images I produced a PowerPoint presentation called “Right in Your Own Backyard” where I show many of the photographs made on these walks and sometimes the audiences, as they did back when I was in school, ask to see them again.

If you’re interested in trying infrared photography, used copies of my book, The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography are available from Amazon starting at $6.67, as I write this. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with new copies under $10 and used copies selling for $2.55 (plus shipping.)

Author: Joe Farace

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