How I Photograph Landscapes

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

When I was a student at the Maryland Institute, College of Art and attended a class on color, the first assignment was landscape photography. I wasn’t then or am I now a serious landscape photographer but as a serious student developed a series of guiding 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. You can use’em or lose’em, they are:

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.” Since I lived in Baltimore City, after projecting the slides and announcing that subtitle the teacher and my fellow students asked to see them again. That’s just the kind of affect you want to have on whoever your own audience may be—“can I see it again?”

Tip: 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 three-mile walk and usually take along a camera because I never what I may find along the way to photograph. Using 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.

Author: Joe Farace

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