Landscape Photography Tip of the Week

When I was a student at the Maryland Institute, College of Art I developed a series of guiding principles on the “what” and “how” for photographing landscapes that I still follow today. These four principles are not cast in concrete and are presented here only as guidelines for your own explorations in landscape photography. 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

Over the next four weeks, I’ll look at each of these and today it’s “Photograph locally.” 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 it’s emphasis on location, location, location.

A four and a half drive may not be “local” but that’s how long it takes to get to Aspen Colorado from where I live. The Maroon Bells in the Elk Mountains near Aspen Colorado consists of two peaks. South Maroon Peak (14,156 feet) and North Maroon Peak (14,014 feet) are separated by about a third of a mile. This view is often cited as most-photographed spot in Colorado and that’s because it’s an easy one to make if the weather cooperates. You get off the shuttle bus and can walk up to the side of Maroon Lake and click! I was lucky to catch the effects of the first snow of the season and on my wife’s birthday.

Tip: Each weekday and some weekends—no matter the weather—I take a three-mile walk and usually take along a camera because I never what I may want to photograph. Using images captured during these walks, I produced a PowerPoint presentation called “Right in Your Own Backyard” that I present to various groups.

Author: Joe Farace

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