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on Jun 7, 2012 in Landscape Photography

Landscapes – Messin with the Mind

How do you express scale in a photograph? I could include a dime, what we do in wildlife photography but I just have this feeling you might not even see it. That’s when I start messing with your mind as I think about it, story telling is a nicer and more common way to think about it. The subject, what you’ve always have to establish in your photograph, in this case are the clouds releasing their snow on the Mono Hills (actually extinct volcanoes). To make the clouds appear much bigger than they really are, I included those peaks far of in the distance.

The bigger the peaks seem, the bigger the storm so that’s what I focus in on. Both images were taken with the D4 and 70-200VR2 (using the D4 Landscape Profile which I’m really liken) with only two slight changes between the two photos. The top image was taken from the ground at 120mm with the cloud not fully casting a cloud on the foreground. The bottom image was taken standing on a bench at 155mm four minutes later when the foreground was in shade.

We’re talking real subtle changes in taking the two images but to me there is a big visual difference between the two images. In the top photo, those two peaks appear more like they really are in life, kinda small. The bottom frame, those two peaks look much bigger then they really are. That in combination with shooting just a tad tighter makes the clouds, the subject, appear much more menacing and that’s the story telling. Both images were finished the same in ACR and then Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 > Detail Enhancer on just the clouds. So the moral of all of this is take the extra second and use those simple put important elements to give your landscape scale and the visual impact will be much greater!