Sapphire Mountains captured by Z 9 / Z24-120

It is called landscape photography after all, but do you wonder how much “land” you need to tell your story? When I shoot with others, they often look through my viewfinder and come away saying, “You’re including just the sliver?” I asked myself long ago the question of how much land I need to say landscape and in finding my answer, I found myself raising the camera higher and higher when … now that’s the part of the equation that’s a challenge!

The Bitterroot Mountains captured by Z 9 / Z70-200f2.8

There tends to be three elements in the viewfinder that I need in considering how high to raise the camera minimizing the land. The sky, the light and color seem to play the biggest part in the equation. You might think that when looking at the sky, clouds need to be present for this to work especially since my two examples have clouds. But actually I do the same thing with bald skies if the photograph is going to be a B&W. That’s because the natural gradation of a bald blue sky when turned into a gray tone can be incredibly stunning. But yes, generally clouds are part of the frame. But not just any cloud. Often there is a “unique” light, color and density that if you were there in person, would make you look up and that’s kinda the point. When the sky, the mood, romance, the vibe tell you to look above the land is when raising the lens makes sense to my visual storytelling. It is something to consider when telling your viewer the vastness of the world you’re exploring with your camera. You might just ponder, how much land in the landscape?

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