Next week we are getting ready to start up another 3 day online class of Advanced Landscapes, and I was reminded from participants in our earlier classes how much they loved hearing new compositional guidelines. During workshops we get the chance to highlight some of these, but not nearly as in-depth as we do with our online classes focused solely on this topic. I can’t wait to see folks in the field after having taught online for the last year and introduced so many new ideas and topics.
Photographers record a three dimensional world in a two dimensional medium. Our favorite images exist as flat prints hanging on our wall or displayed on our screens. One challenge then becomes how to record the depth and dimension we see in the real world but rendered on a flat canvas. Graphic qualities like color, contrast, lighting and shadow can help convey a sense of dimension. But there are many other techniques as well.
One of my favorite concepts to show dimension in an image is vanishing point. Vanishing point works like this; you have an object that starts wide in the foreground, and gradually narrows as it goes to the back of the image. Roads are often what come to mind first. Take a look at the Palouse image at top. The two track road starts wide in the front of the image, and narrows to a tiny point in the distance. The sense of dimension is enormous, all created using the concept of vanishing point.
Roads are just one of the subjects that work with vanishing point. Tree trunks, desert slickrock and streams are other examples. The image above from Zion National Park is another good example. The rock striations stretch off into the distance. By photographing from a perspective close to the rock using a wide angle lens, vanishing point is further enhanced (wider foreground, smaller background).
If you liked this post, consider joining us next week on our advanced landscape class. We still have spots open, and we go much more in depth into this topic and many others to help improve your landscape photography. Make sure to get out and take some photographs this weekend. Stay creative!