Landscapes and Cityscapes


Landscapes and cityscapes are usually big, awe-inspiring scenes.  Usually, but not always. Landscapes can be more intimate pictures of the landscape.

Grand vistas captivate us,

But they can be something seen before too many times. They become  cliches.

Hwy 101 Cl Coast
New York

   A fresh view of a well known scene is appealing.

You can achieve a fresh view by looking for a different view point than that used by the average photographer. Or you can choose a time of day that is different from when most photographers take their pictures. See this website for three hacks that will make your landscapes shine Colorful Landscapes

      A landscape does not need to be large, grand scenes.
Chehalis River
                 This landscape is appealing to some because of the mood it captures - peaceful and bucolic.

                It is a good idea to ask ourselves what this photo will be used for.
Even if we take the photo for ourselves, we should think about why we took it. Do I want to make a print for the wall? Do I want to share my experience with friends via social media or email? Am I just going to save it for the future? Did I take it just because it pleased me?  Is it simply beautiful and reminds me of the beauty of God's creation.

Any of those reasons are good. But if you have no reason, you also most often do do have a picture that says anything.  TRY TO MAKE PICTURES THAT SAY SOMETHING.

The usual composition techniques apply to landscapes. The rule of thirds.  Leading lines. Layering. Framing. Light. Horizon line. Camera angle (point of view). Color. INTEREST!

The rules can be broken, but if they are, it should be intentional. The cityscape of Seattle at the top breaks the rules; it is not layered; it has not framing. It has no leading lines. But it is still interesting because it has been turned into an abstract with very little depth and because of the lighting (time of day it was taken.)

The cityscape of New York, on the other hand has both leading lines and layering, In fact it is those two composition techniques that makes it interesting. If it were not for those elements,the New York skyline from New Jersey is so often photographed that it has become a cliche.  Cliches are not interesting.

The picture of the California coast borders on a cliche.
It is often photographed. But it is interesting because of the subject.

The picture of the Chehalis River is interesting because of the mood.
It also has layering and framing and the muted colors that make it mood peaceful.

Ultimately the attraction or interest of a landscape is pretty personal. Not everyone finds even a great picture interesting. But that is okay. You as the photographer have only the responsibility to capture as well as you can what it is about the landscapes you photograph that make them interesting to you. If they interest you, and if you have done a good job using the techniques of composition, they will be interesting to some others. 

  Here are some tips for great landscape photos:

This Project asks you to take two different landscapes and or cityscapes. That means different subjects and locations. There are many opportunities around Olympia.

Take at least four different views of each of the two landscapes. You can use the technique of doing one from ground level, one from eye level, one from a high angle, and then one with a element of interest like a person in the picture.

That is a total of 8 different pictures to upload to Flickr.

After you have completed your he photography, discuss the photos using the criteria of "A Good Picture" AND then choose the one you think is the best and explain why.  Do this in a one page paper (250 words typewritten). 


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© 2018 Don Camp