OP – The Blog

May 3rd, 2011

Close Enough? Get Closer

Posted By Ian Shive

When photographing in a “busy” landscape it’s hard to figure out exactly how to make the scene work, especially if you are trying to create a landscape photo that still captures a sense of place but gives you an intimacy that let’s the scene feel personal. A technique I often employ is the art of getting closer and closer and when I think I’m close enough? I get get even closer! I once heard someone say that photography is the opposite of painting – that a painter adds to the canvas constantly until the scene is complete, whereas a photographer should constantly work the corners of their frame until you’ve removed every last bit of information that isn’t necessary to telling the story of a place. I believe this to be true.

While photographing in Great Cypress National Preserve in Florida, I found the quill-leaf air plant in abundance. With little water, if any, in the preserve at this time of year, it was the most obvious subject in an incredibly busy landscape. Everywhere I looked branches were sticking into my frame and the environment was incredibly dull colored. Finally, at the last bit of light of the day, I saw this one air plant that had the sun almost magically wrapping around the trunk of the tree giving a little light onto the brightly-colored quills. With the sun moving fast between tree trunks and branches, I knew I didn’t have time to set up a tripod. I boosted my ISO to 320 and pumped up my f-stop to F22 to give the sun a star-like effect and underexposing to accentuate the highlights. I got in deep, branches sticking over the lens and into my hair, poking my face but setting me up for an intimate view in the back country of Great Cypress National Preserve.

 

Please leave a comment

  1. James Hamilton Says:

    Ian, your comments are very helpful. In the southwest we have a plant similar to the quill-leaf airplant – the yucca. It has an almost identical morphology to the air plant and I have frequently used it in the foreground of my mountain landscapes being careful not to be impaled by its sharp leaves. However, my images are no match to yours and perhaps getting even closer to my yuccas will improve my pictures. I’ll just have to keep some band aids handy!

  2. Ian Shive Says:

    Thanks James. Definitely be careful! It’s an easy way to loose a good shooting eye when photographing these sorts of plants.

  3. James Hamilton Says:

    I shall be careful. Other things of which to be aware, both in Colorado (where I live) and in Florida, are rattlesnakes which, like photographers, come out as the sun goes down.

  4. Golf Lessons at MADP Ltd Says:

    Thanks Ian – photography is my second “love” and I love taking shots of landscapes with some close ups of foreground to “work the frame” and get maximum production value from a shot… great tips on getting even closer – now I think I know what I have been “missing” – will try it out on my next field trip.

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