Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Add Scale To Your Grand Scapes
Incorporating a person into a big vista gives a sense of scale and human interaction to the scene. It’s not right for every photo, but think about it the next time you’re in front of a grand scene.
I always watch very carefully for peak moments of gesture, pose and motion. I absolutely don't want to have people posed in my scenes, as they will seem stiff and kill the energy and life of the image. Photography is about recognizing and capturing revealing slices of time, and moments of action or motion that cleanly energize a physical space are what I'm seeking. So, watch for spacing, stride, stroke and even expression, if your friends are close enough, and sometimes they will light up the scene with a look of wonder.
When scouting a location, I consider the "explorers" I'm traveling with as a critical piece of the puzzle that makes up a successful composition. Find a way for them to graphically energize a location, and asking them to kayak or hike into a certain spot or along a precise path is a good way to start. Then wait for moments when they seem to become connected to the location in ways that are hard to anticipate or explain. You have to go with the flow of their activity and be open to serendipity. I see my travels less as a search for fleeting beauty and more as a discovery of the planet's wonders and my reaction and understanding of those wonders.
It's instructive to see paired images that show a scene purely as a landscape and then as a landscape with people. Do I still shoot pure, clean landscapes? Yes, I do, but I'm always thinking of how and who would best enliven that place with their presence. It helps to have attractive and well-styled friends for the activity!
Always Shoot Yourself
Sometimes you'll find yourself out in the wild all by your lonesome, so what will you do then? By placing the camera on a tripod, and using either a remote trigger or a 12-second delay, you can get that explorer in a great place, and you won't have to ask for a model release! Plus, it's fun to show yourself working, even if it feels like play. A very wide lens can work as well, if used carefully.
You can see more of Kerrick James' photography at www.kerrickjames.com.
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