Lesson 4 – Filters

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    Using Polarixer Filter with sun to the left of the picture

    Duncan Rawlinson

    This is a wonderful landscape / seascape photograph. Your composition is improving nicely, but there are even further technical and artistic challenges with nature photographs that I think would be good to address as it relates to this photograph.

    Before I begin, remember, this is a rule of thumb and rules are meant to be broken. That being said, it’s important to understand nonetheless. When shooting landscapes you have the issue of shooting into photographic equivalent of infinity. The horizon is generally miles away. This gives the photograph a feeling of distance, but in that depth, details get lost and shapes play the primary role. For example, I can see islands and trees in the background and to the left but they are not overly powerful elements to your photograph. They simply provide mood, context and shapes.

    Unfortunately most photographs try to focus on the interesting colors of these photographs and focus exclusively on this 1 layer of the photograph (i.e. the background). However, these images can often appear lifeless or “flat” because although they show distance they lack the feeling of depth.

    What I mean by this is that there is no middle-ground or foreground. By using “layers” in your photograph you give you audience the feeling of being there in the shot with you. The foreground helps guide their eyes in to your shot, the middle-ground gives them something to explore in some detail and the background often provides the main backdrop for the photograph and therefore sets the overall tone and mood.

    In your photograph you’ve used both background and middle-ground but this shots lacks a foreground. You can capture a foreground by moving behind a tree, or a rock, or placing your camera close to the ground and capture the grass or the stones on the ground. This helps provide depths and creates layers which enhance the dramatic look of a photograph such as the one you’ve taken.

    So don’t be afraid to play around with your camera’s position or depth. I think making these changes will pleasantly surprise you!

    Keep up the great work.

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