Understanding the power of the foreground…
Is the first step to creating a sense of depth in your pictures. Our eyes use markers like foreground, lines and background to gauge depth in the landscape. If we provide these in a two dimensional picture we fool the eye into seeing depth there too.
Foreground Interest – Video
Bryan Peterson explains in the video how to take a position that brings out the foreground interest. It’s easy. Make sure you shoot past something close when shooting into the scene so you can see a progression of depth… foreground, mid-ground and background. Simple.
adoramaTV With Bryan Peterson
In fact you can use this landscape trick in the studio, or even a small room. Position yourself close to a foreground object and shoot past it into the room or scene. For example, use a chair or a table to occupy a part of the near end of the picture. That gives you a close marker allowing the eye to gauge a distance into the room. Here is an urban shot using the same principle…
• Monument •
The presence of the coffee cup on the table gives an immediate scale marker to the eye. The rest of the scene has depth because the eye can match the scale differences progressively as it looks into the scene.
The very well known scale of the size of a coffee cup in the picture is the clue to the depth of the rest of the shot. The eye/brain system does the rest. Simple principle – simple composition.
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Posted in Composition, How to..., Photography, Shooting specific subjects, Things to try, Tips Tutorials & Techniques, Video included
Tagged Approach, Background, Composition, Compostion, Depth, Foreground, How to Shoot, Landscapes, light and lighting, Mid-ground, Planning, Three dimensional, Two dimensional, Video
When your sky is too bright its a problem!
You lose all or most of the detail and your foreground is starkly highlighted by the blown out sky. The way to overcome blow out like this is to use various techniques with neutral density filters. All landscapers come across this problem at some time. The best way to overcome the issue is to tackle it head on in-camera. The best way to do that is to use “graduated neutral density (ND) filters”.
What are ND filters?
Neutral density filters are glass filters that you reduce the incoming light. They do this without affecting the colours in your shot. For blown out skies you want to reduce only the incoming sky light and allow the foreground to expose properly. The Graduated ND filter will allow you to achieve that.
In the picture above you can see the top half of each filter is dark. The bottom half is uncoloured glass. The trick is to place the filter in front of your lens. Place it in such a way that the line separating the dark and light lies on the horizon between the ground (proper exposure) and the bright sky which will be toned down by the filter.
If the sky is blown out in your picture the light is brighter than the camera can cope with. Normally that will be two stops of light or more above your exposure of the ground. The ND grads. normally come in three strengths. ND2 (two stops), ND4 (four stops) and ND8 (eight stops). Each stop of filtration is equal to half of the total light. An ND2 reduces the light by a quarter. An ND8 will cut down the incoming light to 1/16th of the light.
Video – Graduated ND filters for Landscape Photography
In this short video Tony Sweet demonstrates how he balances the dynamic range of a landscape composition using a graduated ND grad. filter working in a wooded valley. He wants to brighten the foreground with a long exposure. This would lead to the distant trees being too bright and would show burnt out spots. He uses a great technique to make the right light conditions…
I have been using Cokin filters for years. They are high quality filters that fit into a filter mount screwed onto the front of your lens. I prefer this type of fitting. It is simple to change filters and you can adapt graduated filters to the position you want quite easily. Round filters are far less adaptable and tend to be much more expensive.
If you want to buy an ND grad set of filters here is the kit I recommend…
Cokin H250A ND Grad Kit
You will also need to buy an adaptor for your lens to fit the filter mount. You can buy them singly…
Cokin filter mounts and lens adaptors
You can also buy a complete adaptor kit so you can adapt your filters to fit any one of your lenses…
If you feel like going the the whole way you can buy a kit that will cater for all your filter needs (including mount and adaptors) try this great kit…
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Posted in Camera control, Composition, Equipment, How to..., Information posting, Light and Lighting, Tips Tutorials & Techniques, Video included
Tagged Burnt out, Filters, Foreground, Graduated neutral density, How to Shoot, Landscape, Landscape tips, Long exposure, ND, ND grad, Neutral density, River, Shutter Speed, Tripod, Video, Vocabulary
When we take a photograph we are almost always going to capture our main subject plus something else behind it. The fact that something looks like it is behind our subject gives the photograph at least some depth. The background is an important part of the shot. So here is a definition…
Definition: Background; Backgrounds
In photography the background is the part of the overall scene. It’s behind the main subject of the photograph. Proper design and use is crucial to photographic success. Recent trends minimise backgrounds, where possible, to focus on the main subject. Designs try to reduce clutter and distraction to avoid drawing the eye from the subject.
Backgrounds have a long history of careful design. They can involve great artistry, grand constructions or be very simple. It’s best to keep the background and the subject consistent. Styling the subject and the theme with different contexts creates an artistic imbalance. This will lessen the impact of the subject and confuse viewers. When designing scene and lighting consider making the theme consistent and complete. Creating continuity throughout helps the viewer to see a more harmonious and aesthetic image rather than a discordant mess.
A background is normally considered secondary to the subject. This is by virtue of its relative importance compared to the main subject. The main emphasis is placed on the central subject. Nevertheless in landscape photography the background is considered an essential part of the main picture. Landscape photographers try to layer the landscape. They use a foreground, mid-ground and distance (background). Layers provide a feeling of depth. In landscapes the distance may also be the showcase of the shot. It’s both the background AND the main subject.
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