Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Horizon Decisions

In landscape photography one of the first decisions to make is where to place the horizon line. You can choose to place it high in the frame, or low, or centered as it is here. So how do you decide?

In general, placing the horizon line in the middle creates a serene and balanced composition. Placing it high or low creates more visual tension and sends a different message. Placing it high in the frame makes the ground the central subject. Conversely, placing it low in the frame makes the sky the main character. On days with an unexciting sky, place the horizon high in the image to eliminate what is not interesting. But when you have incredible clouds or a dark stormy sky, place the horizon low.

A central placement for this image works well with the scene - a quiet, calm, misty sunrise. The composition is very symmetrical from top to bottom, but there is some visual interest when you let your eye move through the image from left to right. The dark area on the left is large and imposing, while the right side is softer because of the mist, the delicate colors, and the individual trees.

Cropping decisions were made very deliberately. The right side was cropped to not show the bright sun just rising since it would have overpowered the softly fading darkness in the rest of the scene. And the left side was cropped to show enough of the heavy bank of trees to balance the mist, clouds, trees, and reflections on the right.

Lightroom was used to make sure the colors were saturated. I intentionally did not increase Shadows since showing detail there would have detracted from the overall moody nature of the scene. When working with Lightroom, make your optimization decisions based not only on technical considerations but also on creating or enhancing a mood or feeling in the image.

Shutter Speed 1/30 sec.  Aperture f/22.  ISO 200.  Lens: Canon 17-40mm f/4L, set at 17mm.  Camera: Canon 40D.  Gtizo tripod with ballhead.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Only from the heart can you touch the sky."  -Rumi

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