Landscape

A Landscape Surprise (Three Photos)

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I am not a big believer in out of the camera shots. In this case, however, except for some cropping and a touch of shadow enhancement, these are out of the camera taken with a Fuji XT-2 camera and 35mm F2 lens. I have read that many people just use the JPGs straight out of the camera with the Fuji and now I understand why. I shot these in RAW format because I’m used to processing and will probably continue to do so some. The “Acros Film” simulation is impressive. I am still fiddling with settings on the camera, especially now that there is a new firmware update. Fuji could do some work on their manual and menus but that’s a complaint you hear about many cameras.

 

 


Tilt and Reflect (Three Photographs)

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There is a type of composition, much used in film noir, and sometimes used in photography called the Dutch tilt. Normally I like my horizons and buildings up-right. And to be frank the Dutch tilt is not usually my style. I do like reflections and sometimes getting those reflections involves a slight tilt or distortion. I like to think the two give a bit of mood to a picture.


Winter (Three Photographs)

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Some Canadians have great love for the snow and ice. Paintings and photography of winter wildness has been popular for years. Not being a great fan of winter has kept me out of the forest this year. These photos taken in January are among the few I took. When fresh snow covers everything it simplifies the landscape. I wasn’t sure about using color or B&W and opted for B&W, but left one color in the mix to show my starting point.


Landscape Photography (Four Photographs)

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In landscape photography they say that the horizons should be level, blue skies need a few clouds, there should be foreground objects or leading lines, etc. However, like most things it’s never that simple. Landscape photography covers a lot of ground, I chose two simple photographs that had level horizons and a bit of cloud; then I spent several minutes on each working the color, the contrast etc. to give depth to the color photographs. If it were easy it would not be worth doing. But while I like these pastoral scenes in color I find they lacked impact. The B&Ws on the other-hand have come out quite nicely so once again my rule of trying everything in color and B&W is worthwhile. These are old photos never published before.

 


Remnants (Three Photographs)

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I find tree stumps interesting, they become useful for other things, animals, caches, markers, flowers etc. And if by chance they are captured against a nice background even better. In the color shot, effort was made to soften the photograph, much as the Impressionists did with some of their paintings. This also illustrates another aspect of reflections; they give depth to objects, and a perspective.


Water, Wood and Leaves (Three Photographs) and a Word on Reflections

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I cannot imagine a circumstance where there was a good reflection to exploit where I have not tried to make it part of my composition. However, with water there can be a few issues. Water distorts and sometimes the reflections make things look broken (there is a scientific term for this, “diffraction”. Put a pencil in a glass of water and you will see the pencil looks broken at the water line if seen from the side). Reflections can catch light differently from the subject, usually a darker color. Reflections that are perfect look faked. Ripples and other objects between the reflection and the camera can affect the reflection for good or bad. By all means try for the shadow, I do, but look closely to see how good the reflection really is.

 


Dynamic Range (Three Photographs)

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One thing that is very hard to correct for and makes most of our photos interpretations and not absolutely accurate, is the fact that camera sensors cannot capture the full dynamic range of light our eyes can see. Color negative film has the widest range and digital sensors the least. Both are far from what our eyes and brains can interpret. HDR software (high dynamic range) has come some way in helping get a naturally larger range of light, but is somewhat stymied by the narrow color space of the web and print photography (that is the range of colors as well as light that can be seen in a print). Melding photos taken with different exposures of the same scene may help, but are also interpretations of the original scene. Camera makers’ attempts to deal with this with specialized dynamic range settings have not been ideal (they arbitrarily open shadows and darken highlights). The aim, whether you work in color or in B&W, is to make sure that the shadows and/or highlights of interest are properly represented, recognizing that sometimes compromise has to be made between them. Just because the sky is blown out does not in my view make it a bad shot.

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