Sunday, June 01, 2008

Person on the Landscape

When I am out and about with my camera looking for landscape photographs, I often like to include a person in the shot. The reason for this is that a well placed figure can add drama, impact, depth and scale to an otherwise ordinary photograph.

The photo on the mountain features my youngest son looking out over the countryside. On this occasion, he was posed. I asked him to stand in that spot because I was keen to add scale and depth. When taking landscapes, it is easy to end up disappointed with the final print, which, in two dimensions, can look very flat and uninteresting compared to the awesome three dimensional spectacle experienced at the moment of exposure. Adding a well placed person immediately changes the whole dynamic of the image. One is drawn much more into the scene, because the person adds a sense of empathy. You become more aware of size and distance, as well as being invited to ponder the view with figure in the photograph. The man on the mountain adds humanity to what would otherwise be just another nice view for the album.

The photo of the sand dunes was transformed by the addition of the dark rider. This shot was definitely not posed. I was out walking on the dunes – as you do - looking for a “nice shot”. Up until this point I felt I had captured some pretty good images. And then the horseman appeared. Suddenly, I had something starkly different to shoot, but I had to act fast. The rider was not hanging around, and there was not a moment to lose. I quickly fired off three shots before the mystery rider vanished behind a dune, never to re-appear. Again, a much better sense of scale was added to the shot. But more than that, what started out as a group of Scottish sand dunes was immediately transformed to the bad lands of Montana! It was pure luck on my part as I could never have predicted the shot. The lesson here I suppose, is always carry a camera if you want to capture the unexpected. Dark riders do not come to order!

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