Thursday, December 9, 2010

Scale is not easily conveyed. One of the best things about seeing Arches for the first time is the realization of the size of its features. You’ll lie under an arch and realize you could fit a house inside, or even a small building. You even really get an idea of how big they are just by looking at them in person, you have to hear them. The echo of your shoe scuffing against loose sand and pebbles that you kick down while climbing give you the subconscious realization of these massive forms. To record all of these impressions in a picture and then transmit those feelings to a person who has never visited the place is impossible. The challenges in landscape photography are similar to those in architectural photography. The spot must be found where the features being photographed are arranged in such a way through the viewfinder that their organization will convey to the viewer of the photograph an understanding of the space. Being at the actual site, binocular vision and the way that the shapes change as we move around help us understand a space. When that space is compressed into a two dimensional image, we need clear hints of where the edges of the foreground give way to the background. Adjusting a highlight or darkening a shadow can guide the viewer’s eye to important features, making parts of the picture stand out and giving it depth. It also always helps to throw in a recognizable object to give a sense of scale. By the way, can you spot the person sitting with their body silhouetted against the sky?

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