Composition-Depth

There are many compositional techniques to creating exciting and interesting photography. One such way is to create depth and a sense of space in the image. Depth between the front and back of the image frame will increase visual interest in your composition for your viewers to stay engaged. There are plenty of times when a flat composition becomes very effective but there are ways to make visually interesting also ( more on that in a later post). There are a couple of ways to get depth. A near far composition, repeating shapes and leading lines to name a few are all excellent starting points. For this discussion we will be speaking to the near far technique. The near far technique is achieved by having a dominant foreground element as the anchor of the image. Usually achieved with a wide angle lens to enhance a size difference with the rest of the landscape in the far distance. Hence….. near and far.Red sunset  Delaware at Worthington State Park Blog

In this image , shot on the Delaware river in Worthington State Forest, a wide angle lens was used to make the rocks big. Now clearly the rocks are not as big as the trees in real life but by using the optics in combination with the composition a great deal of depth in the image has occurred. Near objects in compositions can be rocks, flowers or just about anything as long as it relates to the scene. The near object relationship with the background will help deepen the connection for your viewer. Usually an already natural foreground will do the trick. Experiment with this technique with different sized and types of foreground objects and you will begin to see a big difference in your landscape images. It made the biggest difference in mine.

©Larry Zink

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Backlighting

fb and blogI think it’s accurate to say that when I go out to shoot I’m looking for great light. Sure I may pick a destination that is appealing but ultimately as I scan for a composition I’m drawn to light and how it reacts with my surrounding. On this day there wasn’t a cloud in the sky making some of my bigger photographic ideas not as appealing. That same direct hard light though was wonderful as a back light to the budding trees. Backlighting a subject accentuates color and possibly texture given what your shooting. Never underestimate the power of backlighting on subjects.

©Larry Zink

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Winter Wonderland

Hello everybody I hope you have been enjoying this amazing winter  we have been experiencing, while I am completely tired of getting out the snow blower the opportunities for photography have been incredible. Since the last time I posted on this blog I have been half way around the world to China as well as Mt. Fuji , Japan and as far north as Yellowknife Canada shooting the Northern lights. winter wonderlandHowever I think the best image I made this winter was right here in Mahwah, NJ at the Ramapo Reservation along the Ramapo River. During the first pretty snowfall of the season I knew the park would be a great place for winter images and as late afternoon arrived the storm had started to break up, it dawned on me that the river set up perfectly flowing west  and the potential for some late day sunset color was possible. I found a spot that had a beautiful reflecting pool and then worked on a composition, Mother Nature did the rest.

We are so fortunate to have these resources at our disposal although I have the good fortune  traveling  around the world to shoot I still  think I create my best images here at home in the local parks and trails I have come to know so well.

Have faith the spring and summer will be here soon where you will be reading a post from me complaining about the heat ☺

©Dean Cobin

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Winter clouds, spruce, summit of Wittenberg Mountain

The culmination of a very long, hard climb on a bone-chilling, dry January day, this image made in 2000, is a portrait of the highest point on Wittenberg Mountain, one of the most dramatic and inaccessible peaks in the Catskills. Although many hikers may disagree with my use of the term “inaccessible” (in truth, it’s not that hard of a climb), it was to us that day. I was accompanied by my friend Ed and dog Jenny. From the parking area, Ed and I crossed the swinging bridge spanning a small creek that leads to the trail head, while Jenny opted to wade the creek. We met at the trail head and marveled at Jenny’s completely stiff, frozen hair. The result of a 5 second immersion in water at 18 degrees fahrenheit. She, in typical fashion, shrugged it off as she flew up the trail ahead of us. Ed and I were moving slower however. Winter clouds, spruce, summit of Wittenberg Mountain. Thomas TeichAt this point in 2000, I was still using my beloved 1972 Burke and James 8×10 inch view camera that sat on a Ries wooden tripod capable on supporting cameras as big as 7×17 inches (film size). Both are now relegated to backup duty because I cannot climb with them on my back. Ansel Adams and Edward Weston both used the same tripod. Its weight combined with the rest of the equipment (plus lunch, water and extra clothing) reached an intolerable 65 pounds. Thus, in 18 degree air, I ferried such a load that within ten minutes I had stripped down to a T-shirt and still soaked it with sweat!  The rest of the trip to the summit was a slog occasionally interrupted by a fast downward slide on thin snow-covered ice that brought me painfully to my knees. We reached the summit forest of fragrant balsam and red spruce at lunch time. Within seconds of stopping for a drink of water, we froze in our wet shirts and scrambled for more clothing. Now suddenly we could not get warm! The physical effort had ceased and our bodies were depleted. A quick lunch and warm drink helped but not for long. To add insult to injury a gentle breeze began to wash the summit adding windchill to our problems. I now worked quickly to find my intended image; determined not to freeze on this mountain. The trail lead us to a small clearing with a view facing northeast. High wind clouds dark with moisture began to move in from the southwest. My dog, dry and fed, was shivering from inactivity. I spotted a cliff edge with dead spruce trees leading to a verdant carpet of mountains spread before me. A small spruce crown topped the display. I was ready to work. As quickly as possible, I set up and made the image shown here. Calling it quits was easy. We packed and left having spent all of this energy to make one negative! I did not print this image until an exhibition called for it in 2004. I only print this photograph in large sizes such as 28×35 inches or larger. It doesn’t translate what I felt that day in smaller size. The huge expanse of mountain and sky, shadow and sunlight. The Catskill Mountains in a cold, clear alpine moment. A moment and a day I will never forget.

©Thomas Teich

 

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Moss and Migraines

There is always a story. It never seems to be a simple quiet day of photography when I shoot. There is always a bigger lessons to be learned I guess. I was heading out to photograph an area slightly north of Ellenville,NY in the southern Catskills. A beautiful spot that fellow blogger Dean Cobin had taken me to weeks earlier.  My intentions were to shoot the same brook again and explore the area a little further. It’s always interesting to go back to the same spots under different conditions. On this day the stream I wanted to shoot had turned into small ponds because of the fallen leaves, not what I was expecting. Walking was treacherous and I wasn’t prepared to get wet. Mistake numero uno. Having been discouraged I hiked back out and set off to look for a swimming hole named Blue Hole. It was at this point that mistake two kicked in. I didn’t eat and drink enough when I left my house. A headache was coming but I could sense this was heading down a bad road. I was at the intersection of headache and migraine and it was one way on to migraine. Of course mistake three is in now in play immediately. You guessed it….no migraine medicine. I always have some around…..not this day. Now, I had driven all the way up there and I wasn’t letting a migraine slow me down or so I thought. I found the swimming hole I was looking for down a path. Slightly up above the swimming hole is this spot. Amazing moss on the rocks. hairyblogIt looks like flowing hair. However it was on the other side of the creek. At this point the migraine is worsening but I could see the shot. Am I really letting this stop me? To make a long story much  shorter I got the shot, smartened up and got out of there as my condition was getting worse. I drove back to Ellenville and feel asleep in a McDonalds parking lot. I woke up an hour later feeling slightly better, got some food and downed some medicine.

Reflecting back it may not have been the smartest move to continue shooting. I’ve had these problems in the past and it can get a little dicey. My preparedness needs to be much better. Lesson learned. You learn every time you shoot. Maybe it’s not always about photography. There are plenty of other realizations that you come to that weren’t expecting as your shooting. Having said all of that I think the image is successful and I will be going back on a full stomach and a bottle of migraine medicine close by.

©Larry Zink

 

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Harriman Foliage

Another shot from my fall project. I’ve been following the changing fall colors starting in the Adirondacks and will continue into South Jersey into November. I’ve visited the Adirondacks, shot in the Catskills and this past weekend in Harriman State park. Next weekend I will be somewhere in New Jersey. The colors in Harriman were beautiful this weekend. If you love to shoot or hike check out Harriman before the colors disappear.

This image was taken from an outcrop on Pine Swamp Mountain. It was an adventurous morning getting there but I was able to get to the top as the sun was rising. The hike to the top is easy and its a great view. A little tricky to shoot because finding a composition that works can be tough. I’ve scouted this spot in the past and wasted no time figuring out the composition. As the sun was rising the landscape was getting brighter but I was waiting for the direct light to peak through. The fog in the distance was holding nicely. As the light was breaking through the early morning clouds to my left it began to light up the hill in the scene.  Landscape shooting is about patience and waiting. Once the light hit the trees I fired away._MG_4995blog

I like the bight colors against the overall darkness of the scene. Would I have like better clouds in the scene? You bet. However, you work with the cards that are dealt. I think the image is a beautiful capture of a stunning morning in a beautiful park.

 

©Larry Zink

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Small World Department

I was recently  in the Adirondacks shooting at Connery Pond. I got up very early and drove down a dirt road that led to the pull out near the trail head. It was pitch black as I was driving through the forest  but as I turned the corner I saw beams of light being directed in all directions. Groups of photographers wearing headlamps. I wasn’t alone, I should have known. I knew this was a popular spot but I wasn’t expecting this many people. Once I found a place to park I worked my way through the woods to the pond. I could faintly see the largest group beginning to set up their equipment. IMG_1425blogNot wanting to be a part of that group I decided to set up shop further down to the left. There was a pretty dense fog covering the entire pond rendering visibility to way less than 100 yards. Knowing there was time before I was going to shoot I struck up a conversation with a woman who informed me that the large group was a camera club from New Jersey. To my left about 40 yards away was a photographer that I follow online,Chris Kayler. He apparently got into an accident with a tractor trailer the day before and rolled his car twice. Totaled it. No hospital for him but a trip to the rental car facility and kept the trip moving. He’s young. The quiet sounds of digital shutters began to take hold as the fog began to lift revealing Whiteface mountain in the distance.connery SRGB blog It really was beautiful. As the fog completely lifted most of the group had left to go shoot somewhere else. I wandered down to shoot a couple last shots by the trail before leaving. After such a large gathering all morning it was down to me and 2 other people on the other side of the creek. As I was packing up it turns out that one of the two guys left was fellow NYNJTC blogger Dean Cobin and a buddy of his. After catching up we decided to go to another location and continue shooting. It’s a crazy small world.

©Larry Zink

 

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