Useful Photography Tip #181: How to Look for Abstracts in Landscape Photography

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One of the reasons why you use telephoto lenses in landscape photography not only has to do with capturing an entire scene, but also being more artistic about the format in one way or another. What some of the more advanced landscape photographers do beyond looking for layers of sky and land is look for shapes in a scene to focus in on and play with. So how do you do this?

  • Crops: Experiment with various crops of your images and try different sizes. Modern cameras have enough megapixels where you can crop for quite a bit.
  • Looking at things on a micro scale: You know how folks like pixel peeping? Don’t pixel peep but instead look at the image closer and make your psyche vulnerable to shapes, tones, etc.
  • Rendering in black and white: One of the easiest ways to do this is to go black and white. Looking for shapes, tones and everything else becomes simpler. You can find so much in a black and white image.
  • Shapes: Circles, lines, leading lines, squiggles, etc. Look for them and keep them in mind. Sometimes even rotating your photo can help.
  • Contrasting colors: Go for at least two colors; no more than three.
  • Think about paintings: Imagine the scene without any sort of details. In fact, try to strip them away in post with stuff like Gaussian blur. I personally really like to think about and bring up Bob Ross. He created paintings of scenes but nothing was incredibly detailed obviously because they were paintings. From this you can recognize in your mind what he was painting. The same goes for Van Gogh and so many others.

Our friends over at Outdoor Photographer have even more tips on how to do this. Head on over and take a look.

Darren Lewey: Medium Format Landscape Photography and Abstracts in Morocco

All images and text by Darren Lewey. Used with permission.

I’m a photographer based in Morocco running tours and workshops within a day’s drive which includes Andalusia, Spain. I guess I’m strongly tempted to first explore locations that are closer to me than far-flung ones. It’s part of my ethos that there are things around that are photographically interesting and getting to know places a little bit can help. When I’m not teaching then I’m dedicated to personal portfolio development which I’ve been doing for the past year. Before that I had little time to set aside for my own work with developing my business and historically working in UK education and film making. For many years I didn’t pick-up a stills camera. That changed last year when I bought a Pentax 645z. I’ve always been an advocate of medium format but with no processing options in Morocco my 67 was unused. I’d been limited to older crop sensor technology and it didn’t inspire. I use natural light and a range of prime lenses.

I enjoy nature, I’m not a city person. I like the ability to work in quietness. For the included portfolio, Andalusia, I set myself the task of producing images in three zones during the space of two weeks in May 2017. Each of the areas offered very different challenges but I wanted to capture the texture of the region.

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Dan Grove: Photographic Perfection in the Reimagination of the Mundane

All images and text from Dan Grove. Used with permission.

Hi! I’m Dan – I’m 19 and from Gloucester in the UK. I’ve just finished my Photography A2 course and I’ll be setting up my exhibition for it at school soon! I shoot with a Canon 60D and 18-135mm STM or occasionally my iPhone for quick snaps.

My photography is all about reimagining the mundane – the bit of England I live in is reaaalllly dull so taking decent photos can be quite a challenge at times. I love to notice the things that other people might miss and I’m always looking to get the shot that makes people look twice or wonder how/where I’ve taken it. I tend to switch across a few different styles in my work – I either shoot bold and clean architectural stuff or gritty, documentary-style street work when I’m out and about. I’ve also spent some time in the studio at school as part of my A Level course.

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