Low Key Images

Inspired by the low key images of other photographers, David Hay travelled to Iceland and captured the powerful drama of the Skógafoss waterfall

When I was in Iceland, I was struck by how moody and dramatic the landscape was. It was essentially black and white scenery with occasional splashes of green moss or grass. One way to emphasise the drama of a primal landscape like Iceland is to print your images in low key.

So, what is low key? It is not simply created by underexposing the image. The effect is added later in post-processing by reducing the detail in the darker areas to give more ‘visual weight’ to an image. Dark areas are interpreted by the brain as ‘heavy’; we have an instinctive fear of dark areas, such as cave mouths, where there might be something hiding. Therefore low key images are naturally more …

Read this and many more articles in High Definition inside Issue 61 of Landscape Photography Magazine.

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About Author

David Hay

I took up photography at the age of eleven and have been passionate about it ever since. As a retired biologist I still marvel at the beauty of the natural world and try and capture the colours and forms of natural things around me.

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