One of the first challenges in the pursuit of landscape photography is to create order out of chaos. All too often we are faced with an awe-inspiring view and the first thing that occurs to us is how we can make it look like it is in reality, in a photograph. The first mistake that can be made is to deploy a wide angle lens and capture every element of the scene that our wide angle vision sees, as this often results in failure. The reason for this is that cramming all that we see in a frame often overwhelms the viewer and all of the individual elements of the composition become tiny and somewhat lost in the photograph.
If this happens we then need to consider what to leave out of the composition, which is as important as what we include in the composition. As difficult as this may seem at the time when photographers feel compelled to make a photograph of ‘it all’, this is a good approach to take. Try to consider what the scene is made up of, and by that I do not just mean the physical elements of the scene, but the open space, light and shadows. Ask yourself, where do all of these lie in the composition and, if you move your feet, how will this alter their relationship and interaction with each other.
Other things to remember are the height of the camera and the proximity of where you are standing in relation to the nearest subject matter. It’s easy to fall into the trap of setting your camera at eye level...