David Hay • Fore, Mid And Back Ground

Most photographers build their landscape pictures with a wide-angled lens. But how do you balance everything in the frame? David Hay talks us through how he does it

It was blowing a gale. Fierce blasts of wind nearly blew me off my feet every few seconds. I was crouching down with my legs spread out trying to avoid being blown over. A tripod would have been immediately blown over into the snow. Handholding my camera, with an image-stabilised lens, I waited as a small patch of light travelled across the sky towards the distant tree. As it passed behind the tree I squeezed off three quick frames and then turned away and tucked my camera under my jacket. It was time to head for the low ground.

Most landscape photographs are taken with a wide-angle lens. This allows the photographer to build a composition by selecting a suitable foreground to place in front of an interesting background. It is also important that the mid-ground doesn’t block the eye from travelling easily through the picture from front to back. However, for this picture I zoomed in to the longest focal length of my standard zoom lens.

As I waited for all the different elements of this image to fall into place, the foreground kept disappearing as snow drifted through the frame. I wanted to show the strength of the wind that was blowing the snow. For this I tried to time the exposure so that the drifting snow was visible in the mid-ground but the detail of the snow in the foreground was still visible also. Although it is tempting to ...

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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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