Landscape photos, boring?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Scott W, Mar 16, 2007.

  1. Scott W

    Scott W Guest

    This topic came up on another thread but since we need a lot more
    photography related threads I am starting a thread just on this

    I believe there is no right and wrong on this subject, but views as to
    why we find a given photograph interesting or boring.

    So here is my take on it, a landscape photograph can be great when
    done very well. Unfortunately it is not at all easy to do it well and
    most landscape photos that I see are in fact very boring.

    Landscape photos are at a large disadvantage over many other types of
    photographs because they are missing some of the things that adds
    interest to a photograph. What of the wonderful things about
    photography is it can freeze an instant in time. This might catch an
    expression on a person face, a bear as it catch a salmon or a football
    player catching a pass or limitless other examples. Landscape photos
    also for the most part are missing a human element, people tend to
    make photographs more interesting. What is more interesting a photo of
    a bear in the woods, or a photo of a bear in the woods chasing a
    person? Landscape photos also tend to lack a feeling of history or a
    place in time. I love old photos that show what life looked like
    years ago. Even photographs that are 20 years old can give a feeling
    of the time they were taken, and photos from a 100 years ago are
    almost always interesting to view, as long as they show how people
    were living their lives.

    But even with all of those disadvantages there are still some
    landscape photos that I do really enjoy. I think that to do landscape
    photograph poorly is one of the easiest forms of photograph, the
    subject is not moving you can easily use a tripod, you can take a long
    time setting up the focus and aperture and exposure setting. But
    doing landscape photograph really well is in someway one of the
    hardest form of photograph, simply because the subject by itself is
    not enough to make the photo compelling.

    Scott W, Mar 16, 2007
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  2. Yeah......You need a mechanical animal that has the body of a cow, the head
    of a horse, and a rack like an elk....Then you can send it out to stand in
    the middle of your landscape photo, and later on, people will crowd around
    the hanging picture and say, "What the hell is that?"
    William Graham, Mar 17, 2007
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  3. Scott W

    Mark² Guest

    Often, the key to landscape is being there, and being there isn't always
    It took four days of trying before I got this shotdriving through
    snow...standing in the middle of a temporary pond, hoping the sun would poke
    through, and then knowing how to get DOF so that submerged
    mountain peaks are all in focus, with proper settings, tripod, etc. These
    are basics, but most ignore them:
    This next one meant convincing the highway patrol to let me pass, when they
    were turning everyone else away due to snow...and then driving around in the
    snow looking for interesting shapes and colors:

    This next one might seem like it's impossible to take a bad photo due to the
    subject...but do a Google Images search of Haleakala...and you'll find skads
    of shots of the same crater...that are total CRAP. I like mine...and these
    colors are real. It took bucking everyone's advice (which was to shot at
    sunrise) and realize that only a sunSET would bring out the amazing colors
    here...and then it was waiting for weather...and then getting it right for
    the few minutes the cloud offered up an opportunity (sun behind me):
    Those colors are real.

    Some will find the above boring too...but to each their own. I find tons of
    other photography subjets boring--where others get some sort of kick.
    We're all different.

    Mark², Mar 17, 2007
  4. WOW, that is an amazing shot Mark. What a beautiful place to be.

    This one is beautiful too:
    helensilverburg, Mar 17, 2007
  5. Scott W

    Scott W Guest

    All very nice photos Mark, but this one I really like

    And in 40 years I bet that one will have far more value to you then
    the other three put together.

    I an not saying landscapes can't be very good, but you put a person in
    the photo and
    capture a moment in time and then you really have something IMO.

    Scott W, Mar 17, 2007
  6. Scott W

    Annika1980 Guest

    Well yeah, you would say that. You live in the most beautiful place
    in the world (Hawaii) so anything is gonna be a downer after that.

    Hey, while we're on the subject of landscapes .... does anyone have
    any comments about wedding landscapes? Specifically, crooked wedding
    landscapes .... with kite surfers?
    Annika1980, Mar 17, 2007
  7. Scott W

    Colin_D Guest

    Mark, all those shots are good, specially the Half Dome shot. I see
    from the exif you shot it at f/20. Classic diffraction theory would say
    that you cannot get a sharp image at f/20, but you seem to have done
    just that. I've never taken my 300D smaller than f/11, but I'm gonna
    run some shots at f/22 to see what can be done.

    Colin D.
    Colin_D, Mar 17, 2007
  8. Scott W

    michelo Guest

    Aren't they venomous when their colors are that bright?

    michelo, Mar 17, 2007
  9. Scott W

    THO Guest

    THO, Mar 17, 2007
  10. I think a landscape photo is well done when it evokes a mood or
    reaction or feeling in me. In a landscape that reaction is strangely
    independent of the subject of the photograph. Like the March picture
    of the woods on my Ansel Adams calendar right next to me. I have no
    clue where he took the picture, and it isn't really relevant.

    Portraits are all about the subject. My reaction to a portrait is a
    reaction to the subject. It makes a difference that it is a picture of
    my son or of Albert Einstein.

    Both types can be profound. Both can be boring. "Done very well" is
    kind of secondary, like icing on the cake.

    Duncan Chesley, Mar 17, 2007
  11. I took a few bad ones when I was there.

    When my brother visited me in Hawaii, after a few days he said, "I
    expected Hawaii to be beautiful, but I had no idea that it would be
    this continuously beautiful."

    Duncan Chesley, Mar 17, 2007
  12. Scott W

    THO Guest

    Good paragraph.
    Bad paragraph.

    Let it go, Brett. The better person at this point will be the one who
    first drops the whole thing and moves on.
    THO, Mar 17, 2007
  13. Scott W

    THO Guest

    It is interesting that when you travel to a place like Hawaii you
    realize very quickly what a spectacular landscape is. It's tough to take
    a bad photo in a place like that.
    THO, Mar 17, 2007
  14. Scott W

    Mark² Guest

    Not this one. The blue and black one could have caused death by this sort
    of contact. I know my froggies...having been born near the jungles of
    Colombia, South America...worked in the Brazilian rain forest. :)
    Mark², Mar 17, 2007
  15. Scott W

    Mark² Guest

    I'm not a math guy, so I can't argue your point...(David Littlewood, or
    Roger, where are you??) but I do know that the DOF worked, and the picture
    was just what I hoped it would be. And thanks. :)
    Mark², Mar 17, 2007
  16. Scott W

    Mark² Guest

    You'd be surprised how many bad ones are taken...even in such a beautiful
    Have a look at this:

    I don't know what on Earth they did to screw up so badly on their Haleakala
    shots, but they are just horrible.
    Mark², Mar 17, 2007
  17. Scott W

    Paul Furman Guest

    There was the other discussion about the saleability of artsy farsty
    blurry b&w photos versus crisp nature shots... I like them all. As I
    look at my portfolio, the vast majority of shots fall into the category
    of 'would be nice for a glance or a bit more in a magazine article where
    it was relevant to the topic' but when I look for stuff that might be
    suitable for someone to hang on their wall, the field narrows
    dramatically. Then recently I went through my stuff looking for mostly
    landscape shots suitable for postcards... I know that's corny but what
    the hell, sunsets are genuinely pretty and that is a legitimate use for
    those. And there might be another category of shots that would be fun to
    show to friends at a photography discussion group, they might really get
    a kick out of those & noone would really give much of a damn. I send out
    a photo update email to a number of people and that's a fair game format
    for most anything because it's just a moment's glance at each, and I
    have a real tough time paring things down to less than say 20 shots in
    my weekly emails, often much much more.

    Suitable for hanging on a wall:

    Suitable for post cards:

    This from 7 years of a couple hundred shots a week on average. I'm
    working on another gallery of wildlife shots, some might be good for a
    wall, probably none for post cards, all good for showing photog buddies.
    And then there is commercial work, a whole other category with more
    discrete types where only certain shots would be considered 'worthwhile'.
    Paul Furman, Mar 17, 2007
  18. Scott W

    Scott W Guest

    You get pretty use to it. For me photographing the mainland holds
    more interest simply because it does
    not look like Hawaii. Last year we went to Alaska and had a blast, it
    sure looks different then it does here.

    Scott W, Mar 17, 2007
  19. Scott W

    Mark² Guest

    You're probably right about that, Scott.

    I have thousands of slides that my late grandfather shot in the 40s and 50s.
    My mom told me that he didn't usually like to have people in his pictures,
    preferring landscapes without them... So guess which slides I chose to scan
    with time-consuming care? -Why, those few he shot with PEOPLE in them, of
    course! :) They are the ones that have the most meaning for me.
    Mark², Mar 17, 2007
  20. Scott W

    Scott W Guest

    I went through the same thing with my Grandmother's slides. No one
    else wanted then when she passed away so I took them when the idea of
    scanning them. Not only did she not get people in her shots but she
    pretty much did not get any evidence of mankind at all, no building,
    no cars nothing. There were a few photos of people and those were the
    only ones I found interesting.

    The vast majority of her photos are landscapes that have very little

    Scott W, Mar 17, 2007
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