When I talk to people who want to improve their landscape photography, they often ask me how they should go about choosing the subject. We are surrounded by so many possible subjects it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. I suggest they put down their camera and look very carefully at the landscape. Doing that helps them to discover which part of it is making them feel that it is worthy of being photographed. Having chosen the “what” there’s also the question of scale. Take these two examples from a recent trip to the Gower Pensinsular in South Wales:
This is a telephoto shot of a large section of landscape. I was attracted by the silhouetted headland, and the cloud shadows on the twinkly sea. There’s a cloud shadow on the left hand side of the frame that mirrors the end part of the headland. I cropped the image, to put the horizon one third of the way down from the top, and cloned out a distracting small boat. The result is a well balanced, classic, large scale landscape image.
Smaller scale landscapes work too. This is at Broad Pool, one of my favourite Gower places. My plan was to get some images of reflections in the still water of the pool, but it was a very windy day so the water surface was moving around a lot. Instead of the whole pool I chose a small area with the reflection of a single reed. The water’s movement has produced an abstract image with a reflected patch of blue sky hinting at better weather.
Each of these images involves reflections on water, but their scales are quite different. So before you press the shutter decide whether you’re going to “go large” or going to try a bit of “bonsai photography”.