So, the time has come for me to start working with landscapes. After hunting around for an hour or so, I found the tripod I bought years ago and have used only once. With the great soft and detailed images of Gabriele Basilico giving me some inspiration, I set off for Shap an area where I know there are many great landscape shots and is a place off the tourist trails.
I rarely use apertures as high as f20+ so lots of learning potential. Initially, I produced some comparison images of high and low horizons. Quite an interesting exercise, I would normally place horizons, either right at the top or in the middle. The following 4 images were my first images, 2 in colour and 2 in black and white.
For me, what’s interesting is that the subject matter changes depending on where the horizon sits. In the high horizon the tree and its context become the subject (clearly a tree sat in rough common grazing land), whereas the low horizon emphasised the lines of the stone walls and the outline of the tree on the horizon.
Next was to take some landscapes, at f22, but with different shutter speeds and therefore exposures. Moving to manual mode, I moved to a viewpoint a little further south and took 3 or 4 different views. The plan within the exercise being to adjust the levels later so the levels in the histogram was touching the black and white points.
For the first landscape shot I took a number of different shutter speeds, with the extremes being 1/10 (1st image) and 1/40 second (2nd image). Both images were adjusted and these are very different visually (and on the histograms). The first is clearly softer and gives greater detail, which was the object of the exercise. I think it is overall, much more appealing to the eye, although in the second image has some real strengths with the greater colour saturation and the stronger contrast in the sky gicing a real 3D feeling to it.
Whilst I left these images as colour and the softness from the narrow aperture and slow shutter speed is apparent, the stunning architecture images of Gabriele Basilico were in black and white, so and for the next set of landscapes I wanted to see what the impact was. Again f22 was used and different shutters speeds (1/13, 1/8 and 1/4 second) and the results adjusted in levels. Although the shutter speeds are fairly close together, visually these are very different images, with again the slowest shutter speed being the softest and giving the greater detail.
The final image is the one I enjoyed the most, it came closest the the impact I was looking for, having read the course notes and seen the soft images highlighted in the course text.
One challenge in this exercise was the ability to reduce the shutter speed down to a number of seconds, whilst I used ISO 100, the daylight was just too strong. Based on the impact shown above, it would seem that a slower shutter speed (or is it the overexposure) gives the best softness and detail. The only way (I think) to achieve this is through an ND filter, I knew that landscape photographers use these, but I didn’t know why.