Photo 101, Day 15: Landscape

Today’s theme is “Landscape” and since I love the outdoors and shooting landscapes I figured this one would be easy! So as I packed up the trusty old DSLR on the way out the door this morning I promised myself I’d shoot while there was daylight. What a great excuse to step out, “gotta take some pictures!” so after a pleasant afternoon meeting with clients I headed out the door to find my landscape.

Since I already had a destination in mind there really wasn’t any question where I was going, the only question was what I’d find when I got there. It was an isolated spot along the east bank of the Willamette River, across and upriver from the Eola Inn. It’d been years since I’d been there and after only one wrong turn I arrived to find a rain swollen river and gusty wind driven rain blowing in hard from the south.

Okay, not the best conditions for photography but there was no turning back. I parked as close as I could to an accessible gap in the trees that permitted a good view of the river and, remaining in the car, I pulled out the camera and checked the settings. It was still on portrait from the day 13 dog shot and I’m really glad I didn’t discover that minor little detail standing out in the driving rain! Let’s see…camera on, white balance cloudy, ISO 800, AV set to F16, and evaluative metering (shooting landscapes I like to toggle between evaluative metering, which locks exposure on the focal point, and partial metering which exposes for a center weighted average). Anyway, with the camera set up and the shot I wanted firmly in mind it was time.

I got out of the car and shielded the camera and lens under my coat as made my way into position. The shot was due south, directly into the weather. I surveyed the scene for a moment and visualized in my mind what I would see in the view finder. The sky was an uninteresting uniform grey so clearly there no point in getting much of that in the shot. Next I turned my attention to the foreground and found it necessary to retreat a few steps back from the edge of the bank to frame the background and balance the composition with the foreground elements… I like landscapes with a sense of depth and this is usually achieved by having a good balance of foreground, mid ground, and back ground elements and, unless there is a specific subject, I’ll usually focus and expose for the foreground with aperture set about F16 for good depth of field.

Once I had it all worked out in my head I brought the camera out from under my coat and into the weather. After the first couple shots I quickly realized the shutter speed was way too slow for the dark and blustery conditions so I opened it up to about F10 and continued. In all I probably got about 7 shots before the rain drops dappled the lens and I was forced to quit, but it was enough. I had a nice variety of focal points and exposures of the scene to choose from.

In this selected shot the exposure and focal point is down and to the left, on the foreground right at the edge of the bank. I like how it’s balanced and demonstrates the rule of 3rds…1/3 foreground, 1/3 mid~back ground, and 1/3 sky. More or less. Nothing spectacular to be sure, but it’s a solid composition and the best I could do under the circumstances. Anyway, enough about that. Time to let the picture speak for itself. But before I go I will say all of this Photo 101 posting has made me much more comfortable writing for pleasure in my blog and I’m glad about that. Richard Gessford Landscape 1

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