Monday, January 21, 2013

Including People in Your Landscapes? It Can Work.

Kauai Beach, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, Lumix 100-300mm f4-5.6 Lens at 100mm
iso 400, f7.1, 1/1250 sec
Many times, when we think of a landscape image, we picture an untouched wilderness. One of the old rules of landscape photography is to include a strong foreground element, a focal point of some type, to anchor the scene. I can admit that I find myself trying to accomplish the untouched look, and have to search hard to find something interesting to put in the foreground.
Including a person is an easy way to achieve the necessary foreground element and focal point. It also has the nice feature of adding scale to a landscape, by letting the viewer see something that they know the size of. In the picture above, what I was trying to show was the steep mountains of Kauai, jutting straight up from the seashore. Yes, the trees would have given some idea of scale, but the two people on the beach do a better job of that. And, the trees were just a "layer" in the composition. They would not have provided a focal point. Without the people, this shot would not have a focal point in the lower 2/3 of the image at all.
There is a nice brief article by Matt Dutile on this concept on the Digital Photography School's blog.
(Click Here) to read Matt's article and see some nice example shots.