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Author Topic: How do I accomplish Fine Art Landscape Photography?  (Read 13558 times)
bill t.
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« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2012, 07:53:52 PM »
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Well I can ramble as good as anybody, so let me just say that no landscape photographer is a complete person until she or he has taken a look at some paintings done by the Hudson River School of painters.  Those are the guys who first paired up "Luminous" with "Landscape."

Gorgeous stuff!  Light, color, and tonality in beautiful, glowing assemblage.  And a curiously different take on how one perceives a landscape compared to what we have today, definitely food for contemplation.  You have to see the very large scale originals, googling just returns way-too-contrasty, prissy little .jpgs.  There are a fair number of such paintings in museums around the US, and quite a few in Washington, DC galleries.

There's a book on the shelves of Barnes & Noble called "The Hudson River School, Nature and the American Vision" by Ferber which has some reasonably decent reproductions.  I was so taken with it I actually bought one.  Tell you what, those guys had naturalistic HDR down pat in the mid nineteenth century!

Those painters didn't necessarily stay in the Hudson Valley, there's a lot of western paintings including some Yosemite pieces that defined the perceptions and aspirations of many people of that time.  These days that's the job of television, sigh.

So anyway, an aspiring landscape photographer must not neglect the long line of artistic ancestors that formerly stood where he now aspires to stand.  Or something.  Know what went before, but don't get hung up on it, and go easy on the Antelope Canyon stuff, OK?


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luxborealis
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« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2012, 08:06:48 PM »
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You make an excellent point, bill t., and can add landscape masters such as Constable and Turner in the UK amongst many others. They have a way of painting light that add so much brilliance to their work, truly luminous landscapes, as you point out.
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Terry McDonald
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2012, 08:53:21 PM »
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Great touchstones Bill and Terry! Yes you do have to see the originals. they are great narrative paintings and reproduction on a screen or even in a book fails them.
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Ellis Vener
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Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
luxborealis
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« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2012, 06:05:38 PM »
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Being Canadian and often shooting in Ontario's north woods, I should have mentioned various members of the Group of Seven (e.g. Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, J.E.H. MacDonald) and Tom Thomson as well as west coaster Emily Carr. Their use of colour to portray light is unique, abstract, but not. While not directly portable to photography, their style is certainly inspiring.
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Terry McDonald
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bill t.
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« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2012, 11:56:06 PM »
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There were several great "schools" and also many individual phenoms.  And there are still some pretty awesome landscape painters working today.  This guy paints the same subjects that I shoot, and damn he's good!

It seems that in the previous few centuries there was a kind of emotional connection between artists and their landscape subjects of a type that we are afraid of in these times.  We "got over" romanticism, but maybe now we're stuck over compensating for perceived past excesses.  I have to admit to inner conflict in regards to the semi-romantic, large canvas photos I make.  I feel I'm not being hip and I'm certainly not being edgy, but on the other hand something keeps me making them beyond just the profit motive because I actually like those pieces!
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rambler44
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« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2012, 10:46:54 AM »
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Lots of great comments in this thread.  A couple of points that jump out at me.  Someone mentioned using a tripod, and you mentioned that yours, "slowed me down".  That is a good thing!  Spend more time.  Read books by John Shaw.  He suggests you work the scene, have your composition well in mind, the angles you intend to shoot at, the exposure settings you intend to try, etc. Then set up your tripod.

Before you click the shutter button, Shaw suggests you ask yourself, "Why am I taking this shot?"  What exactly is the subject?  What is the impact I want to the photograph to have on anyone who looks at it?

That leads me to comment on something that is not easy for me to describe, and that is emotion.  (Re-read a comment by Rich Desmond above, esp. his final paragraph)

You describe your passion for the Colorado area near your home that you visit often to photograph.  The challenge for you and all of us is to separate our own passion for a scene from the emotions of whomever it may be who views our photos.  It is true you own passion is key.  It is that passion that drives you to take the photo.  But, what about my emotion.  I may never have been to the location of your photo.  I was not there since before dawn waiting to catch that perfect light.  I do not hear any birds or see any coyotes lurking about.  Now, can your photo that I look at in the comfort of my living room far from Colorado evoke the same emotions in me?  Am I looking at a "Wow" photograph?  Does that location of where you took the photo really matter or is it the photograph by itself that makes me marvel.  Can I in turn wow you with a photograph I take on the beach within a mile from my home in Massachusetts?

For example, lets take a famous photo taken by Ansel Adams.  Do I really have to know that those falls I am looking at is in Yosemite?  I might indeed take interest to know where the falls are so I can go take a look in person, but that is not what makes it a great photo.  It is the composition, the lighting, the angles, and yes, the majesty of the place and all the things that went into producing the final image which for certain included darkroom editing that make that a "wow" photo.

Books by John Shaw, Bryan Peterson, Rob Sheppard have helped me, but also I have taken courses online where experts critique my images of a weekly assignment.  These get me out to areas close to home to take pictures, use and learn about my camera, too, but not dwell too much on the make of my camera or the price of the lens, but to concentrate and learn what are the elements that go into producing "wow" images on our own.  Some of my best images have been taken only a few feet from my front door, and someone else looking at them would not know.  The location is not important, it is the image itself!

Here is a quote I like. (I forget where I read it, probably John Shaw).  Probably not a direct quote, but nevertheless.....

"Do not just take a picture, make a photograph!"



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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2012, 11:01:12 AM »
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The art you create and the art you like are your subjective responses to the world you inhabit. Your choices say a lot about you, your state of mind, and how you see yourself in the context of the times, places, and people you live in and with. Even if you are unconscious of how you are synthesizing all of those internal and external pressures it comes out in the art.

If your goal is to make what you consider fine art (others may or may not agree ) then it is not so easily as just picking one tool over another, or aping someone else's style and technique. It will take some degree of introspection and self-awareness and being open and honest with yourself.
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Ellis Vener
http://www.ellisvener.com
Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
rambler44
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« Reply #27 on: February 19, 2012, 11:19:01 AM »
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Anyone wanting to see some wow photographs there are two websites whose authors are right above this post on this thread Bill T and Ellis V.

Ellis, your comment above could only have been written by a true artist.  Thank you, I am humbled!
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #28 on: February 19, 2012, 11:48:04 AM »
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Quote
Ellis, your comment above could only have been written by a true artist
  Cheesy

Well you can fool some of the people some of the time, but thank you.
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Ellis Vener
http://www.ellisvener.com
Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
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