GOOD LANDSCAPE? BETTER LANDSCAPE? BUSY LANDSCAPE? Photography Tip #16

When I take a series of photographs like the ones I’ve posted below, I always wonder if some of you may prefer that I just post them with a few details of the shot.  I know so many blogs do just that.  But with me, I find it much more interesting to offer an opportunity for all of us to engage each other in a learning experience.  So, I often post them in a way like I have here. 

Our mountains received a fair amount of snowfall during the holidays which always translates into a beautiful scene from the valleys below – especially on a clear day!  Realizing this very fact served to draw me to a nearby lake to capture the scene.

It’s very interesting because I was just having a comment discussion about the freedom in photography with one of the readers of my previous post.  I’m beginning to realize there is a tremendous freedom with regard to photographic preference.  In my limited experience, it seems almost anything will have a certain element of appeal to someone.  Although I must admit, more with some than with others.

So with that in mind, I offer the following landscapes featuring the San Gabriel Mountain Range in southern California.  I captured each of these shots from the same location with only minimal adjustments to my perspective in order to include differing foreground features.

#1 – Good landscape?  Too plain?

#2 – Better landscape?  Too distracting?

#3 – Better landscape?  Too busy?

I hope you will leave your comments in answer to some of these questions.  I really believe your input will help to make all of us better photographers – whether we take pictures for a living, or purely for fun!

So why don’t you join in the fun and offer your comment!  There’s really no wrong answer – that’s the beauty of preferential license in photography!

 

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~ by photographyfree4all on January 10, 2011.

46 Responses to “GOOD LANDSCAPE? BETTER LANDSCAPE? BUSY LANDSCAPE? Photography Tip #16”

  1. I think it’s largely going to come down to personal preference. I like the first one best, but I agree with your feeling that it’s a tad one the plain side. if possible, I would zoom in more, so that your subject (the mountain and the town below) takes up a greater balance of the image. right now it’s heavily dominated by featureless foreground and background elements, and that’s what makes it feel less lively.

    if it were a clear, still day and the image of the town and mountain were reflected in the water, I think your first image would be fantastic

    Like

  2. I think I like the #2 shot the best, middle of the road,
    altho they’re all good in my opinion.

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  3. #2 (I also commented as Charlotte O’Hara’s Web), altho, I
    think the more I look at them… maybe #1. (And imagining it with a
    colorful sunrise or sunset and the colors of the sky reflected in
    the water…) =)

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  4. I like the second picture. It could be because that is my
    personal preference style of taking pictures. I like a little
    something “distracting” around the edges. They are all absolutely
    beautiful.

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  5. It’s a personal choice for sure. I like framed landscapes
    as a rule, so I would lean towards your second image most of the
    time. But my ‘rules’ are always changing..lol Your picture has me
    liking the first image the best. The only thing distracting me is
    the horizon. A different take, or my idea? Get down to the water
    level. Shoot the image so that the mountains just about touch the
    top of the frame.. giving depth and distance in the water.. or if
    its a great sky, put minimal water, and have lots of sky. My scapes
    usually have exagerated sky or water/land. I try to keep the
    horizon clealy out of the center

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  6. Thank you for sharing your preference here, Barb! I’m still not ready to reveal my favorite – not just yet! But, it is interesting what people offer as their preference. It fascinates me! Thanks for jumping in here, Barb! I’m glad you did.

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  7. If you keep looking, maybe you’ll fall in love with #3, too! 🙂 Isn’t it amazing how we see things differently with just another look? I think there may be a lesson to be learned there, Barb! Great comment, Barb! Thanks!

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  8. Hi John. I always love your comments because you offer such detail and knowledge that allows me (and everyone else) to re-think each shot based upon your expertise and gain a different (and oftentimes better) perspective. I’m going to experiment with your suggestions and see where that takes me! This is a great comment that is very much appreciated! Thanks!

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  9. Totally personal taste and I am no expert for sure, but I
    love the third image, although I think I would include the base of
    the tree. I agree with the first commenter with regard to the first
    image: less water to make the village/mountain more clearly the
    subject, or include some less dominant foreground feature (shrubs,
    rocks) to break up the expanse of water and lead the eye into the
    frame.

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  10. I agree with everyone when I say it’s completely based on
    personal preference! I looked at all of them several times,
    together and individually, and honestly, I like them all! I can
    imagine them all in their own frames, hanging next to each other as
    a photographic study. Very nice!!

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  11. All 3 shots are beautiful. I think for me the first shot is
    my favorite. Like was already mentioned if there was less water
    taking up the foreground it would be more striking. Perhaps a nice
    white sailboat moving across the water? Anyway great job on all of
    them!

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  12. I like the first one the best. However, I’d like to a see
    more detail of the land and less water (for me the water line is
    too much in the center of the frame.)

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  13. Definitely number two for me!

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  14. You’ll never please everyone, and sometimes choosing one composition or one framing over another is difficult, because each might appeal to you in a different way. I rather like #2, but would have preferred only one set of branches 🙂 But they’re all very nicely done!
    I think #3 needed a tighter crop towards the tree, using the tree as a frame rather than it being a subject, I think it competes with the rest of the scene.
    Keep shooting, and have fun!!

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  15. I always learn so much from these types of discussions, Robin. I love it when you share your preferences and then explain why you prefer that shot! Thank you so much for this comment today! Great job!

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  16. I think it’s great that your rules are always changing, Amanda! I’m sure mine are, as well! 🙂 I think that is a sure sign of continued growth in our photography! I like your idea and will try it the next time I’m shooting this area, which will probably be in a month or so. In February, the hills become much greener here which will draw back to this place to shoot again! Thanks, Amanda! Great comment!

    Like

  17. In the third shot, I distinctly remember what I thought to be a very distracting sidewalk in the shot if I drew back any further. I tried to include as much of the base as possible without catching the sidewalk, but this is the best I could do. Great comment, Missusk! I do think the first shot could be improved with less of the water. Thanks for this great comment!

    Like

  18. This is an interesting comparison. All 3 images offer something visually appealing. My personal preference is the 2nd image – including the tree branches in the foreground makes me feel as though I am in the scene, it gives the image a more personal vibe for me. Great post!

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  19. Personal preference is a beautiful thing, Holly! It really drives this industry. Maybe the answer is to create a suite in this situation, like you said! 🙂 I think someone else mentioned liking all of them, but in different ways and for different reasons. I think I would agree with that. Great comment, Holly! Thank you for sharing it.

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  20. That’s what we really need – a sailboat!! Now that would make it much better, Michael. I always wanted to get a nice sailboat in one of my sunset shots, but as of yet have never been able to accomplish it. You’re right, though. I like the first shot – but, it needs something. Less water would be a start! Thanks, Michael! I find these discussions very helpful!

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  21. You’re right on about the water line, Emily. I think I was watching the mountain line rather than the water line. It does cut the frame in half. That’s not good! 🙂 It seems a bit ordinary to me – which is why I began to include something in the foreground. maybe a closer shot would have halped the situation! I will definitely try that the next time. I do shoot here often. We’ll see if I’ve learned from this discussion. 🙂 I know I have! 🙂

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  22. WOW! I just realized you got 3 smiley faces, Emily! You win the prize!!

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  23. I also like #2. I also like Michael’s idea of a sailboat, though! Now, I just have to find someone who owns one and will take it out for my photo shoot. 🙂 Thanks Journey! I love that you often share your comments here!

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  24. When I read your comment, Michael, I went to one of the copies of my original #3’s and did some quick cropping to test your suggestion. You’re right on! It does present a much better composition in the cropped format. This is what I love about these discussions. Because when I’m out there shooting, believe me, I’ll remember many of the comments and suggestions posted right here! Thank you, Michael! You’re a great encouragement to me and I’m sure others who read your comments.

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  25. I like that you talked about feeling as if you’re in the scene, Tampa. I would think that’s what we all would want out of a landscape! If I can get you that involved, I think I’ve succeeded! What a great post script to this post! Thanks!

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  26. I like them all, but #2 is my favorite. It’s just the right mix of foreground and subject.

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  27. Steve – #2 is my favorite – #3 is too busy personally – the view is gorgeous in all three!

    blessings,
    jill

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  28. No contest – #2 is the winner as it provides the viewer
    with a sense of scale and depth (although, I would have liked to
    see the horizon line perfectly horizontal). #1 could be made better
    with something in the foreground (squat lower to get some shoreline
    with grasses or rocks OR if there were any sort of boats in the
    water). For me, #3 has no real sense of a subject: is the tree the
    subject or the mountains in the background? JMHO 🙂

    Like

  29. I decided to comment before reading your comments. (I
    always enjoy and learn from the comments here.) #3 is my favorite.
    I like peering through the trees to see what’s behind
    them.

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  30. I love all of the input from every comment here, Miss Pearl! This post was designed to especially draw out presonal preference in order to further my/our photography skills as we engage in this informative discussion. To me, as the shots are presented here – I would have to choose #2. Although I have to also say, from the comments of many I have been able to modify #1 and #3 to present better, IMHO. Further, in those modified presentations I’m not so sure #2 would be my choice. That’s exactly what I’m hoping will happen! Thanks for sharing your comment as well. It all comes together to make a complete post! great job!

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  31. Hi Jill. Thank you for your comment as to your preference. Thanks to a comment by Michael Lam (I believe) I was able to edit #3 into a closer shot which served to morph the tree into more of a frame than a distraction. But in this (without further editing)presentation, I would agree with you. Nice comment!

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  32. And #2 is coming on strong! 🙂 Thanks tracy for your expertise here! You’re absolutely right about #1. In fact, I’ll be out there shooting again soon and I intend to try exactly what you’re saying here. Great comment, Tracy! Thanks for jumping in!

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  33. I love it when people are willing to openly present their preference, Robin! Good for you!! I don’t want you to be influenced by other comments – until after you’ve shared your choice. That’s what I did! There was always something about #3 that inexplicably kept drawing me back to it. But, I kept thinking – that’s pretty busy. But that didn’t matter – I liked it! Again proving the widespread acceptance of personal preference and the freedom that brings. But, I also liked #2. As I replied to Jill, I was able to edit #3 into what I believe to be a much better shot – thanks to a suggestion from Michael Lam. Now, I can feel better about liking #3, when no one else seemed to mention it! jk! Great comment, Robin! Keep reading and learning with all of us! Thanks!

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  34. The last one is interesting and unique, I like the second one the most. I feel that they can all be used for different purposes. It’s all in the story you are trying to convey. Vacation travel agent catalog, National Geographic and Outdoor sporting store.

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  35. You know it is funny you should post on this subject because this is something that I have been working on too. In my current learning experience, I have shot most of my landscapes like the first example. After studying other landscape photos and tips, I have tried to incorporate objects in the foreground. After looking at my photos from Zion with objects in the foreground, I can really see the difference in the artistic quality. So with all that said, I really like No. 2. I think it is a perfect balance, not “too distracting” or “too plain.”

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  36. My favorite is no. 1 – with the changes already mentioned above. I think there is too much disturbance from the trees in the two other pictures.

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  37. Not many have even mentioned #3, Martina! I find it to be interesting, as well. But, it’s been almost equally divided between #1 and #2. I think you either see the branches as helping to fill the frame (which means you prefer it), or you feel like the branches are distracting (which means you would choose #1). I’m glad you responded! I think it has helped me for future shots! great job!

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  38. Hi, Catherine! This is a fantastic comment, Catherine! You have expressed exactly what I’ve been trying to achieve – information that we can all use to make improvements in our photography…whether we take a lot of shots, or only a few! I have to agree with you about foreground objects adding to the overall interest of the shot. They can also be used to draw the eye into the shot! So, they add interest and purpose to most every shot! I’ve had to learn this along the way just like you have. Thank you for sharing your comment – it was great!

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  39. Hi Truels! I would agree with you if you’re saying “with the noted changes made to #1.” As it is presented, it is a bit plain. But, with some adjustments – it could be much better…possibly even my favorite, too! Great job, Truels!

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  40. Okay, Steve, here we go. As you have them presented here
    and now, my preference would be #2. But, #1 could have been the
    best if it weren’t that it looked so empty. Definitely too much
    water. One or two of your commenters mentioned a tighter crop.
    Another idea it would make a great panorama, cropping out part of
    the sky and part of the water. The shoreline id too much centered.
    Number #2 has a slightly tilted shoreline. If you could rotate and
    re-crop to level that you will have a perfect shot. I agree with
    Missus76 on the 3rd one. The tree is nice but it is too dominant.
    Attention is brought to it instead of the shoreline, But, all in
    all, you done a good job, and I would say that you should ask
    yourself, which do YOU like. Bob

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  41. There you are, Bob! I thought maybe you were on an extended “birding” adventure or something. I think you may have something with your panarama idea for the first shot. That would definitely remove much of the “plain” portion of the landscape. It’s interesting that when I first began this journey, I would shoot many landscapes like the first one. I think someone else mentioned the tilt of the shoreline in #2 and I failed to mention that the shoreline actually cuts away somewhat, creating what I believe to be an optical illusion that it is tilted. I looked long and hard at this very thing when I downloaded the shot. In fact, I began to adjust it when I realized – that looks even worse. When I look closely (and of course I remember seeing it when I was there) I can see the slight inlet that moves away from my position. Thanks for making it in with another great comment, Bob!! Oh I failed to mention, I was back out there this morning making some of the adjustments you and others have mentioned. We’ll see how they turn out! Thanks, Bob!

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  42. After thinking about the tilt of the shoreline, I’m going to examine the shot one more time later today to make certain. I know there is a cut-back to the shoreline. It seems pretty level to me on the left side of the frame. But what I was wondering, Bob – do you think I should make the shoreline appear level even if that would actually not be correct?? Does the eye “need” to see that distraction corrected? thanks, Bob!

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  43. Rather than repeat a lot of the comments already made, let me make this one suggestion/observation. In #3 move over to the side a bit. If you want to include the tree in the foreground, move the mountains in the back – with the eye catching snow caps – over to where it can be seen instead of having to look between the branches. Just a thought/different perspective.

    Like

  44. I like #3 although I think it is a little busy. I like
    seeing the trees in this shot – lake, mountains, trees – very
    pretty. Maybe if the tree was at the left side instead of the
    center. #1 is too plain. It needs less water, maybe a closer shot
    bringing out the snow covered mountains.I like #2 it is a really
    pretty shot. As they appear right now I like it second best after
    #3. I can hardly wait to see what your retakes look like.

    Like

  45. It was sure a lot of fun to discover everyone’s preferences! I really think with some editing and maybe a few minor perspective changes – all of these shots could become serviceable. Thank you for all of the detail you included with your comment! Why Miss Betty, I wonder if you’re not becoming a little more interested in photography?? Your comments are sounding more and more like a pro! 🙂 Keep them coming – I love ’em!

    Like

  46. Thanks for sharing this post with us,its really very great work and very use full.

    Like

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