What is it about landscape photography that we find so appealing? Is it the way it can capture the sheer grandeur and beauty of the natural world in a way that move and provoke awe in the viewer? Is it the way it juxtaposes us as humans against the sublimity of nature, i.e. the micro against the macro? Or is it simply a method of escapism, a way of creating beautiful images that can take us to places unknown and unexpected? This article will present a few musings on the subject, with some ideas for your own work.
Why They’re Good
Who hasn’t had the experience of just having to stop and look at a beautiful scene? There’s something overwhelming about the natural world, something that evokes great feelings of serenity and pleasure. A field of flowers, a verdant hillside, a lush country valley. These are the images that might spring to mind when we think about nature, but a barren desert or arctic tundra can be just as moving and beautiful. Landscape photography can evoke feelings of the sublime, i.e. a sense of wonder with a little bit of terror, when confronted with the grandiosity of the natural world.
The Romantic poets wrote about this feeling in their poetry, and a good landscape shot should achieve the same effect. But landscape photography isn’t exclusively bound to the natural world. In fact, cityscapes can be just as powerful and awe-inducing as any mountain shot. The sheer scope of human ingenuity can be captured in just a single image if you’re lucky enough. There’s a reason the New York skyline is known all over the world.
The following subjects make for great images when captured properly:
- Running water – A large, slow-moving river is an altogether different subject than a sprightly, fast-flowing rocky stream. Both can work very well in landscape.
- Mountains – There is perhaps nothing more awe-inspiring than a rocky mountain range. Those jagged peaks are both menacing and enchanting. Capture them well, and you’ll have yourself a remarkable shot.
- The sea/coastal areas – Sandy beaches lapped by waves, windswept cliffs that overlook the sea, an ocean horizon stretching over endless miles. The sea can provide some truly wonderful images just waiting to be captured by you.