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The Path to the Trees

By heyitshenry
I've always been wondering on whats a good composition for landscape shots. I had a bit of practice the other day and tried different lines but i'm still a bit lost. Do you have any tips for Landscapes and how does the lighting look?

Tags: Park Black and white Path Landscape and travel

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dudler Plus
18 1.8k 1928 England
27 Jun 2019 8:25PM
Ever so ever so nearly!

I love the curves going hither and thither, and hte light's excellent (maybe even lower would be even better - everything looks far more 3-D is raking light).

For my taste, you really need both the right hand side of the path and the end of the clump of trees in frame - back five steps, and you're there.

This may be slightly skewed, down on the right, but it doesn't matter too much - the play of curves against each other makes the image. Interestingly complex, this one. Could you develop that further?

Look for off-centre compositons (I won't say 'Rule of Thirds' but it's not a million miles off, S-curves (you've got that, then) and leading lines (lines in the image that lead the eye into the picture, often converging from different directions.

Have a look at the stuff on EPZ that's tagged as landscape, and see if the shots you like have any common factors - then analyse what they are. Try a similar idea, post it here, and say why you did it.

The act of thinking about it, analysing, and replicating is developmental in itself - our comments are, then, merely the icing on the cake.
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.2k 2518 United Kingdom
27 Jun 2019 9:45PM
It's good, the curves are dynamic, I like the way the road tugs against the trees. But that clipped curve on the right is a minus. It's important to check out what is happening at the edges of the frame...
capto Plus
10 7.0k 31 United Kingdom
27 Jun 2019 10:38PM
A shot with potential, I have done a mod with a few tweaks.
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.2k 2518 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2019 8:10AM
Ivor's modification really does illustrate the importance of checking carefully what is happening at the edge of the frame, it is so much stronger just from those few pixels.
28 Jun 2019 8:43AM
Wow Thank You all! Ivor thats rather impressive that mod, It Looks a lot stronger! i've just to keep checking the composition as most of you have said and make it second nature. I will check the Landscape tags, It should help a lot more
banehawi Plus
17 2.7k 4307 Canada
28 Jun 2019 1:26PM
You tend to ask very broad questions Henry, and Im sure you are also taking advantage of the vast resources available on the Internet. There are tones of guides, videos, tutorials, examples, and techniques that answer in a lot of detail any question you have.

What we can provide is opinions, and some tips, and suggestions on composition and camera craft.

As you can see as you compare you shot to what Ivor has done, and youve given it a WOW, is that its immediately more interesting, and has more impact. The eye is no longer looking at the right side wondering what happened to that pathway, - its all inside the frame.

Ive loaded a mod thats that same as Ivors, but also addresses exposure, - the land portion is underexposed, and this is because the brightness of the sky influences the cameras meter, causing underexposure in the less brightly lit areas. To compensate for this, use exposure compensation, set to +2/3 or so. Experiment, trial and error, thats what makes progress.

This is a scene that was well "seen"


paulbroad Plus
14 131 1294 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2019 3:35PM
Good advice - it's what looks right. Willie mentions exposure and that is the problem here, or conversion, or both. This is a very flat image with a compressed range of grey tones in the middle of the range and no good black or white.

You need some punch and impact in mono and with so much green here, everything has converted to a similar grey. I'm not sure mono is a good idea. you could also do with a bit more dramatic light - that is why many landscape photographers shoot very early or late in the day.

pamelajean Plus
16 1.7k 2253 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2019 8:51PM
Whatever lines or shapes you use, their purpose is generally to lead the viewer's eye through the scene. Having something significant at the end of the lead-through is important, otherwise you lead the eye to nowhere and nothing. So it's important to ask yourself, "How will the eye travel through this image?"
Of course, you won't find that it works for every landscape shot, but it's at least worth thinking about.
Some people even find strong zig-zags to take us through the scene.

The idea is to keep your viewer involved, and get their eyes to journey along the path you have provided, so you are (hopefully) guiding the way for the photo to be viewed.

You have here a fine example of a curve that begins at the bottom of the frame and takes the eye up to the trees. The cut-off curve has been commented upon.

You will also find that lines can alter the mood of an image, depending upon its shape. The S-Curve is one of the commonest and most graceful of the lines used in composition, and yours is very much that shape. This shape can produce a feeling of calm, especially to nature pictures.

You will be looking for lines now, and that's a good exercise, ensuring you will see definitely them if they are there.

dark_lord Plus
18 2.9k 810 England
29 Jun 2019 5:47PM
The clipped pathe immediately caught my eye. I do look out for such things, especially in the Critique Gallery, and it's one of those things to check for.It's akin to just clipping someone's head or feet in a pictuire. the curve takes you round and back in to explore the rest of the image, and that's good, but with that clipping you risk leading the viewer out of the image altogether.

Always look around the edges of the frame for any intrusions or things that are missing. It's like a quick check that you've packed everything uyou need when going on holiday.

If the composition looks fine, it likely is. The rule of thirds is more of a helpful guide to get you started. Rather like making your own curry, vary the amount of chilli from a standard recipe to suit yourself.

I suspect the original was very green, but your mono conversion is very grey, and that's been addressed above and in the mods.
However. how did you do your conversion? After downloading this image the profile was Greyscale so I suspect the conversion was just that
Different methods give different results and often you'll need to adjust contrast as a last step to get a visual 'punch'. Being able to adjust the colour channels individually will allow you great control over the result.

My mod doesn't address the composition but the finishing off. I added a graduated Fill layer set to Overlay blending mode to give some gradation to the sky. It's like using a graduated filter on the lens only infinitely more controllable. It doesn't suit every case but is a technique worth remembering.

Unfortunately it's highlighted the fact that there ae dust spots on your sensor, so you'll need to look into getting it cleaned, either at a camera shop or by yourself using readily available kits.

29 Jun 2019 10:28PM
Thank you Keith, I took the picture in Black and White on the camera and i did no conversion. The Composition and cutting of important objects in the frame is what I am trying to concentrate on. I am going to be getting the camera cleaned soon, it's been irritating me Sad.

Henry F
dudler Plus
18 1.8k 1928 England
3 Jul 2019 11:08AM
Henry -

I stronly recommend that you shoot RAW as well as JPG files - and then, you can have colour as well as mono when you shoot B/W - plus the possibility of doing different conversions with wildly different tonal schemes. Like adding coloured filters to a film camera.

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