Posts Tagged ‘ mountain ’

Bow Glacier Falls

It has been a few months since I last featured any of Keith Rajala‘s work, but that does not mean there has been any let-up in his quality.

Bow Glacier Falls

Reminiscent in some ways of Adams’ mountain shots – simple, compelling, with very carefully managed tonal ranges to bring out the finer details – this shot provides a sense of majesty, but controlled enough not to be overbearing.

As is de rigueur for a scene like this, it is perfectly proportioned: the foreground interest anchors in both lower corners, drawing the eye up against the water’s flow to the lower left intersection of primary golden ratios, where the detail in the tonal range keeps the eye endlessly occupied. Every part of the centre of the image includes a detail of form or texture – or nature’s rugged beauty – that could be studied indefinitely. And then the eye finally finds the falls themselves: hanging from the intersection of the right primary and upper tertiary golden ratios; a sweeping arc that tumbles lazily down the cliffs until to sweeps into the foreground path to complete a stunning S-curve.

Without doubt, a masterpiece of mountain scenery.


Cascade Ponds

Next up, a powerfully alive landscape shot from Canadian Wendy Erlendson

One might think it easy to shoot a strongly composed landscape. That perception is nothing if not deluded. While a landscape may not be in motion, while it may simply be a case of getting into the right position, landscapes have many parts that all need to line up just right. It takes time to get from where you are to where you need to be; if even you know how the scene will evolve as you reposition yourself. And in the time it takes to get the static elements into place, the clouds and light can change enough that the shot no longer works.

In order to pull together a scene that makes people feel that they want to step into it, one needs to use a range of compositional elements. Clearly, having majestic elements helps, but in itself it is not enough.

Here, Wendy has started with the majesty of the mountain, the summit positioned on a golden ratio, and played on the reflection in the rippled waters. The duplicate ridge line runs parallel to the foreground shore, even going so far as to echo its unevenness. That foreground interest element, even though no more than a patch of grass, provides a further anchoring element as it nestles so tightly into the lower left corner. And finally, running back along the shoreline, we arc around the end of the water, and reach an actual as well as metaphorical bridge between fore- and middle-grounds. We arrive in a refined scene of pleasant calm – a small filed edged with trees – amidst all this majesty.

The additional processing here to emphasise the texture of the clouds does not so much enhance the composition as reinforce the original majesty of the setting.

Powerfully peaceful.

Edith Cavell

Next, somewhat late relative to when it was originally posted, another excellent slice of wilderness from Keith Rajala (maclobster).

Edith Cavell

This image contains all of the building blocks that make up a great landscape image (even when it is shot in portrait). Starting, as we must, in the foreground, there is an element of interest; in this case a cairn. This structure serves a double purpose: to give the viewer something that provides a sense of scale – a conceptual starting point from which to explore the depths; and, consequently, as a visual anchor, giving meaning to what is beyond.

Beyond the foreground is the depth. Not a lot of the image needs to be used for this, but the arrangement of its elements through a clear sense of perspective takes the eye from the foreground to the majesty of the main subject area. In this instance, perspective is provided by the floating ice, and there is the added bonus of beautiful tones.

The completion of a large scenic shot such as this comes in the form of the actual subject, which must in itself be dominant and impressive… it’s scale having been established by the foreground and depth. Here, the huge mountain, so large it towers straight up, provides that sense of awe.

Additionally, here, we have the tongue of a glacier reaching in on the right side, aligned directly with the cairn. This bonus diagonal, with the extended rim of the ice pack and the foreground rocks, provides a further S-curve to hold everything together.

Dramatic power, with glamorous colour.

Ascending Iota

We return now to the work of Keith Rajala (maclobster), whose previous analysed image appeared four months ago.

Ascending Iota

Despite the limited tones and elements making up this image, it is profoundly powerfully composed. Fundamental to that is the split (or virtual) diagonal that is the heart of the image, from bottom left to top right, the band of whiteness is bound on both sides by the darker elements. The diagonal is clearly there, prevalent, without actually being marked in itself.

That the mountain does not quite reach the top of the frame, along with a tonal change in the snow half way up provides a dominant triangular element, with the bottom right foreground element providing a second for balance. Adding the exposed rock in the bottom left corner finally anchors the whole. As a last element – as if it’s really needed – the six mountaineers give a sense of scale.

Powerfully simple, compelling grandeur.

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