Thursday, 4 February 2010

Landscape Creative Techniques

Last week we did not have a Landscape field trip class. We had a Wednesday evening lecture on 'creative landscape techniques' and after our class, we were released into the wild with an assignment to practice some of them over the weekend.

Now, the Fella and I had booked a road trip to visit the Seattle Boat Show. We headed off last Friday and returned on Sunday. We sort of assumed that we would meander back to Vancouver via the coast to have a look around and complete our assignment en route home.

In retrospect, the problem with this plan was that the Fella decided that he would drive. While this made complete sense at the time (he knows the roads), it's been so long since we've been on a road trip together that I had completely forgotten that he doesn't have a switch for gentle 'touring' driving speed.

Y'know, the kind of driving speed that allows you to pull over easily if you see something that might be worth a closer look or photographing (and perhaps, even posting on this blog). E.g. the first cattle, sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas that I have seen out at pasture since I arrived in North America (all in the course of about 5 miles, on a single stretch of road somewhere NW of Seattle).

Just as an aside: yes, you did read that correctly, I have not knowingly clapped eyes on any farm livestock (other than the occasional horse, do they count?) since I arrived here in October 2008. Yes, I have ventured out into a number of different rural areas around Vancouver but I have not ever seen a single farm animal. This really threw me last year when I did not see any Spring lambs anywhere. As that always used to be one of the uplifting signs of Spring for me!

The Fella appears to be of the firm opinion that all routes should be travelled at the maximum allowable speed, so as not to inconvenience any vehicles that might happen to be travelling behind us. As a result (my camera being safely stowed in the boot), I have no NW US landscape pictures to show you at all - just a frustrating memory of a nice drive with a great landscape and my continuous requests for us to stop, or at least slow down, being ignored. Bah Humbug.

In the end, I insisted that we stop in White Rock (in Canada, just over the border) to scrape together some shots for last night's class.

Here are my results. I am not sure that I like them but at least I have tried them and I know what effect they produce now:

01 Graduated Filter Test - Sky Tint Issue

Creative Tools/Techniques: Graduated Neutral Density Filter, Polariser & Long Exposure. What does this do? It helps to balance sky/foreground, remove glare from the surface of the ocean and blurs the people. I am not sure that I have the hang of this yet as the foreground looks a bit too overexposed and I really don't like the odd pink-brown colour that the two filters seems to have stained the sky.

02 Graduated Filter Test - DeSat

Creative Tools/Techniques: polariser and a graduated neutral density filter. Reduced water glare and helped to enhance sky detail. I converted this image to black and white afterwards in order to combat the pinky-brown stain problem in the sky area.

03 Zooming Pick

Creative Tools/Techniques: filters as before and zooming lens during a long exposure to create feeling of movement. Well it sort of does, I guess - I don't like this effect at all!

04 Multiple Exposure Test Pick

Creative Tools/Techniques: polariser to manage water glare and multiple exposure to capture water movement at 3 different times during the same wave.
The other 'in camera' creative techniques suggested in our class were:
  • panning the camera to capture a moving object and blur the background. We did try to pan on some birds but they were too far away for our pictures to be effective!
  • taking pictures with a very high ISO set on the camera to create pictures that are deliberately 'noisy'. I forgot to take any pictures like this!
  • spinning the camera during a long exposure. I don't have a safe way to do this without risking my camera. I did try flipping it from horizontal to vertical but um, the images were shockingly bad so I gave them the boot!

Can anyone else think of any other 'in camera' techniques that give unusual results?


centerlightpop said...

I have to say, in that first photo you posted, I really LOVE the effect the polarizer had on the water. I love when you can see through the surface. I really must get one of those.

The last photo is really quite beautiful!

Kelli said...

I rather like that last one.

Lara said...

The 2nd photo speaks to me louder than the others, but then, I have a 'thing' for clouds.

Can commiserate with you about "not stopping for a photo op" as I had that experience with sis @ Christmas. Just because I excitedly pointed out a flamingo did not translate to 'you should stop'. Quite interested to know the responses to each of your requests to stop. I'd say that it works best when you are with like-minded photographers, but you were ...

cheap dsi r4 said...

Mind blowing picture! Awesome photography. Looks like milky sky!

Julie said...

wow, those are gorgeous!! Looks like you're really getting so much out of the course. Excellent photos!!

Gabrielle said...

Lara: *chuckle* In fairness to the Fella, he was just concentrating very hard on his driving. My voice was simply secondary to what was happening around him on the road. I did get him to slow a bit by the end and we did eventually stop (my complaints had reached fever pitch because his speed meant that we kept overshooting good stopping places). However, by this time, we were in a forest without a good, clear view. A bit like standing in the middle of Stanley Park. Not much point getting the camera out!

missmalice said...

love your photos! have you tried Through the View Finder? Strap on an old duaflex and use your digital camera to take the photo. examples here: