Storm chasing and landscape photography

Showcase Proportion to Create a Sense of Power

Jul 18, 2023

There’s no denying it, storm chasing, done safely, is thrilling, and it’s a lesson in the power of nature. Supercells typically span about 8 to 24 km across, while thunderstorms are usually of the larger size spanning around that 24 km mark. Accompanied by loud thunder, lightning, rotating clouds, sometimes hail, strong winds, funnel clouds and occasionally tornados, every photographer who has stopped to capture a photo of a storm can agree they are powerful.

Infusing a sense of emotion into a photograph will usually elevate the overall visual impact of that image. Showcasing proportion or scale in a setting, especially when capturing the power of nature, like a storm cell or rushing waterfall, can intensify emotion and the sense of power within the frame.

So how can a photographer accomplish this?

Look for objects in a frame that can help a viewer identify the scale and compose accordingly. 

Take a look at the example image below. I purposefully included the fence posts in this frame because they create depth and showcase scale alongside the little barn. By referencing the fence posts, the viewer can tell the scale of the barn in relation to the fence posts. Furthermore, when viewing the lighting in the frame compared to the barn, the viewer can understand the power and expanse of the lighting strikes in the distance and the size of the storm cell.

ISO 640, 24mm, f9, 6 seconds 

If you aim to create a sense of power in your photos, look for ways to include objects and elements that help the viewer identify a sense of scale. This scale will help your viewer understand the size and power of the elements you want to showcase.


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