How to take better landscape images.

Want More Interesting Landscape Photos? Look Beyond the Obvious.

Mar 22, 2022

Spring has arrived! I know many of you are excited about that. What was frozen under the heaps of snow will soon emerge, and the cycle of new growth will begin.

However, here in the Canadian Rockies, spring's emergence is slow. In some places, the ice breaks up and makes way for new compositions as it creates shelves and jams against lake shorelines and, yes, reflections are beginning to emerge as well. But for the most, it still looks a lot like winter here in the mountains.

So while others are filling their feeds with fields of lupine and tulips, what's the Canadian photographer to do? We're still capturing the same sleepy, snow-covered scenes. 

The simple answer to that is to look beyond the obvious shot. 

Take a look at the photo below. The obvious picture at this location in Banff is the frozen lake and spectacular mountain, as I have indeed captured and I have tucked away in my portfolio. 

ISO 100, 20mm, f13, 1/13 sec

However, as I grow in my journey as a landscape photographer, I'm constantly seeking ways to improve my technical and artistic skills. One of the lessons I have learned is that to create more interesting landscape photos, I must look beyond the obvious. So how do I do that?

In the image below, the day was dreary, and the light was primarily flat. Therefore, the obvious composition was not going to make the cut for the type of image I wanted to create. Instead, I needed to look for a perspective that went beyond the obvious. So, I purposefully walked around the shoreline edges, looking for interesting details that I could use in the composition of an image. When I found these dynamic-shaped chunks of ice, I probably shouted, "Yes! This is it!" I knew incorporating these elements into an image would infuse more visual interest as it pushed my image beyond the obvious.   

ISO 100, 16mm, f9, 1/80 sec

The first image is pretty in its own right, but it's the obvious capture of this beautiful mountain scene. The second image incorporates elements beyond the obvious, and in fact, it's a perspective missed by many people. 

If you want to create more interesting landscape photos, make an effort to capture images beyond the obvious shot. 

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