Wednesday Landscapes, 24 January 2018

Discussion in 'Landscape' started by Leslie Reid, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. You are invited to upload one or more of your landscape photos and, if you’d like, to accompany your image with some commentary: challenges you faced in making the image? your intent for the image? settings? post-processing decisions? why you did what you did? the place and time? or an aspect you’d like feedback on? And please feel free to ask questions of others who have posted images or to join the discussion. If you don’t feel like using words, that’s OK too—unaccompanied images (or unaccompanied words, for that matter) are also very much welcomed. As for the technicalities, the usual forum guidelines apply: files < 1 MB; image size <1000 px maximum dimension.

    I was thumbing by this one on the way to the one I was planning to post today, and got hung up on a sudden thought, which led to a trip to Photoshop and another cup of coffee. I’m not sure I can describe this adequately, but here goes. First, it’s pretty clear that without the bicyclist, this would be a very boring image. But what struck me was that the presence of the bicyclist not only makes the image more interesting, but also makes the landscape itself more interesting—there’s something about the presence of the anomalous human element that makes the fog feel foggy and invites me to pay attention to those strange wisps of ground fog in the foreground. With the bicyclist present, to me the landscape becomes kind of dramatic and mysterious (and that’s what it felt like when I was there); without the bicyclist, it’s just…boring.

    With bicyclist:

    Without bicyclist:
  2. I hope it's ok to post an urban landscape. I figured I'd follow the bicycle theme. This is the parking lot at City College of San Francisco. The tower of the old El Rey movie palace (now a church) is in the background. The lot was at one time a municipal reservoir, at which point it would probably have had a more typical landscape feel. I live right on the border of campus so this is just a couple of blocks from my house. During the week, of course, the foreground lot would have been filled to the brim with cars and students rushing to class, but on weekends it becomes kind of quiet and deserted blacktop open space.

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  3. Leslie, especially because of the ground fog on the beach, I don't think it's that boring without the bike, though I do like the one with the bike, of course. Without the bike, it has an almost zen, placid feel, especially with the muted colors. There's a compositional continuity that's very mesmerizing. I think the one without the bike might also work nicely, moving toward even greater simplicity, without the little river of beach water in the foreground.
    Leslie Reid likes this.
  4. A lanscape always needs at least a hint of humanity, a road, path, house, fence, railroad track, even a power line or vapor trail IMHO.
  5. I have a slightly different take on this. While I often appreciate when a hint of humanity appears in a landscape, I don't think a landscape always needs that hint. Also, that would be to dismiss or omit many great landscapes that don't contain such an element that have been photographed and painted throughout history, which would be a shame. I'd go further to say that any determination that claims a particular genre must always "have to have" certain elements present or absent is too restrictive for me. Some of the best photos and paintings historically have been those that push up against or defy the boundaries of a genre instead of being complacent in the face of the four walls that supposedly bind it.
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  6. Grand Teton National Park with one bicyclist teton bike ride s.jpg
  7. I'd agree with this statement if the word "always" is replaced by "sometimes."
  8. Shot at Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas 18065026-orig.jpg
  9. Having lots of difficulty with uploading to this thread. Sorry for all the spam.
  10. I too like both images, Leslie. The one without the bicyclist has an abstract quality to me.
  11. We just had a snow storm and are digging out here in MN. So, I'm posting a winter shot. This one is the Mississippi, showing the bleakness of winter. 16x20 DSC_0008.jpg
  12. No human element in this image - do other mammals count?
    Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery
  13. Without the bicyclist I am able to enter the landscape, breath the air, feel the moisture, watch the light change, listen to the surf. . . With the bicyclist the photo is of a bicyclist, the landscape takes a back seat.
  14. How about almost always?
  15. I must preface my response, Leslie, with a disclaimer that I am not an expert in Asian art. However, my limited experience in looking at Asian paintings compels me to say that, given the comparative sizes of the bicyclist and the natural elements, I see the photo as one of a bicyclist within a natural environment that is totally conducive to your being able to " . . . enter the landscape . . . ."
  16. I don’t see it that way. Hard for me to see the bicycle as the subject of the photo. It seems to me like just an accoutrement of the beach scene. But I’m one who generally likes various elements of a photo asking for attention and often view such photos so that the elements seem symbiotic rather than in competition. (Also, please consider my comments to Michael, below.) That being said, Sally, it’s interesting to hear your take on it. It’s a good reminder how things strike us all differently and why a variety of interpretations of or responses to any given photo is so natural.
    Michael, an interesting and valid observation, though I’d like to pose an alternative view as well. For me, the smallness of the bike relative to the vaster landscape actually gives it a lot of power in the photo. While, in many cases, the relative small size of an element does diminish its impact, for me in this case the smallness still allows for,the bike to have a prominence that I think makes it a force not only in spite of but because of its small size. While, like you, the bike does not prevent me from entering the scene, it’s not because of its relative size, for me. It’s because I associate bike riding with breathing the air and taking in scenery, so the bike seems very much at home to me.

    Nevertheless, I do understand where Sally is coming from and can certainly empathize with a point of view that sees the bike as an intrusion on an otherwise more pastoral scene. Again, I think it boils more down to our perceptions and proclivities than to the size of the bike in this case, since its relatively small size actually gives it some extra power within the landscape, to my eye. Having said that, Michael, I do understand that the size is a factor for you, and think it’s not an unreasonable response.


    I sense that Sally and I may be seeing the photo very similarly. The difference is more in our responses, where the bike’s power doesn’t intrude for me and does for Sally. That difference seems reasonable.
  17. I think what I was responding to was more the “anomalous” than the “human”—for me, an elephant seal probably would have worked just as well as a bicycle. In essence, the presence of a strong anomalous focal point acted as a catalyst—it made me spend some time with the image and work a bit to figure out what was going on. That meant that I had the opportunity to pick up on some of the details that originally made the landscape itself resonate for me, and that took me back to being there. Often, if an image doesn’t catch my attention and make me think, I can look at it without really seeing it. The bicyclist made me spend some time pondering what it would feel like to ride a bike on the beach; an elephant seal would have made me spend some time pondering the world of elephant seals.

    Dieter’s image works kind of similarly, except that it starts off with the advantage of being an attention-getter even without the elephant seals. A few seconds in, I did a delicious double-take: “…oddly shaped rocks…Hang on! Those aren’t rocks!”, and then I was completely lost in the image for several minutes. I came out feeling like I’d been standing next to Dieter when he made the photo. If one goal of landscape photography is to convey a sense of place, that really worked well.

    I like Fred's point about zen landscapes, and it seems to me that I approach viewing contemplative landscapes in a different way than ordinary landscapes. I'm still pondering that one, and I'm starting to wonder about how minimalist a landscape can be and still be read as a landscape.

    To my mind, the beauty of the genre is that each photographer identifies with—resonates with—different kinds of landscapes. My view of the world is enriched by seeing what other people relate to. I’m not a city person, but I love seeing cityscapes; I’ve never been to India, and I love seeing India-scapes; cloud-scapes make me see the sky differently; abstract landscapes make me think about what makes a landscape “feel” like a landscape, and so on. And all of them make me want to go take my camera for a walk. I think I'll go take my camera for a walk.
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  18. Well put, Fred. I see your point, and it makes sense to me.
  19. Santa Monica Sunset
  20. The cyclist does not compete with the landscape.
    Not at all for me.
    He adds a sense of scale.

    In fact, he proves you can enter the landscape..... ;)
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
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