Opportunity in landscape photography knocks every so often and sometimes it’s only for a fleeting moment. This was one such instance.
Here’s an image I recently took with my infrared converted Canon G12 point & shoot. I’m fortunate to live in a beautiful area of the country and even more fortunate to live where I get a decent view of Mt. Hood. On this day I was heading out to get the mail. A storm had passed through earlier in the day. The skies to the west were clearing allowing the setting sun to shine through. The clouds to the east had lifted and the upper atmospheric winds were creating Lenticular clouds. When I looked to the east, I saw Mt. Hood lit up like a candle with dark clouds behind and the Lenticulars lit up. This created very dramatic contrast. Knowing this moment would surely pass very soon, I ran back into the house to grab the closest camera available. It happened to be my G12. As it turned out, these were the perfect conditions for infrared with objects brightly lit by the sun. So I grabbed a few handheld shots.
Here’s one of the shots I got…
Now let’s talk about composition.
Rule of thirds: The mountain is on the right 1/3rd and the contrasty boundary between the land and the base of the mountain is close to the lower 1/3rd. Knowing how dramatic clouds can be in infrared I wanted the upper 1/3rd to be filled with clouds.
Balance: If the clouds would not have been present, I would have lowered my composition. Not only because of empty space, but because it would have been an unbalanced shot. The weight of the trees and the mountain on the right are nicely balanced with the clouds and trees on the left.
Subject: Mt Hood is clearly the primary subject. But the dramatic clouds provide a strong secondary subject.
Foreground: The trees in the foreground provide nice textures and help lead the viewer’s eye into the image.
Leading and framing elements: Again, the trees provide a nice leading element. The ‘v’ shape between the trees to the left and right help lead the viewer’s eye to the mountain. The combination of the trees and clouds frame the mountain.
Visual impact: The high contrast of this image really make it visually exciting. With infrared, this can only happen with RAW image capture and a fair amount of post processing. More on infrared in a future post.