Top 10 Tips for Photographing Intimate Landscapes

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2)  Get Closer

Whatever lens you start with, go longer or move yourself (zoom with your feet) to get closer to your original subject.

Say you’re shooting a landscape with a mountain and a foreground using your 24-70 mm lens.  Zoom in to the longest focal length (70mm), or switch to your 70-200 mm lens, or step several paces forward and start looking for compositions.  That’ll help train your eye to see in smaller sections.

I found this vine trailing down a shaded wall when I was strolling through town in the middle of the afternoon.  Walking closer, I was able to isolate just a small section of the vine.

Red vine on shaded wall (left) an trail to Golden Canyon from Zabriskie Point (right).

RED VINE ON SHADED WALL (LEFT) AN TRAIL TO GOLDEN CANYON FROM ZABRISKIE POINT (RIGHT).

It doesn’t have to be a tiny plot only a few inches square to be intimate.  The telephoto can also isolate a section of a much larger landscape, as in this view from Zabriskie Point in Death Valley.  From the viewpoint, you see a series of soft, rolling hills and canyons.  I wanted to isolate the trail from Golden Canyon and the lone hiker.  That gives the scene a more intimate and human scale and feel.

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