Photographing Scenes

by William Lulow

When shooting scenes, either on vacation or on a mini photo safari, I like to do several things:

1)   Find a spot that will yield a good composition. (Visual lines in the viewpoint)

2)   Stop the lens down to f/16 or f/22

3)   Use a wide angle lens for added depth of field

4)   Use a tripod for slow shutter speeds

5)   Filter the lens

I’m always looking for a spot with some foreground that I can include in the image to give it some depth as well as add to the composition. Foreground provides some framing but I like to make sure that it is just as sharp as the main part of the composition. I don’t like having a foreground that is out of focus because it detracts from the overall importance of the shot itself. It draws attention to itself unnecessarily. If you look at some of the famous images of our great pictorialists like Ansel Adams, Andreas Feininger, Walker Evans, etc., you will notice that the entire image is sharp.

If you are trying to focus on one item, such as a flower or tree, then it’s nice to have other foreground and background objects out of focus. But if you are doing a pictorial landscape, it should be sharp edge-to-edge.