How to Create Jaw Dropping Landscapes

By Geoff Harris

Foregrounds in wide angle photos

Wide angle lenses can be great for adding a sense of space to a landscape photograph, giving it plenty of drama and impact.  They exaggerate the perspective in a scene, and make closer objects appear larger and more prominent, while pushing the distant elements in the scene further away.

foregrounds with wide angle pic 1

A wide angle lens will also include a large amount of sky or foreground or both, depending on how you tilt the camera.  However, because they do include a large amount of foreground, it’s important to make sure that there is something interesting in that area – it’s very easy to concentrate on other elements in the scene, and not notice that a lot of plain grass or earth is being included in the lower part of the frame.

In that case, you might end up with no interesting visual information in the bottom third of your image.

In the same way, it’s worth thinking about how much sky you include with your wide angle lens.  If you’re lucky enough to have some good cloud interest, then a wide angle lens will make it look even better; but if the sky is bland, plain blue or just overcast, there’s no point including too much of it in your photograph.

When there is something interesting in the foreground, then a wide angle lens can really make the most of it.  And if it’s the ground itself that’s interesting, then consider getting down low to emphasise it even more.

In this photograph above of parched earth in Namibia, I wanted to show the patterns and shapes made by the dry, cracked mud.  I knelt down and used a 24mm lens, angling it so that most of the frame would be taken up by the earth in the foreground.

This emphasised the patterns, and made them appear very dominant in the image.

foregrounds with wide angle pic 2

I took this photo of a snow capped mountain many years ago, but it remains one of my favourite wide angle photos because it’s a bit of a visual trick.

At first glance, I think you would say that the mountain is reflected in a lake – but in fact the water in the photo is only a puddle, no more than two or three inches deep.

From standing height, the reflection was hardly noticeable, but when I lay flat on the ground it became much more evident.  I used a 24mm lens and held it just above the level of the water.  This really emphasised and exaggerated the reflection.  Needless to say I also got extremely wet!

Geoff Harris

I am a journalist and photographer and currently work as the Deputy Editor of Amateur Photographer (AP) - the oldest weekly photographic magazine in the world. Before that I served as the editor of Digital Camera, Britain's best-selling photography magazine, for five years. During my time as editor it became the UK's top selling photo monthly and won Print Publication of the Year at the 2013 British Media Awards. As well as being lucky enough to get paid to write about photography, I've been fortunate to interview some of the greatest photographers in the world, including Elliott Erwitt, Don McCullin, Martin Parr, Terry O'Neill and Steve McCurry. This has been a wonderful learning experience and very influential on my photography. Beyond writing, I am a professional portrait, travel and documentary photographer, and reached the finals of the 2016 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition. I am a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society and hope to take my Associateship whenever I can find the time. In addition I write about well being/personal development and antiques collecting for a range of other titles, including BlueWings, the in-flight magazine of Finn Air.

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