It's very easy to to forget about portrait format when shooting landscapes, and the reason why is no surprise. When chasing landscapes we are often trying to take in huge vistas (they are landscapes after all) so it's easy to get distracted by the wonder of the wide angle lens.
We become occupied with composition and finding that foreground interest, hitting the rule of thirds with our horizon, using colour, finding the right shooting angle and umpteen other elements of composition that go into getting the image we envisage. It's easy to see why we might forget to turn the camera and make an image in portrait format.
Don't think it's just for those wonderful long telephoto landscapes like the isolated tree in the shot below, the other two images are made using wide and superwide lenses. I confess it is something that I seem to have to remind myself to do rather than it being more ingrained, but I do find that very often, my favourite image from a shoot is the one in portrait format.
So, next time you're chasing those elusive landscapes, give a thought to portrait format, it might just turn out to be the best shot of the day.
I was fortunate enough to have this guy roaming my garden this afternoon so thought I'd grab a shot and share it on the blog. The Blue Jay is a common sight around here and though he has beautiful plumage his song doesn't match. As a member of the corvid family he has the 'song' of his people, an awful squawking that does nothing to enhance his image, thankfully he is silent more often than not.
It's always nice to take a fixed focal length lens and shoot for the day without the benefit of the modern zoom lens or the control of a studio environment. It makes you think about composition and framing in a very different way. One of my favourite things is to take the 180mm macro lens and go to the local forest making landscapes practically impossible. I don't take a tripod as I don't like to be encumbered when I'm out for a fun day walking, the result is a hand held 180mm macro lens presenting more than a few challenges. Low light in the forest, very shallow depth of field and wind movement of the chosen subject are just a few of the hurdles made worse by the lack of a tripod.
Having said all of that, I really do love it, the macro makes me look at the smaller things, they are things I always notice but generally walk past without an image because of the limitations of other lenses in comparison. Nothing captures detail like a macro lens and today I made a lovely shot of some wild Virginia Bluebells on the forest floor (see below).
Sure, I had to wait for the wind to stop wobbling it all over the place, I had to lie down and form a 'two elbows and my face tripod', I had to shoot a higher ISO than I would have liked and a lower shutter speed, but so what. That formidable depth of field made by the lens and the distance between the topic and the background, the incredible detail in the 180mm macro and the grouping of the flowers on a shallow focal plane meant I came home with a really nice shot and best of all I enjoyed a wonderful forest walk while doing it. So, next time you want a challenge, grab a fixed focal length and get out there it will help develop (or maintain) your camera skills and bring you different rewards than the studio can provide.
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