I set out for kananaskis yesterday to spend an afternoon shooting the early winter scenes with a friend. I had hoped for a nice sunset to end the day, but low cloud moved in just before sunset and killed any chance of that. We did find some nice images and got lucky with nice cloud formations on more than one occasion.
The shot I chose to share today is of the dam on the north east corner of the lower lake. There are a few reasons not to use this location for a landscape shot, beginning with the dam itself. Such a hard straight line cutting across a natural landscape can often spoil the shot, because obvious man made structures can sit awkwardly in natural environments.
As I walked from the parking area I was struck by the shadow 'fingers' reaching out toward the dam and mountains beyond. The hoar frost on the surface of the frozen lake brought a smattering of white into the dark shadows, and by crouching lower I helped elongate those shadows. The elongated shadows then created the frame and wonderful contrast to push the eye into the bright winter sunshine where towering peaks sat perfectly beneath swirling clouds.
The light snow on the dam itself does help it blend into the landscape more comfortably but the shadows are the key player in the shot. A little natural framing can really help a plain image step up to a much more interesting one.
You can learn more about in shot framing on my basic composition page which has 18 elements to start your photographic journey, or to help your continual improvement. You can also find other tips and information under the tips & more section of this site, which I hope to build on over time.
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