Photo Anatomy: how legendary landscape photographer Joe Cornish sees an image

Photo Anatomy: how legendary landscape photographer Joe Cornish composes an image

In our new Sunday series on Digital Camera World, we select pictures by famous photographers and explain point by point what makes them work.

In our latest instalment we look closely at an amazing landscape shot by Joe Cornish, who tells us how he composed and shot this stunning scene in the glorious peaks of England’s Lake District.

Photo Anatomy: how legendary landscape photographer Joe Cornish composes an image

Dramatic location
Joe shot the landscape between the summits of Red Pike and High Stile. “It was one hell of a climb, carrying a large-format digital view camera outfit and a serious tripod!” he says.

Solid support
The exposure settings were 1/4 sec at f/11, ISO35, so rock-solid camera support was essential. He used a Gitzo 4 series Systematic CF tripod and a Really Right Stuff BH-55 head.

Balancing the image
The weather was bright and clear. “It was too harsh for photos until the last hour of daylight,” says Joe. “I needed a Lee ND 1.2 grad filter to balance the light.”

Camera and lens
To shoot this image Joe used a Linhof Techno view camera with an 80-megapixel Phase One IQ180 MF digital camera back and a Rodenstock Digaron-W 40mm f/4 lens.

Careful composition
The photograph is a journey from rocky foreground to horizon and sky via hills and lakes in the middle distance. Each of the elements is precisely positioned within the frame.

We Say
“When you are photographing large-scale landscapes, it’s important to shoot from a position that allows the inclusion 
of foreground elements. In Joe’s image, the rocks act as a compositional device to frame and give depth 
to the landscape, but they also help the viewer to connect emotionally with the scene.”
Chris Rutter, Technique editor


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