Photo Anatomy: using light to create artistic landscape photography

Photo Anatomy: using light to create artistic landscape photography

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 award-winning landscape photographer Antony Spencer reveals the artistic choices and photographic techniques he used to create this amazing landscape image.

Photo Anatomy: using light to create artistic landscape photography

The whole image is built around the tree. “It adds another dimension and takes the composition up 
a level, especially with the creek leading straight to it,” says Antony.

“When shooting a scene at 280mm on top of a hill, any wind will soften the image, 
so I used ISO200 to shorten the exposure time,” he says.

Selecting the right content
“I used a 70-200mm lens at 200mm with a 1.4x extender to compress the area of interest within the landscape,” says Antony. “A polariser increased colour saturation.”

Antony shot this image from the top of Steptoe Butte, which overlooks the wide open landscape of the Palouse region in Whitman County, Washington State, USA.

Time of day
“Sunset was always going to be the best time of day for the light to emphasise the undulating hills and lead towards the tree,” says Antony. “The angled light was crucial.”

We say
“Photographing a large-scale landscape like the Palouse can initially be overwhelming. Using a longer lens reduces the amount of detail in the frame and compresses perspective. By selecting the right combination of elements you can create a simple, balanced composition that’s far more effective than a broader landscape.”
Chris Rutter, technique editor


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