Sometimes weâ€™re too perfect in our judgement of order. Even though the world has a wonderful orderliness about it, the real challenge is to view and arrange objects into basic elements to create a visually stunning image. By understanding four basic principles of composition, we can see the landscape in a totally new and exciting way.
The first is the dominant feature. We can reveal the integrity of nature by isolating her intimate parts as much as portraying her grandness. We do this by concentrating on the most significant feature, whether it’s the unique colour of a flower or patterns of falling water. We might feel the need to include just part of the place in which the object lies to help create perspective, or perhaps to evoke its mood. Or the image might call for the dominant feature tobe on display within its entire surroundings, to emphasise grandness. Always strive to compose the scene in such a way that the viewerâ€™s eye goes first to the subject, and then -and only then – elsewhere within the photograph.
Next is the use of symmetrical balance. The relative weight of portions of a composition determines balance. The degree to which a viewerâ€™s attention is attracted by a part of the image will determine its weight. If only 10% of a photograph is so conspicuous that it balances against the other 90%, then it will work well. Such scenes are asymmetrically composed, but remain balanced and pleasing to the eye. We must strive for a sense ofstability. If not, our images will jar the senses and our eye will reject the arrangement of elements within the frame. Often we achieve a sense of balance by moving our position or waiting for a different time of day.
The choice of using horizontal or vertical composition can be a difficult one. Sometimes itâ€™s obvious. At other times both formats will work and itâ€™s just a matter of moving our position slightly or changing the focal length of our lens. More often than not, the use of symmetrical proportions will determine which way our image is composed. The important thing is to not to let rare moments and places of great beauty escape our attention. Experiment and constantly change your position for the creation of the ultimate visual image. The use of proportion in our landscape photography vastly enhances our images.Before we position the horizon in a landscape,we should carefully consider this basic principle of composition. In many cases itâ€™s just two elements that weâ€™re dealing with – land and sky. The relative weight of the two parts will determine the best place to put the horizon. Surprisingly; itâ€™s often not the rule of thirds. Sometimes a sixth will work even better, and in nature, anything reflected in water often works best in equal parts.
If a sky is a blood-red sunset, then itâ€™s clearly the dominant feature. However, the sky by itself may not create a sense of place, and showing less of this element places more importance on the landscape. Sometimes by merely placing a sliver of land beneath the sky, you can define its scope and relationship with the earth.
Photographers should try to make viewers feel that theyâ€™ve been taken on a journey â€“ that they experienced the scene with them.