There is one thing with landscape photography that I always find disappointing. The photo never seems to do the scenery justice. What I mean is, you go on holiday somewhere, see this fabulous view, thing "Quick I must take a photo so I can show the folks back home," and yet the photograph never seems to truly capture the splendid scene that you saw spread out before you. It never seems to give you a true sense of scale, or capture the glowing afternoon light, or leave you that giddy feeling that the view from the cliff did.
For me, who doesn't take brilliant landscape photos, (I actually don't own a wide angled lens) I find mine a little...well...boring. So, I've come up with a few tricks. In the photo above I have included a sheep and a water tower in the foreground. It has broken up the photo so that you look through to the tree and created some interest in what would have otherwise been a fairly flat uninteresting shot.
The use of leading lines can help you look into your photo. These tyre tracks leading off into the distance give you something to focus on in this shot...instead of just a rather uninteresting row of trees at the bottom of the paddock. (This track is actually leading to the tip...but shhh...don't tell anyone)
This big gum tree on the edge of the photo gives it a nice frame. It also gives the photo a good sense of scale. I have shot this looking in towards the rising sun, which also looks a lot nicer with it peeking through the trees, instead of blowing up in my face and causing a lot of glare.
Mix up your landscape photos by making good use of different levels of light. This sunset had an unusual red sun, which is further highlighted by the silhouette of the buildings and tree in the foreground.
I find shots of the sea really really boring. All that blue expanse... it does nothing for me. It's a personal thing of course, because I would rather look at the countryside, but I always feel the water is better broken up with a bit of coastline showing, and even having a person in the foreground. Once again, you get a better sense of scale with my son in this shot. You also get the feeling that this water is cold!
This is more my style of landscape shot...I mean at least it's the countryside, and the hills give you something to look towards, but having the shed in the middle ground gives you a good balance within the photo. It gives you an idea of the space of the great outdoors, with the shed being off in the distance, and as it is dwarfed by the hills in the background, it gives it a further feeling of isolation. Again it's thinking about that sense of scale, so think about what can be in the shot that will give the viewer an idea of how grand and fabulous everything is.
This dry and barren landscape is not particularly interesting. It has wonderful rustic character but without the girl in the foreground, frankly it would be a really boring photo. The colours of the landscape aren't that rich or exciting either...but give the girl some bright pink balloons and BANG! (no...don't pop the balloons!)...the photo is given some life, but also the contrast of the plain background suddenly looks great against the bright colours. Remember, your background, middle ground and foreground are all a part of a whole. Don't forget to look at everything in your shot and tie them all together.
Great landscape photos are everywhere you look, it just takes a bit of getting used to seeing them and perhaps shifting your focus to take in the whole view. The paddock above is lovely, but I think the clouds really make this shot. Who would have thunk it!?!