Finding order in chaos
One of the most difficult things for new photographers is knowing where to point the camera.
That might sound a bit crazy since you seemingly point the camera to where you are looking but it isn’t as simple as that.
When we look at a landscape our brain quickly decides what to include and what to discard. We concentrate on that which interests us ignoring all the other little things that add clutter to your prized image. Your camera doesn’t have a brain to selectively exclude all the distractions that we see in the final image. It slavishly see and records all.
If you are in the mountains or in the prairies, if you are anywhere outside there is chaos. The landscape isn’t assembled in an orderly fashion at least not one that always lends itself to picture taking. I have never understood the “art” photographers who have made careers of photographing landscape clutter. Looking at one of those pictures all I see is clutter. All I see is a disorganized collection of trees, water, clouds and grasses. Those photographs don’t work for me because there is no “order” to them.
What do I mean by order? Without sounding too much like an art professor because I’m sure not one, your photograph needs a central area of interest and it needs a way to draw your eye into it.
Imagine if you will for a moment that the curving lines of wheat in the foreground was NOT curving but instead ran in straight lines left to right. The image would be one more of chaos than order. Your eye would be drawn left to right or vice versa leading it out of the frame.
For reasons that I truly do not understand our eyes are drawn into the lightest parts of a picture. Know that and make it another tool in your quiver to use when framing and then processing images. The four corners of this prairie scene were ever so slightly darkened in an effort to keep the eye inside the frame and leading it towards the bright horizon.
Is it the bright horizon or wheat or clouds that are the focus of the image? The idea is to draw the eye into the scene and then move it around the frame in an orderly fashion.
Order is your friend in the world of landscape photography.