Writes Murray White: You have been up since dawn and you’re feeling confident that the morning’s light will reveal an extraordinary landscape. Months of planning and return visits have rewarded you with a lovely subject, leading lines aplenty, perfect framing, balance and depth-of-field to die for. Naturally, you will expose to maintain detail in both the shadows and the highlights; you just need a burst of sunlight to breathe life into this scene.
So, when the final element comes your way and all the stars align, does the image live up to expectation? It would probably be hard not to appreciate this landscape in purely visual terms as after all, it ticks every box. In addition, it will probably find universal appeal because nothing is structurally
amiss and viewers will enjoy the photograph, even if they can’t explain why.
However, does this image stand out from others captured using a similar methodology? Well maybe, but it would require very strong content to be seen as noticeably different. And does this image speak to the viewer, convey a message, concept or question? Again maybe, but the process
of rigidly following photographic rules could weaken your attempt to reveal meaningful expression within the landscape.
So, is there a way to capture a B&W landscape that will satisfy proven visual conventions, while keeping open the door for a more individual construction and expression? I think so.
My solution to this conundrum is to follow the Rule of Thirds, a time proven formula that apparently results in consistently outstanding compositions. However, my somewhat dyslectic take on it, is to apply no more than one third of the rules. In other words, use the conventional rules of
photography where appropriate, but never let them dominate your approach. Your individual interpretation should be the primary driver behind your images.
To reinforce this concept, Murray White offers some rule breakers that may help you construct the remaining two-thirds of your image. Of course, you may choose to ignore them, but reading them together with the thoughts of others, he's hoping they will broaden rather than narrow your understanding of what a landscape can represent.
Read what Murray has in mind in Better Photography this month. Not a subscriber? We'd love you to become one! Visit our sister website www.betterphotographyeducation.com for more details.