I suspect that everyone who owns a camera eventually aims it at a landscape. Most often, I think, when they see the finished photograph displayed on screen or in a a print they are disappointed. The photograph just does not have the eye appeal that the original scene had. Why’s that? Simply, human vision of a three dimensional scene differs than that of a two dimensional scene. The original scene is three dimensional and the photograph is two dimensional. Three dimensions create a feeling of movement because they force the eye to survey the three dimensions: height, width, and depth. In a photograph we only look at height and width. To achieve an effect similar to depth in a photograph we have to fool the eye into interpreting height and width only (static) into a feeling of viewing height, width, and depth (dynamic). There are three ways to do that: 1) diagonal composition, 2) lighting, 3) perspective.
In have selected several photographs for the gallery that will demonstrate how the dynamic photo looks better than the static photo and what makes the photo more dynamic.
The first and second photo in the gallery were taken at Citizens Bank Park on different days. The first shot shows a view from the center field standing room area of level 2. The shape of the diamond is compressed and the stands’ horizontal lines are emphasized. It is a good photo, but there was a better way to do it. The second photo was taken from the level 3, third base side diagonally across from third base. It shows the diamond much better than the first shot, and the diagonal lines in the composition make it more dynamic.
The third photo is of a portico that is lined with columns and filled with light from the side. It has a sense of perspective since the columns appear to decrease in size from front to rear. That adds a dynamic feature. The fourth photo also use the perspective to create a dynamic look, but it has a more dynamic look than the previous photo. That is because the light is stronger and the shadows softer, but also because the small white square in the center of the image immediately catches the eye and pull the viewer from the front to the back. In these two examples perspective creates a a dynamic but the lighting and white square make one more dynamic.
The fifth photo shows a pond and grassy bank at its edge. The lines of the composition run mostly horizontally making it appear static. The alternating shadows on the grassy area add some dynamism, but the photo is still very static. Now in the sixth photo by moving to a different position to photograph the same pond and grassy bank, I have made the compositional lines more diagonal. The alternating shadows on the grassy add to the dynamic look. The tree in the foreground used to frame the scene compliments the curved banks of the pond while its darkness help the lighter areas of the background to pull your eye in and because of the dark foreground as it creates a feeling of perspective.
The way to create more dynamic scenic photos is to find ways to draw the eye into the photo by careful composition, directional lighting, and creating a sense of perspective. Once you know what to look for you just have to look at a scene from different angles, heights, and distances to find the most dynamic interpretation.