This article shows a selection of images that were captured at Estmere Nova Scotia while I was experimenting with some landscape compositions.
Some of these photographs are outtakes and will not be included in our upcoming Nova Scotia Photography Tour Highlight eBook. I realize that not every photography blog would show images that ‘didn’t work’. If you’re like me, you may learn quite a bit from studying your own images of this type. So, I didn’t see any harm in sharing some of my flubs with readers. I’ve included them here to demonstrate some of the composition options that I considered during a 5 minute stop at this location. It is often a good idea to ‘work a scene’ rather than settle for the first couple of composition attempts that one tries.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
One of the elements that originally caught my eye causing me to pull over, was a bench overlooking an inlet on Bras d’Or Lake on Cape Breton Island. I captured a couple of images incorporating it, and quickly decided that the photographs were not going to work as well as I had hoped. While the bench had the potential of being a character element it just didn’t feel right. The image above was the best of the two I captured.
I noticed a spit of land out in the inlet that had a nice curve to it and captured the image above. After checking it in my viewfinder I moved on without taking any other variations of the scene. I liked the curved spit of land but the composition looked a bit flat and lacked depth. Sometimes I take images like this just to get a sense of how a landscape feature looks in the frame.
There were a number of birch trees at the location so I experimented with various approaches to include them as a corner element or as a feature. Some of the trees were growing at unusual angles, making them difficult to incorporate. The image above was the best of 5 attempts, but still not right.
I decided to pull back a bit so I could overlap more of the elements. I thought the image above had some promise but still needed some work. The cut-off tree on the right hand side was a bit distracting and the curve of the spit of land wasn’t positioned well in the frame. I also felt that not enough of the tree on the left-hand side had been included, causing it to look odd.
I changed the shooting angle of my camera upward, moved slightly to my left, and came in a bit tighter. I recomposed the scene by lopping off the distracting tree on the right-hand side, included a small piece of land that was in the water on the left-hand side, as well as showing more of the tree on that side. This helped to balance the image and helped direct a viewer’s eye into the frame. I liked this image quite a bit, feeling it had much better flow and balance.
My final approach was to move in a bit tighter in an attempt to incorporate the various elements but simplify the composition. I moved to my left to position the spit of land between a single birch and a small cluster of trees. I incorporated leaves beginning in the top left-hand corner to form a left to right downward eye flow as I felt this helped direct a viewer’s eye to the spit of land and the main cluster of birches. I liked this composition.
I tried another quick composition by adjusting my framing. I lopped off the two trees on the left hand side and brought more of the island on the left-hand side into the frame. I wasn’t entirely happy with how the spit of land was interacting with the birch trees. I also thought that bringing in more trees on the lake was distracting. I decided that the previous photograph had better flow and balance. I looked at my watch, discovering I had already spent 5 minutes at this location. It was time to move on!
All photographs in this article were captured hand-held in available light using Nikon 1 camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO OpticsPro 11, CS6 and the Nik Collection.
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