Give Your Landscape Photography a Sense of Scale

Have you ever photographed a deep forest, a huge lake or an enormous mountain range and when you looked at your images later they just didn’t seem as “grand” as you remember? This happens a lot in landscape photography since the camera itself has no way to record a sense of scale.

Take this image of Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park for example. It’s over 1500 feet from the river to the top of the wall but no shot I took could really capture the sense of scale I felt the first time I visited. Even my trusty 17-40mm ultra-wide zoom lens just wasn’t up to the task of conveying just how big this place really is.

Santa Elena Canyon

Santa Elena Canyon – Big Bend National Park, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 19mm, f/16 for 1/15th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter and 2-stop graduated neutral density filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

Now look at this image of the Burro Mesa Pour-off, a geological feature less than 300 feet high. With Jack (my trusted guide) in the frame, the image somehow looks much larger than it did in person. It’s up to you as the photographer to create this sense of scale, which is why many professionals prefer to shoot landscape and travel images that include people.

Burro Mesa Pour Off

Burro Mesa Pouroff – Big Bend National Park, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 20mm, f/14 for 1/30th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

My New Cowboy Action Shooting Blog

CowboyHere’s a little something different that I decided to get into while waiting for the Texas drought to end. I’ve decided to combine my recreational sports shooting with my photographic shooting and write another blog this year called Cowboy Action Shooting – Deep in the Heart of Texas.

Have no fear, this blog will continue just as it always has. But for those of you interested in the “Old West”, “Cowboys”, “Texas” or sports shooting in general, stop on over for my primer on Getting Started in Cowboy Action Shooting.

For my more “liberal” readers and friends with a serious distaste for anything “gun” related, I promise not to cross-post very often. I also promise that the only thing injured during the writing of my new blog will be a few paper targets and some steel plates.

I do promise to post all embarrassing photos taken of me dressed in full 1890’s costume for y’all to laugh at. No, that tall cowboy in the image is not the K-Man, although the similarity is striking.