The fourth dimension of timing
For me, landscape photography takes on a wide array of categories. When I think of landscape photography, I envision the reproductions of mountain vistas, a little cabin in a wilderness setting, lakes and mountains, mountains and lakes, even rolling hills. But in my reality of landscape photography, I see those things as well as sunsets, sunrises, fog, rain, snow, trees, forests. I see a wide angle horizon and I see a scene no wider than several feet.
Imagine the commercial work of landscaping. A landscaper takes an area of ground or a small plot of property and creates a garden, a plant sanctuary, plants decorative trees, or even hauls in and arranges moss granite, cobblestones, or sand in artistic ways. A fountain may even be included. This, of course, is a man-made landscape. When the job is finished, I can see the landscape contractor taking a phone pic of his or her work. Thus, they now have participated in the art of “landscape photography”.
In my world of photography, when I seek to photograph a landscape or a landmark, I ask myself these three questions:
- What do I want to photograph?
- What time of day?
- Where do I want to position myself?
“What do I want to photograph?”
I live in Castle Rock, Colorado. I know what your thinking. Colorado? There should be a million landscapes you can shoot! Well, yes…there are. And everywhere you look is a landscape waiting to be decorated with my lens. Many of my sunsets photos attest to that statement. They may appear to be shot from some Colorado wilderness area, but often may be captured right from my deck. The sky becomes the canvas background.
Sometimes I plan a landscape shoot, and sometimes I just randomly stumble across a view that just reaches my soul. I have learned that being a true photography artist is to photograph what I love, not being concerned with what I think others will love. Time has now given me the experience to understand the finer elements for an awesome finished product of a landscape photo I would hang on any wall with pride and joy. But this only comes from the realm of the fourth dimension of landscape photography.
Landmarks for Landscape Photography
Castle Rock, Colorado is known for a natural landmark cut and sculpted from winds over time and receding waters long, long ago. “The Rock” of Castle Rock (Rock Park) is an icon of the surrounding regions between Denver and Colorado Springs to the south. The other landmark which is a destination of many is Pike’s Peak. Photos of the rock are a “dime a dozen”. Every local photographer, especially amateur photographers make it their passion to photograph the Rock. I was, and am no exception. So let’s make “The Rock” the “What” of my choices to photograph. So we have answered the first question, “What do I want to photograph?
“What time of day should I photograph the Rock?”
I know what I want to photograph, but now I need to decide when. For me, in order to know when is best, depends upon what my background canvas will be to complete my landscape decoration. Like the landscape contractor, I will decorate the landscape with timing of light by determining the bigger picture, not just the focal point. I will also attempt to determine the best context in relation to the surroundings. In this landscape view I will be pointing my camera from north to south.
My focal point will be The Rock, but my canvas will be the foothills of the Rockies climbing up to Pike’s Peak in the background. Morning light will be my best, rising from the east. Sometimes the sun gets up faster than we can be prepared, but that’s for another topic. In this case, the sun had not quite reached the “harsh” time. This was probably best, because it allowed me to close my stop down in order to get the telephoto effect I was hoping for. We have now answered the question, “What time of day?”
“Where do I want to position myself?”
One thing I always consider; where can I go, what angle or distance do I need, where I can get that shot that no one else has? So using my phone from maps view I sought out a location that would give me that ideal angle and distance. There is a fourth aspect (kind of like a fourth dimension) that my three questions to self are wrapped up in. This fourth dimension of photography I have determined to be “timing”!
When I drove up to the perfect location, parking was available. It was a quiet area with a few homes under construction. I had a short hike up through some trees and shrubs to a secluded knoll. The location was virtually in the backyard of other homes, so I had to work quick, since I may be trespassing. Knowing I would possibly be on private property, I had everything ready. Quickly, I threw up my tripod, mounted my camera with my 70-200 Canon lens, and quickly adjusted my settings. I like shooting landscapes in triple exposure, so after setting exposure, ISO, and f-stop, (shooting in AV mode).
Taking several shots in various f-stop settings and satisfied with my efforts down the hill to my car I stumbled and then home to my computer for processing. We have now answered the question, “Where do I want to position myself?”
On this chilly morning in March, 2016, everything worked to my advantage. The fourth dimension of timing was in my favor. Yes, I photographed the same rock and the same mountain everyone from amateurs to professionals photograph. Except one things stands apart from the others. I currently have the only and one of the most demanded photos for print of “The Rock” and “Pike’s Peak” in alignment. The difference from others? Position. But “position” did not work alone. It included the “what” and the “when”, all wrapped up in the fourth dimension of timing.
The final result speaks for itself. And no, I will never be concerned with ever attempting to duplicate this shot. This is now “One-of-a-kind”. The location? It is now built over with homes.