Genealogy: Photographing landscape

Genealogy: Photographing landscapeBy Barry J. Ewell

For over 40 years I have used the camera to capture the lives of my family and friends.  The camera has been a very important tool in my professional career in public relations and advertising.  I first started with a film camera and spent hundreds of wonderful/fun hours in a dark room developing and printing my on prints.  Since the late 90’s I have used the digital camera extensively in to aid in my genealogical research.

I would like to share with you a few of the lessons I have learned when photographing landscape.

  1. Include a strong point of interest:
    1. Your eye needs a place/something of interest to rest in the picture.
    2. For example, a clump of colorful flowers, a cloud in the sky, a mountain, a tree, or a boat.
  2. Include an interesting object in the foreground.
    1. Include an object in the foreground to add depth to your picture, such as a branch, a boulder, a fence.
  3. Place the point of interest off-center.
    1. The picture is more interesting if the horizon or your point of interest is not in the center of the picture.
  4. Include people for scale.
    1. The cliff may not look all that big—especially in a photo—until you put a person next to it.
  5. 5. Use lines to lead the eye.
    1. Lines, such as a road, a river, or a fence, direct attention into your picture. Select a spot or an angle where major lines in the scene lead your eye toward the main center of interest.
  6. 6. Wait for the right light.
    1. The best light is in the early morning shortly after sunrise or late afternoon when the sun is low. Noonday sunlight is harsh and less appealing, so if you have the option, take pictures early or late in the day.
  7. ake pictures even in bad weather:
    1. Don’t let rainy days discourage you from taking pictures.
    2. Polished by the rain, colors seem to glow.
    3. On overcast days, try to include a spot of color to brighten your picture.
  8. Turn-off your flash:
    1. For more effective lighting—when you’re outside in dim light and your subject is within 10 feet away—turn off your flash and capture the scene in the existing light.
    2. Hold your camera extra steady or use a tripod.
  9. Avoid distractions.
    1. Is there a trash can in the foreground or a telephone wire overhead? Check everything in the viewfinder and reposition yourself to eliminate distractions.