Modern Trends in Landscape Photography
I’ve received a positive response, both in comments and offline in email, to the article I posted last week aggregating some landscape photography resources. This got me thinking about assembling a group of landscape photographs as a post. The idea that interested me was to limit the photographers featured to those that are members of our Discerning Photographer Flickr pool.
This has turned into a truly rewarding little field trip for me, venturing out literally all over the world as I looked through the photostreams of our members. What follows are some of my favorite images that the group has shot, along with some selected comments about the photographs and the trends that I see represented.
I think our group is large enough to be a ‘scientifically valid’ sample of what’s happening in landscape photography today. The results may surprise you! This is where landscape photography stands in 2010.
First: some classic black and white photography.
When I think about landscape photography, the first photographer that comes to mind is the granddaddy of them all, Ansel Adams. There are still some photographers out there concentrating on black and white landscape work, and we have (at least) one of them in our group: Nurse Kato (all names listed here are Flickr names) from Washington State, U.S. Here are three of his images:
Kato modestly states on his Flickr page: “Black and white is my personal favorite. I sure do enjoy a good color image but I guess I just don’t see colors properly or something.”
Trend #2: The Influence of HDR
This was one of the most striking things that surfaces when looking at quantities of landscape photography from diverse sources: the powerful attraction that so many photographers feel for HDR shooting. Since this technique became so easy to implement in Photoshop, there has been an explosion of work done using this method. Question to consider: when does the HDR technique work, when is it a gimmick or crutch? Here are some samples from our pool:
Question to consider: when does the HDR technique work, when is it a gimmick or crutch?
Trend #3: The Use of Texture
This is another popular Photoshop-based trend: layering on textures to create moods within photographs. An Italian photographer in our group, Duarja, has perfected his method and uses it to create dense, dream-like images. Here are three examples:
Trend #4: Bumping Up the Saturation
Here’s another trend that lots of photographers are utilizing: increasing the saturation, or in a RAW workflow, bumping up the vibrance and/or saturation, to really make the colors pop. This is another one of those toning techniques that some people love, other people see as an overused, trite gimmick. Here are a couple of examples from our shooters:
Trend #5: Beautiful straight-up (more or less) landscape photography
Finally, just some great images! There may be a bit of the various toning techniques illustrated above in this final group of photographs, but it’s always subtle. Take a look:
I’m awe-struck by the amount of talent and energy on display here within our Flickr group! Hats off to all of you landscape shooters who’ve contributed your photographs. We’re all in your debt as your images enrich our lives and make our photographic community all the stronger.
Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog
Related articles on the web:
Five Fantastic Flickr Photographers at Epic Edits
50 Breathtaking Waterscapes to Inspire and Amaze at Phototuts+
What Every Landscape Photographer Should Know About Lenses at Lightstalking
Landscapes of the Spirit at The Luminous Landscape
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