Each year, millions of pictures are taken, but only a few convey the depth of emotion that we feel when viewing these stunning scenes. A few simple changes in how we take photos can move us closer to capturing the wonder of the Rocky Mountains.
The main difference between an average photograph and one that shows emotion is light quality. When the sun is low in the sky in the early morning and late afternoon, it is warm and gentle.
During the rest of the day the light gives photographs a harsh, cold feeling. By simply taking most of your photographs near sunrise or sunset you will instantly see a difference in the quality of your photos.
Keep it Simple
Great photographs focus on one subject: a family, an animal, a mountain. Identify the one thing that you would like as the main subject, then zoom in on it so you eliminate distracting objects from the scene. By choosing the object that will fill most of the photo, you help your viewer focus on the subject. Mix it up by getting down low or seek a higher vantage point (carefully), and don’t forget to take photos in both horizontal and vertical formats.
Weather the Storm
Some of the best landscape photographs are taken as a storm approaches or breaks up. Ominous clouds draping over the mountains make incredible shots. Be safe, though; don’t be on high ridge lines when thunderstorms are imminent, and return to your car when lightning is present. July and August bring monsoon storms that produce dramatic afternoon skies. In winter, snow helps bring out the character of the trees and mountains.
Find Your Focus
Experiment with depth of field, which is the term used to describe how much of the scene is in focus. For scenic shots, you typically want the entire scene to be in focus. But, occasionally, using a wide-open aperture (f/4 or f/5.6) to throw the background out of focus can create interesting results. For example, focus on a single wildflower and use a large aperture; the crisp flower will “pop” against a blurry background.
This is the most photographed era of all time. The simplicity of a point-and-shoot or a phone camera allows you to concentrate on being creative without having to worry about technical issues. If you’re using a phone camera, you can simply touch the screen to select the area where you want the exposure. This can greatly increase the quality of your photo.
To purchase fine art prints and displays of Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado by photographer James Frank, stop by Aspen and Evergreen Gallery. More of his photographs are available at jamesfrank.com.
Learn about the behaviors and beauty of Rocky Mountain wildlife through the photos by Dawn Wilson Photography. See her work at the Old Gallery in Allenspark or online at dawnwilsonphotography.com.
Along with being a local photographer, Marsha Hobert can make a print of your digital files in just about any size. 970-586-9519, photosbymarsha.com.
For inspiration and fine art prints, visit Images of Rocky Mountain National Park near Bond Park. Erik Stensland has written several books on photography, and his award-winning book, Whispers in the Wilderness, is a collection of daily readings and stunning photos. 970-586-4352, imagesofrmnp.com.