Figures in a Landscape
Use people in your images to add perspective and interest.
By Tom Bol | March 30, 2011
I recently returned from two weeks in Patagonia, one of my favorite shooting destinations anywhere. Each year I go down I try to mix up my coverage from tango dancing, landscapes, wildlife and ice climbing. This year we had some marginal weather at some key locations, but luckily the day we went onto the Viedma Glacier near Chalten the weather was overcast and slightly drizzling. Yes, that's right, I'd rather be shooting on glacier in overcast than bright sun. Why? Because you get less contrast and better color, especially the deep blue ice, when the sun isn't out. We hiked out to a great crevasse to photograph, but shooting the crevasse alone wasn't that compelling. I needed to add something for reference, and that is where a nearby ice climber came in handy.
Figures in a landscape, or in this case, people in the shot, often help an image. I love to create dramatic wild landscape images free of human influence, but sometimes adding a person does the trick. This image is interesting as a glacier landscape, but adding the climber adds perspective, color and a hint of danger as he peers into the abyss. If the person is interacting with the environment, this will add more to the story of the image. Don't have a fellow hiker with you but really want to have a hiker staring at the view from a scenic vantage? Just try setting your self timer for 20 seconds and posing in your own shot. Sure makes getting model releases easy!
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