Intimate Spring: landscape photography with a difference

What is an intimate landscape?

Flax in blossom
‘ Intimate landscapes are structures that have been stemmed from the larger scene,’ says United States photographer Charlotte Gibb. ‘It could be a photograph of a little area of beach or a group of trees, or it might be a photograph of a section of an entire mountain.

‘ Typically, the sky is not part of the structure, so intimate landscapes don’t rely on attention-grabbing sunsets. They are more subtle, and, for me, often have a component of symbolism in them,’ she continues. ‘It can be a challenge. Intimate landscapes can’t count on grand, vibrant scenes to motivate wonder in the audience, so the professional photographer needs to be more smart about how to make up. Do not feel dispirited if your photos aren’t compelling when you begin. Just keep at it.’
View of Yosemite Falls from a hotel room. intimate spring landscape
View of Yosemite Falls from a hotel room. Taken with a long focal length of 560mm
Canon EOS R, 100-400mm + 1.4 x III extender, 1/80sec at f/16, ISO 400. Image: Charlotte Gibb

Rather than searching for topics, Charlotte studies a scene for design aspects. ‘Pine trees are triangle shapes. I look for duplicating patterns, or contrasting colours.

Charlotte’s marking ground is California. It’s home to a broad variety of landscapes, from rugged coastlines to ancient Redwood trees and deserts.

Taking preventative measures

When asked how she keeps herself safe in this environment Charlotte responds, ‘Good question! Yosemite wildlife isn’t really harmful unless you look for trouble. We do have mountain lions, and like bears, they can be dangerous if they have cubs close by, however otherwise, they are reclusive.
rainbows on Yosemite Falls. intimate landscape
She has photographed rainbows on Yosemite Falls many times, this was the first time Charlotte saw 2 of them. Canon EOS R5, 70-200mm at 92mm, 1/100sec at f/13, ISO 400. Image: Charlotte Gibb

I likewise bring a Spot GPS device. It allows my hubby to keep track of where I am, and would likewise let me hire the helicopters if I were to discover myself in a vital circumstance. That has never happened.’

‘It has the ideal range of focal lengths for the type of photography I do. Long lenses are terrific for creating atmosphere and zeroing in on smaller sized areas of the landscape.

I likewise like my Arca-Swiss d4 Tripod Head with a Classic Knob (Geared). When it comes to composition, Charlotte likes to remain spontaneous.
Dogwoods in bloom intimate spring
Dogwoods in flower in abundance in Yosemite Valley in the spring, but congregate in just a few locations. This scene was found near the east end of the valley Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24-105mm at 105mm, 2.5 secs at f/16, ISO 100. Image: Charlotte Gibb

Charlotte’s leading tips for intimate spring landscapes
Slow down. Find privacy. Connect with nature. Check out. Wonder.
Focus. Either utilize a longer lens, or zoom with your feet. Getting up close will assist to remove distracting elements in the scene and simplify the structure.
Remove the sky. The sky is generally the brightest part of the photo and will draw the eye far from your subject like a magnet.

How to discover the ideal intimate landscape place

Mark Gilligan takes pleasure in searching for less obvious landscapes. ‘As well as bigger, grander, landscapes, I likewise obtain satisfaction in finding images that aren’t so obvious.
intimate spring landscape image by Mark Gilligan
Make use of void in your structures to produce a feeling of calm and serenity 1/30sec at f/3.2, ISO 200. Image: Mark Gilligan

Occasionally, he will hand-hold his camera, but most of the time uses his Gitzo tripod.

Mark loves the spring light. I like to retain the detail and “overcook” the surroundings to the limitation, hence allowing me to get the image I desire.
plant against black background intimate spring landscape
Look for plain backgrounds to frame a plant or flower in the environment. Fujifilm X-T1, 18-55mm at 55mm, 1/2000sec at f/4, ISO 400. Image: Mark Gilligan

What makes a good area for intimate landscape photography?

To discover the ideal topic for his intimate landscapes, Mark will scan the scene to find elements of interest, and doesn’t like to limit himself. A forest can be a good area, however being by the waterside has actually produced lots of excellent images for me– I especially like photographing reeds. They are usually at their best in the spring and summer, and tough light permits me to overexpose the water, which maintains the detail in the plants.

Mark likewise finds quarry rock to be great in damp conditions. ‘Wet slate can produce some impressive colours and potential images.’ To edit his images, Mark utilizes Lightroom. ‘As I shoot in raw, I make a couple of tweaks, however I utilize the spot meter on my cam (I understand I am old-fashioned) and my LEE filters so my exposures are generally very precise. In short, I can normally provide an image in under a minute.’ Mark prefers to invest his days outside shooting, rather than sat for hours within at the computer system.

By blurring the background and separating a private plant, Mark has actually created this effective outcome

plant in focus with blurry branches and leaves in background

Fujifilm X-Pro2, 50-140mm at 140mm, 1/1250sec at f/4, ISO 100,. Image: Mark Gilligan

While traditional in his method, he likewise presses the limits. ‘Once I see a subject, I may take it faithfully or create the final result in video camera by controlling the light,’ he says. ‘Intimate landscape suggests different things to many people. It is the one area of my photography where I am happy to experiment and not faithfully photo what I see, since I seek something various. In order to do this, you need to understand what you are finishing with your camera, so make an effort to learn how to manage it.’

Mark’s top tips for intimate spring landscapes
Scope where you are. Not just for that day however for the future. Some things will be obvious, but take your time and look.
Never ever be downhearted; if it does not always work– at least attempt!
Experiment and do not hesitate to push the limits.
leaves and reeds harsh white background intimate spring landscape
Utilize the harsher light conditions of spring to your benefit to get results like Mark’s shot of leaves and reeds Fujifilm X-Pro2, 50-140mm at 140mm, 1/500sec at f/4, ISO 200. Image: Mark Gilligan


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