“Pretty Amazing”…that’s what Torey, the biologist I’m working with said when I played back the video of the San Joaquin Kit Fox den we worked last night. “It’s better there then what I’m seeing in person!” That’s what Torey said watching the activity I had shot. In 2hrs, I shot 10GB of 1080/30 vid using just 29% of my battery power and all my skills to pan capturing the activities of 4, 7 week old SJKF pups. You’ll see in the video the pups outside their den in Bakersfield, CA. I shot this using a Rode mic (almost no sound, none to record), GP-1 attached to the D4 and the default D4 movie settings. Now the Auto ISO for the video made me scratch my head when I saw that feature but now that I’ve seen it in action, I think it’s genious. During my time shooting, I saw the ISO change from as low as 1800 to 12800 while the exposure levels stayed consistent. The WB was set to AWB with the light source being this funky combo of parkway, bldg light stuff with a welder in the background working. Focusing was all done manually. What’s here is a 200MB clip, raw and unedited straight from the camera which, getting it uploaded from the field was a feat onto itself. Of course, the stars are one of my favorites, the endangered San Joaquin Kit Fox pups. Those how saw my video of them at Photoshop World might notice a HUGE difference in the quality. Compared to the D3s which is what I used last season, sucks compared to the D4! Be sure to click on HD when you watch it! I hope you enjoy!
I’ve had a whole bunch of emails asking just that, where’s the D4 “review?” I guess shooting with it for less then a week, “you should be able to write a review, right, others have.” Well first, I’ve not written a review for a long, long time. I have written field reports but to me, there is a huge difference. To me, a review is no more then reading the specs and writing a review based on those. Not really very helpful to anyone wanting to get the most from their D4. The field report on the other hand is no more then my findings shooting with just one camera body sample. But those with a D4 can test their body’s results against mine and make some conclusions. And shooting with a new body for less then one week is by no means a field report worth writing.
I’ve seen some “reviews” and here’s my first problem with them. We’ve been using a 1008 pixel based RGB system up until the D4. Now we are using a 91,000 pixel 3D RGB sensor. I might just be me, but that’s a feakin HUGE change! Besides being a bigger number, what does that mean to our photography? Well, I’m still trying to determine that but here is what I’ve found so far. The D4 does have a greater dynamic range then the D3. How much, I don’t have a number yet. How does that effect my photography (since I can only speak about my own shooting)? Well, in scenarios like the photos posted here, the clouds detail was not lost, there were no blinkies even though I was shooting at zero exp comp. Why is that any kind of a big deal? With the D3x, I would have dialed in minus comp to retain the detail in the clouds. Further more, so far, and this is just my gut feeling right now, the D4 when it has a greater dynamic range requires plus compensation to be dialed in. When the exposure range is back down to like four stops, I dial in minus like the “old” days. Now I have conferred with some other D4 owners and they have found the same thing but this does not make it carved in stone. But if this proves out to be true, it means we have a revolutionary tool in our hands that will require a little change in exposure thinking to take advantage of it.
Now I’ve had a number of folks moaning to me about the XQD card option in the D4 not really being an option as if I designed it. While I don’t understand why it’s there rather then a CF slot, so far I’ve enjoyed its speed. When you can shoot 74 Nefs in one burst and then suck those into the computer at radically fast speeds, I’m surely not going to complain. Is it the best option? Well, I don’t see as we really have a choice and since it works, I’m not complaining. Then there are the complaints about the battery. There again, my D4 and those I’ve shot with have had no issues or complaints. It just works and not left me in the lurch.
The biggest request though is for my settings. I just got another one figured out today to my liking so I hope to have them posted soon. Like they say, all good things come with time. Another common question is if the D4 is worth the money? I can answer that with a big, fat YES! Printed my first 24×30 prints and the results are gorgeous and comparing the D4 print to that of the D3s, the D4 was cleaner which to me is very important. Now if you don’t have the money for the D4, what do I suggest? I would pick up a used D3s and if you don’t have the money for that, a D3. But when it comes to choosing between a D4 or D3s, D4 wins for me already in my first week of shooting with it. There will be more to come, but my gut suggests it will only be more good news….
After a great day of walking the Smithsonian, Sharon decided we needed to walk another 3 miles so we went to check out the Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin. Well, the whole world knows how I feel about flower photography so I was over joyed to go. I decided to just click to see if I could make some patterns in the branches and as predicted by me, I couldn’t. But what I found interesting are the results. Shooting with 0 exp comp, my intuition was I would have blinkies in some blossoms and loose some shadow details. But when I looked at the LCD on the D4, I saw no blinkies. When I look at the images in PS (I’m processing my D4 images with ACR), didn’t loose the shadow detail. Now I am not, repeat not, saying the D4 has better dynamic range. I’m just clicking away and responding to things like I would the last three years shooting with the D3. I’m not doing any testing shooting a D3s against the D4, I’m just cruising, having fun and getting to know the camera and so far, I’m likin what I’m seeing! At least in the D4, these possey photos are, well, just possey photos.
Before nearly every Photoshop World (which starts tomorrow, today are Precons), my bud Russell Brown and us take on some adventure. This time, Russell suggested we take advantage of his friendship with the two official photogs at Smithsonian NHNS. Well, I was all over that so today we basically spent the whole days cruising the collections. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Dr. Dove had pulled out some great bird skins for us to examine. Those collected by John James Audubon and Teddy Roosevelt to examples of the extinct Passenger Pigeon, Carolina Parakeet and Ivory-billed Woodpecker. If they had taken away my D4 and walked away with it, I’d still be there!
We walked and walked and walked going from the collections to the exhibits and back to the collections. Absolutely the most amazing tour! This was also my first shoot with the D4. I have my initial settings in the camera and just shot normally just to get a feel for the camera and its default nature. I was impressed with the AWB working in all the mixed indoor lighting. What you see here is what the camera delivered, I didn’t clean up colors in any way. The top photo is ISO 1600 and next, ISO 100, the results are what you expect, really quite fine!
We went a lot of places the public doesn’t have access to. One of those was near the top of the dome and man, what a view! I did some HDR here and tried to process them in Photomatix Pro but it’s not liking D4 nefs. The D4 has a HDR setting but it only works when shooting Jpegs only, I was shooting NEFs.
The metering in the D4 I’m finding so far is slightly better then the D3, at least when coming to my style of photography. I’m not having to dial in minus exp comp like I did with the D3. The AWB like I mentioned is nailing stuff which is cool. The LCD has a manual and Auto LCD brightness control, I’m not so sure about the Auto yet. The Sensor clean more doesn’t do dittilly but didn’t expect it to. I have dust with it turned on. And while I’ve not printed any files yet, the file quality is at least as good as D3s and at ISO 1600, a tad better. The one thing I wasn’t prepared for is the change in the shutter noise. The D4 sounds totally different and it could just be me, but seems to be a little quieter. I have a ton more shooting and field work to do with it, but so far I can honestly say I’m seeing better results that I didn’t expect. Oh, and I shot 767 Nefs using just 23% of the battery. That’s a good thing! And I’m lovin seeing r50 in the viewfinder when i depress the shutter release! You can see a little of our day from the photos Jim took, check them out here. I wanna thank Don & Jim and all the curators who gave so generously of their time and knowledge today. One helluva experience!
I have a very well earned reputation for getting up early to greet the sun, be it critters, landscapes or aircraft. In FL there is always the possibility of ground fog along with the great light so I just can’t pass it up. So last weekend when at Stallion 51, we were there on the tarmac to greet the sun. One of the coolest things is to see the morning color reflecting off the polished planes, I just LOVE that! The problem is, how do you show that in a photograph? You can see the progression of light in the three photos with the one I really love being the last. That’s when the clouds came in briefly with the morning color. All of these photos have one thing in common, well two things. The P-51D and they are all 5 image HDR. Why HDR? To capture ALL the nuisances in the fuselage, I have found that HDR just does the best job. Looking in the bottom image, just look how that baby glows…I love it!The processing is pretty simple, Photomatrix Pro then into Photoshop and hit levels. I love great light, I love simple.
Now hopefully, you’re asking yourself why, when the exposure levels this early in the day are really not that wide, does Moose feel HDR is the way to go. True, the light levels really aren’t that big and a single click would do a good job, especially if you used a split grad filter to pull down the sky. I do it for one particular reason and that’s for under the wings. I’ve have found that when there is a shadow or under the wings are dark as they would be without HDR, the overall “aluminum” feel is not as strong. They spend a lot of money to have that polished look to these aircraft and I want that to come out. It is of course a personal thing and you might not feel like or want that feel to your aircraft and that is perfectly fine. I do though which is why I use the method and techniques I do.
There’s just something about an airport before the sun rises. It’s calm, quiet, cool and the runway lights take your imagination to the horizon. We’ve been the guests of Stallion 51 for the last few days for a little business, a lot of pleasure and for our Air2Air Workshop. One of the cool things we get to do at Air2Air is play with the planes. We start early in the morning, before the sun is a hint on the horizon unstacking aircraft and pulling those out we want to photograph. This is the iconic “Crazy Horse,” the pride and joy of Lee Lauderback.
I started shooting at the very first clue of color in the east. The exposure time was 15sec. “Crazy Horse” wasn’t moving but Dave, who was busy positioning the Twins was and I counted on that when I went click. It’s that movement that made me want to click. It gives life to the scene, movement to a still image. Just 10min later and the whole scene changes as the sun rises.
Then at sunrise, the Twins (“Crazy Horse” & “Crazy Horse2″) are parked to have their portraits taken. The first two photos, I shot down low to incorporate the ground fog. The last image I went to a second story balcony to element sky. The folks at Stallion 51 are simply amazing, providing not only their aircraft and logistical support, but permitting us to basically have our way as we shoot to our hearts content. Of course, knowing we’d be flying air to air with them ina few hours does provide a bit of electricity to the atmosphere and a purpose to the statics.
Hey, I admit it, I have to sneak up on portraits. I guess if I had a day or a week to think about it, I could set up the scenario for the scene and make a good or great portrait on the fly. But when I have 5min to place and shoot, I feel totally useless lacking any real skill. I had three things going for me that saved the moment. The background just don’t suck, the B-25 “Maid in the Shade” is a one of a kind background. Two, I’ve got a great model dressed as a WWII bomber pilot. A tad old but otherwise perfectly dressed and more then willing to pose. Finally, I’ve got sweet light for the whole thing, no flash or fill used. I shot wide open, f/2.8 and long, 200mm to control the background. Being a member of the famous and amazing AZ Ground Crew, I know I’ll have another opportunity, but great light never comes around twice. This is a skill I’ve gotta improve dang it! I know I’ll have more opportunities like this and I want to make the most of them. Sometimes knowing there is more photography I’ve gotta master drives me nuts!
Albert loves to have his photograph taken. He’s been in countless Hollywood movies and lord knows how many times he’s posed for tourists and yet, he never tires from it. So when K&M Adventures group first meet up with him at his home at Ford’s Point, he instantly asked if the group wanted to take his portrait on his bud, Pistol. While the view is gorgeous, Albert & Pistol get lost in the scene. Now when you look at it mathematically, the duo take up less then 1% of the entire frame. With that small percentage, can we still make them standout?
By moving physically to my left and then down a little, I put the duo in a place were they don’t meld into the background as much. Albert & Pistol are still small in the frame, but at least now they don’t look like an accident. It’s a very simple thing to do but I see many photographs where this simple technique isn’t being used. I just got Tiffen’s Dfx pluggins for Photoshop so decided to give them a whirl in finishing. I used one of their polarizers on these images. I like the effect, I might have gone a little heavy handed but I do like the effect. More to learn…I’m happy!
And here’s Albert & Pistol up close. Neither one are spring chickens but they still are both full of life. I enjoy all the time we get to spend together talking, much to learn from this soul of the earth!
When you drive the loop in Monument Valley, half the time your subjects are front lit and the other half, they are back lit. Because your subjects are so large, if you’re on the backlit side, you have a whole lot of time with no direct sun to work with. Because your subjects are so large, you’re missing some large photographs. The rock of Monument Valley isn’t all red. It’s every shade of red with a whole lot of veins of gray and black sprinkled in. When you shoot the face in full sun, you loose a lot of those veins and to me, a lot of the character that is the Valley. So I do tend to haunt the shadow side thinking about bringing out the character that is the Valley.
Here’s two approaches I use when going to the shadowy side. They both have one thing in common, HDR. To pull out the character in the rock, I need that range of clicks while also preserving the detail in the sky. After that, I want something in the sky and this is typical, I’ll put either clouds or the sun. I want that element for both the white aspect of a B&W photo as well as space and visual depth. The sun can add drama when done correctly. I posted this photo of an example of it not being done correctly. What’s wrong with it? I forgot to clean the front element. That dust on the front element is what’s creating all those circular UFOs in the sunburst. What a pisser! Understand that if I didn’t use HDR, you wouldn’t see any information in the rock, it would be all black. While there are times when that is cool, when working the shadowy side of the Valley, I tend to want to bring out the character in the rock.
I do enjoy greeting the day watching the sun rise. There is just something about that moment that all seems right in the world as the light comes up, the birds begin to sing and the clouds race to meet the coming sun. Last week in Monument Valley on our K&M Adventure, it was one of those mornings. We were out early heading around the loop to be in place in case the balloons launched (which they didn’t this morning). When I looked out of my room at the View, what you see in the top photo was what got me excited except the cloud had already changed alot by the time we got in place to shoot. I love clouds, they simply add a whole new dimension to anything subject. Kevin did his best to get us down in place but the same winds that kept the balloons from launching just scattered that beautiful cloud.
A classic case of chasing the light in the Valley. Just because there is pretty color in the sky, I don’t stop to shoot. The romance everyone associates with a sunrise or sunset if the very minimum that needs to be in our photographs. So with the color has to be the foreground, middleground and background and a lot more. You need shapes in silhouette as well and then finally, you need them clouds to take you eye and heart around the entire photograph. At least, that’s what I shoot for. So in the top photo for example, it’s no mistake that the break in the cloud rims the left side of Merritt Mesa.
These three photos were taken over a period of about 18min and over a distance of about 150 yards. The first photo we were at the bottom of a wash and as the clouds scattered and the sun rose, I didn’t like the foreground so I ran up slope to make the middle image and then to the top of the ridge to make the bottom photo. I like all three, each has a little something different but of these three, the top is my favorite. John Wayne rode over that dirt road and on the morning chasing the light in the Valley, I could imagine him doing it again.
“Why do you feel you a need finish your landscape images?” I was asked this question today and it’s really a valid one. Because first and foremost, because I do anything doesn’t mean you need to do the same. To answer the question though, I feel I need to finish my landscape images because my camera has no heart. There are for sure some instances when the camera just can’t capture what the mind’s eye or more importantly the heart saw at that moment of click. There are the technical issues like light range, color and the like which can be dealt with for the most part in post. But then there is the romantic impression of that moment, something a metal beast can’t feel, capture or communicate. I can’t stress enough that I need my landscape images to say, “You need to be here” and not say “I was here.” My landscape photography is a direct off shoot of my wildlife photography. The critters I so love and fight to preserve will only do so if their homes aren’t bulldozed. I get you to love their homes, the landscape they call home, then I get you to preserve the critters. It’s really that simple for me, save the land, save the critters ergo, I need you to fall in love with the landscape. So my landscape images must grab your heartstrings and tug…alot!
In this case, the finishing was real simple. I started with ACR, the same version you’re now enjoying in LR4 and soon to enjoy in CS6 (it’s the same math, different UI). With that, I then used Nik’s CEP4 Tonal Contrast, Split Gradual and then Viveza to pump up the sand in the foreground and I was done. What you see at the top is the after, and the bottom the original image. You might be saying there is nothing wrong with the bottom image. And you’re be right to be honest with you, if there was I wouldn’t have gone click in the first place. Gotta start with the best capture possible to even think about finishing. I finished the image as described because of the reasons I described above. And you don’t have to do any of it. It’s just my preference for the goals I have for my photography.
Light is such a magical thing! There are many times if you watch me, I seem to be staring out into space when in actuality, the light has simply caught me imagination. I’ve never seen or experience the same light twice which is probably why I’m always out chasing it.
One of the really sweet things about Monument Valley is it plays right into my love of light. No matter the time, day or night, the light loves to play in this valley of stone. And it plays in ways you can often not expect. On this particular morning of our K&M Adventure, we were out in position on the second morning of the balloon festival waiting for the Mitten launch. It was a windy morning to say the least. The balloonist pulled in mass where we had parked and launched a couple of helium balloons testing the wind. We watched them race away and thought it was too windy for the big balloons. But they seem to see what then needed and headed down deeper into the Valley.
The sun wasn’t up yet but was lighting up the horizon when the vehicles took north on the road to the launch zone. No sooner than the last vehicle made the crossing when the sun sneaked over the eastern horizon. Right then the dust cloud from the vehicles lit up and the magic of light once again delighted my imagination.
Here’s the photographic problem. Our cameras can only capture 5 stops, the difference in light between the lit up dust cloud and the Mitten in shadow had to be at least 9 stops. What I was seeing with my eyes was information in the deep shadow of the mitten and the glow of the dust. That’s what I wanted to share with you. That’s the subject, that’s the delight of the light. With that knowledge, the photography part was pretty darn simple. All that was required a simple handheld, 5 image HDR that when processed, was done with my Basic Settings in Photomatix Pro. The key was to not let the shadow go black or gray but keeping it just right. Sharing a shadow my mind’s eye saw.
While the vertical is THE image for me, I shot both just to share with you the possibilities. Why is the vertical image THE image for me? All that extra blue sky on the left of the horizontal image takes away from the brightness of the glowing dust. I wanted you to just see that and only that. Because after a very short period of time, the wind had dispersed the dust and the show was over. But that’s often the delight of light!
Why is this one my favorite? It could be it was the moment the moment all clicked for me. It could be the informal balance. It could be the clear view of both balloon and mesa. It could be the way color moves the eye around the frame. And you know what, I don’t really care why it’s my favorite because, it’s my favorite. It has nothing photographically to do with the photograph, it is strictly an emotional response to the one image that for me, the one who experienced it all and photographed it all is summed up. Photography has given me many gifts, I’ve been very blessed. This photograph is just an example of that good fortune and the best part, I was able to share it with not just other folks with me, but all of you as well!
I am one very, very, very lucky and very, very, very fortunate photographer! Someone likes me somewhere because the blessings that have dropped in front of my lens are at times just way too hard to believe true! I’m infamous for planning things using all the modern tools with old school traditions to make luck happen for me when I can. And with all of that said, I still get skunked. Be it wildlife, landscapes or aviation, many a time my best laid plans end up with not one pixel dying in the creation of a photograph. And when that happens, I tend to be just that more determined to make it happen the next time out.
When I selected dates for our first K&M Adventure in Monument valley, I did my usual schtick and went information hunting. Figuring out the phase of the moon as a snap. Where we’d stay, who we’d use for a guide and our destinations were pretty much in the bag. Then I saw the Hot Air Balloon Festival dates and my mind started to race. I mean really, how cool would that be! It just so happened the dates corresponded with the moon phase I wanted for star trails so it was a done deal. I don’t know what I read during this time, but somewhere in the back of my mind, the balloon thing was not a for sure thing. Time would tell.
We arrive at Monument Valley and the signs are up about the balloon festival but I didn’t see any of the telltale signs like vehicles with big baskets until our second day. It started the next day but information about the launch was pretty sketchy so I still had my doubts. The next morning we rose to a pretty overcast day, not the best light or background for a subject I think of as being airey and festive. No matter, off we headed to The Valley. We got down in time to see some of the balloons inflate, a couple were in the sky. This all happened when the overcast had cleared and gorgeous skies opened up with great light and backdrops.
To say it was magical is an understatement. The balloons started to dance around The Valley, going up and down, floating from mesa to mesa, riding the breeze and the romance for an hour. We shot and shot and shot! The opportunities were anywhere you wanted to point your lens.
Then from behind the mesa beside us there was that unmistakable sound of a heater blower. There were three launch sites for the festival. We were at the North Window, in front of us was the Mittens and behind us Artist. Floating in from Artist and now behind us was the balloon Skywalker. It was like a dream as they rose over the mesa, floated around and then landed just feet from us to the east. The nicest folks, they were talking up a storm with us as they launched again floating literally right over our heads.
As they floated overhead they call out, “Where would you guys like us?” I’ve never had a floating model before but this was great! They worked the breeze and the hearter unit the best they could to make our wishes come true. Little did they know that they didn’t have to do a thing to make our wishes come true. The sound of shutters slamming echoed off the mesas as 10 cameras on astroblast screamed through the pixels.
For these reasons and so many more, this is my favorite balloon and favorite images from that morning. Of these, there is one favorite. It comes next.
The view from The View is simply amazing! One of the BEST aspects is you don’t have to get up bloody early, drive somewhere for a great sunrise! This is literally taken right from my room (#324, my favorite!). I simply open the slider and not even stepping out into the cold breeze, can make this photograph. To bring the color out, I shot a 5 image handheld HDR and then just let Photomatix Pro assemble it. While luck plays a big part in making such images, prior planning helps that luck along. As they say, location, location, location!
You must understand, this is an incredibly gorgeous, inspirational landscape! I could pull up a chair and sit and stare at the Mitten ALL day long all year long and be very happy! That’s not the same as saying I could sit in the same spot and take photographs of the same view all day long and be happy. The difference? Sitting there you feel the breeze, the bite of the air, the smell of frybread (a real weakness) and the sounds of life. You get NONE of that from a photograph. That’s when the creative, the romantic needs to step in and turn the photo into a feeling that someone not sitting on the edge can feel from the photograph. That’s a huge task!
The top photo is what I saw. While it’s a gorgeous view and I love it, the photograph is….ho hum. I mean, does it really make you want to get out to Monument Valley and stand in the cold to get the same photo? If you’re a romantic, perhaps but it’s a stretch. What’s missing to pull you in, to grab your heartstrings? If you look at any Navajo art, you’d see rich reds and dark blues. Why, because those colors tug big time at the romantic in any person. What two colors are missing from this original capture? Blue and red…ouch! What you see above is the original image processed in just ACR. Using the Luminance panel, the blues are brought down and the reds brought up and while better then the straight capture, it’s still not that romantic capture. That sounds over simpliflied but that romance is so important. (Really, see my Romancing the Landscape 3pt class at Kelby Training if you think I’m kidding)
Looking at the out of the camera view, you might now think HDR was needed. Most think of HDR for times when the light range is beyond the five stop range of our HDSLR. There are two aspects to light I’m always personally thinking about when shooting, quality and quantity. Under the quality category comes color and that’s what we’re missing here in the out of the camera image. We get a little back when processed in ACR but look what comes from a simple 5 image HDR…amazing! Where I start with -1 to -2 dialed in for my normal HDR, in this case I started at Zero because I wasn’t going after Quantity of light but rather Quality, the color aspect. What is here is straight out of Photomatix Pro, no PS added. We now have that Navajo blue and red in our photo. I wanted to show how using realistic HDR for color rather then compacting exposure can bring romance to a photograph. If there is any place on this planet where you should have your love standing next to you to watch the sun set, this is top on the list. That’s what you want in your photograph!
You might have been wondering why we sat at Horseshoe Bend for so long. Well, you’d be surprised the photographic opportunities that can come your way when you stop to smell the roses. I heard the boats before I first saw them, then I saw them over in the shadows picking up their clients who were fishing. I wondered if I sat long enough if I could get some aerial clicks of there passing. That’s just what we did, we waited and then every so often a boat would go up stream or down stream, sometimes the same instance. What I had in my mind is an old image taken of a boat with a big wake and while I like what I captured, it’s not what I remembered in that old photo.
What are the elements that work and don’t work in this image? The boat itself isn’t that really visually cool, it doesn’t look like a fast racing boat. The wake though, that is everything! I cocked the camera, framed it all up and finished the photos based on the graphic highlight in the dark green water. Then there was the bank of the river which at times worked and other times didn’t. These are what we had to work with to make the photo.
The bottom photo is my favorite. It combines all the good, ignores the bad and as an “attitude” to the direction of the boat and its wake that works the best. That hint of shore in the top right corner is what works best for me, it gives the whole photo a sense of place. It was fun to sit there, legs hanging over the edge clicking away as the boats shot by down below. It was a great adventure!
Visual depth, there are many ways to obtain it in our photographs. The way I typically do it is with a strong foreground, middleground and background. I’ve talked about this a lot over the years. The other method I use which for some reason I’ve not seemed to mention is optical visual depth. While in Monument Valley this past week with our K&M Adventures, it dawned on me while we were photographing North Window that this was a perfect example of what I’m talking about.
The top photo was taken with a 70-200VR2 at 200mm. This is more or less the classic shot of North Window. You have way off in the distance a couple of mesas and by clipping a little bit of the window on the right and left, the eye can stop there while the imagination goes off into the distance to see those mesas. The reference point in the foreground permits the mind’s eye to slip into the background and creates the illusion of visual depth. Why illusion? What are you using to look at these photos? A computer monitor. It don’t get no flatter!
The bottom image was taken with a 16Fish and part of a lesson of fisheye panos. Here, we used the road to lead the eye back into the frame. We use the tree on the left to “hide” a little bit of rock so the eye continues down that road. While you see the North Window way off in the background, it is no longer the subject. Both images have visual depth and while both pointed at the same formation, they both have a different subject (we had a long discussion in the van about What’s the Subject). They both have very different visual depth even though they both have visual depth.
This lead to a conversation whether just because you have visual depth, do you have a photography? Does including that mean you have a good or great photograph? In all realities, there is no answer to these questions. I saw photos with visual depth that sucked. I saw photos with no visual depth that were stunning. I know personally when working a landscape, I find it very important for the viewer to be able to “fall into the landscape” in my photograph. I want them to feel as if there were standing next to me taking in that grand view. That requires a strong visual depth at the very least as a starting point in the photographic experience.