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Maru LandscapesWelcome to the Maru Landscapes Blog. Here, I will share with you my latest images, techniques, and thoughts on landscape photography. From the best places to go, to the best equipment and techniques to use, you will find it here. I hope you enjoy the blog and come to visit often. Feel free to contact me at if you have any questions at all about the content of this blog. Jeremy Jackson
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A Good Picture?
By:         Jeremy Jackson   |    January 5, 2015

Location:  Rocky Mountains    |   Alberta

Story: Landscape photographs are of very many different kinds and styles. Some styles, especially on popular websites like "", are of the "modern drama" type. I have many such images on my own website. These images are immediately impactful, they make the viewer say "wow", they stop the viewer in their tracks so to speak. Landscape photographers use a number of different techniques to create such images. Ultra wide-angle lenses, hyper-sharpness from foreground to background, saturation of colors, and the documentation of dramatic natural places or events are often featured in modern dramatic landscape images.

If you ask most landscape photographers what kinds of images they like, however, they will often point towards softer images with less immediate and obvious appeal. These are images of the artistic or emotional type. Although not perhaps big crowd pleaser's, these images speak more deeply and softly about nature, the landscape, and our relationship to the natural world. For me, a simple test of such images is whether the first impression is about technique or emotion. If I see technique before I feel something, I generally approach the image with less interest and respect.

The following image is of Bow Lake in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. It is what I would call a "crowd pleaser". The moment is beautiful, the colors are saturated and the composition is dramatic and clean.


This next image is of almost exactly the same spot and taken on the same morning as the image above. However, to me, the image is of a completely different type. This image speaks much more to me than the first. It gets past the obvious drama of the moment and place. It does not appear "technique forward" but rather looks more muted, more imperfect, more real.


There are a few features of this image that I think make it more artful or perhaps just less "technique forward" than the first image. The feature that speaks most to me is the light. Despite the fact that the colors are less saturated in the second image, the light is much better. Here, the light has great contrast. It bleeds over the horizon catching peaks and missing valleys. In the first image, the light is relatively flat and even throughout the image. This translates into few areas of deep shadow or bright highlights.

The second feature of the image that appeals to me is the composition. In the second image the presentation is more square, allowing the mountain in the distance to be placed pleasingly in a more off-center position. This gives the image a less constructed and more organic feel. The eye is allowed to wander through the image, giving more visual time to the viewer.

Ultimately, the second image is less about the subject and more about the moment, the light, the photography. And that alone makes it more successful to me.

Technical Details: Both images are single images taken with a Nikon D800E and 14-24, f2.8 lens set at roughly 17mm. No filtration was used in either image.

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All images copyright of Maru Landscapes - 2010. Landscape Photography of the Pacific Northwest.