2020 WEEK 31: Intimate Landscapes

When we think of landscape photos, we often imagine grand vistas with amazing light. While these photos are beautiful to look at, they tend to limit landscape photographers’ potential shooting time to the golden hours. Want to shoot at other times of the day? Don’t have any grand landscapes nearby? Then consider Intimate Landscapes!

Oil Slick Abstract by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

An intimate landscape photo is one which isolates a small section of a landscape. It encompasses the area between grand vistas and macro photos. An intimate landscape might be taken in an area with grand vistas, but it could just as easily be a photo taken in your backyard. Intimate landscapes tend to create order from apparent chaos by focusing on repeating shapes, lines, texture, etc. They can also be used to tell part of a larger story of a place. Because you focus on smaller scenes, you can shoot at any time of the day since you can almost always find a small area in the shade – or maybe an area with interesting shadows at midday. (Harsh shadows don’t always work in color, but can create wonderful black and white images.)

For the photo at the top of this page, I was wandering around the banks of a river on an overcast morning when I saw a colorful reflection out of the corner of my eye. Upon further inspection, I discovered a small puddle of water covered by what I assume was some sort of film created by plant decay (maybe?). What fascinated me was how it appeared to be broken pieces of ice. I created an abstract by using my 70-200mm lens to zoom in on a small section of the pattern on the top of the puddle.

For the photo below, I was wandering the trails near my house on a foggy morning in early spring and noticed how the yellow branches seemed to glow in the otherwise gloomy scene. Again, I zoomed in with my 70-200mm lens to isolate the part of the scene that I found most appealing.

Misty Morning by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

To be clear, you do not have to use a telephoto lens to create an intimate landscape photo – you can just as easily use a wide angle lens (e.g. your phone) and “zoom with your feet”. For more examples and an in-depth discussion of intimate landscapes, I encourage you to read through these articles:

To recap this week’s challenge:

  • Take an intimate landscape photo. Look for details that help to tell a part of the story of a place. Pay close attention to the composition, depth of field, exposure, etc. in order to create a pleasing photo.
  • This challenge can be accomplished in your backyard if you are not able to travel right now. You may just need to look a little harder to find something that catches your eye.
  • Feel free to process your photo in B&W if you don’t have a lot of color in your landscape right now – or even if you do!
  • Post your photo during the week of Sunday, July 26 and Saturday, August 1.
  • Please remember to comment on at least FIVE photo submissions this week by answering the question “why?” in your comments. In other words, “why do I like (or not like) this photo?” or “why did this photo catch my eye?” Thank you!

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Take a new photo for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Post your photo each week to our active communities on Facebook or Flickr (or both). Tag the photo:  #2020photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2020 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

About thedigitaljeanie

I’m a self-taught photographer and way back when I used to love taking photos, but I allowed a business that I started in 2004 to take over my life and my photographic repertoire was reduced to quick product shots and how-to tutorials. When I joined the PhotoChallenge in December 2015, I was looking to rekindle my creativity and bring some joy back into my photography. I jumped in with both feet and have not looked back. I believe that photography can change the way we see and interact with the world around us. Some people may think that I hide behind the camera, but I feel that I experience the world in a much more intimate way when I am creating a composition in my viewfinder. In those moments distractions disappear, my mind focuses and I am fully present. It is just me and my camera capturing a moment in time that might otherwise go unnoticed. My background is as varied as the photos that I take. I’ve trained and worked as a software engineer, a massage therapist, an English teacher in Vietnam, a photo restoration artist (which is how I learned Photoshop) and for the past twelve years I have run a small software business with my husband where I have been published in numerous books and magazines, appeared on PBS television, created designs for fabric, quilts and machine embroidery and won awards for some of my quilts. It should come as no surprise that I am intensely curious about life and love to learn new things. I am blessed to live in the beautiful state of Colorado, USA in the Rocky Mountain foothills outside of Fort Collins with my husband and cat. You can find me online at: Photos: flickr.com/photos/the-digital-jeanie/ Day job: KaleidoscopeCollections.com Facebook: facebook.com/jeaniesa