LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY In modern landscape photography the hand camera has naturally taken a very prominent place, but it must be recognised that the best work in landscape photography results from studying and arranging the picture on the focusing screen, this generally involving the use of a stand. As on many occasions good subjects can be obtained when the use of a stand and the deliberate arrangement of the picture are im practicable, a " hand or stand " camera is the most convenient for landscape work. At times, a picture may be studied on the focusing screen, the best point of view selected, and then the exposure made when all the conditions are favourable by holding the camera in the hand. This method is specially applicable to village scenes, and occasionally to landscapes with animals.
For general landscape photography the camera should have a rising front, a swing back, and should be capable of extending to twice the length of the plate. In all positions it should be quite firm and rigid. The tripod should be firm and capable of adjustment to any height from 3 to 5 f t. The lens should preferably be a modern anastigmat with a full aperture of f/8 ; this will cover the plate with uniform sharpness without reducing the aperture, and at fir r the rising front may be used to a considerable extent without loss of definition. The best proportion of focal length is about if times the longer side of the plate, this giving good perspective effect without unduly dwarfing the distance. A lens of longer focus prevents many subjects from being composed satisfactorily, owing to various ob stacles making it impossible to take a point of view sufficiently far from the principal part of the subject to secure a satisfactory proportion ; while a lens of short focus has a tendency to exaggerate the difference between the near and distant parts of the picture. At times, however, a wide-angle lens having a focus a little shorter than the longer side of the plate is very useful, especially when the subject includes tall trees or high buildings and the space is limited. The shutter should be of the " time and instan taneous " pattern ; and it is desirable that all exposures of less than five seconds' duration should be made by the shutter rather than by the cap. It is difficult to make a short exposure by means of the cap in brilliant sunshine with out causing slight fog through the sun striking the photographer's hand, and being reflected into the lens when removing or replacing the cap ; with a shutter there is no such risk. At times, too, the wind is very troublesome, and it is necessary to wait patiently for foliage to be reasonably still, even for an exposure of one second. With a shutter provided with a pneu matic or an Antinous release, the photographer can watch the moving foliage carefully, and as soon as the conditions are favourable for making the exposure he can press the bulb without turning or giving any attention to the camera.
By pressing and releasing the bulb of a shutter set for " time " as quickly as possible, an exposure of a quarter of a second can be given, this allowing of photographing figures in the mid-distance, moving slowly towards the camera, without showing movement. The plates used should be rapid, and be backed.
It is in the selection, the arrangement and the method of treatment of a subject that the photographer shows his individuality. A feeling for composition is essential for successful land scape photography. The necessity for composi tion arises from the fact that the photographer takes a small portion of the landscape and encloses that portion in an artificial boundary composed of four lines forming a rectangle. It is essential that the small fragment of the land scape should convey the impression that the photographer desired to express, and one of the first conditions is that attention should be drawn from the boundary lines and into the picture towards the principal part of the subject. Every picture should consist of foreground, mid-distance and distance, the principal object or point of interest being in the near mid distance. This will naturally demand primary attention, but the foreground requires almost as much. Most landscape photographers pay too little attention to the foregrounds of their pictures, thereby sacrificing much of their quality. In the foreground the gradations of light and shade are much more strongly rendered than in any other plane ; and this strength has very great value in giving the effect of atmos phere and in causing the other planes to recede and take their correct position.
In selecting the point of view, it should be remembered that the lower the point of sight the more the foreground is shortened, and small foreground objects appear more important ; while a very high point of view will frequently give the impression of the ground running uphill.
Reducing the aperture of the lens becomes necessary in almost all landscape photography to secure sufficient sharpness of definition in the various planes. The nearer the foreground to the camera, the smaller will be the stop necessary ; but the shorter the focus of the lens, the greater will be the range of distances that can be rendered sharply with a given value of stop.
Sunshine is very effective in most landscape work, especially when striking shadows break up an uninteresting foreground, or cause unequal lighting of the important and unimportant parts of a subject. Frequently, an oblique light— strong sunshine almost at right angles to the direction of the view—is very impressive.