Conveying Emotion in a Landscape Image

How do you make a sunset more than a pretty picture? To really connect with your audience some emotion or feeling needs to be conveyed.

What are you feeling when you are making the image? What attracted you to the scene? What do you want to say?

When I first started asking myself these questions it was difficult! Hmm… what do I want to say about this pretty lake? Ummm…

Oddly my mood when I made this first image was rather annoyed! The bugs were outrageous, I got eaten alive. I thought I probably didn’t want to convey that. But it led me to create an image that is on the harsher side, emphasizing the dramatic clouds with deep contrast. The portrait orientation has more tension. Also in post-processing I didn’t want this image to be too blue, I wanted it to be dark and dramatic.

Pine Glades Lake, Everglades National Park, Florida
Please click the image to view a larger version.

Once I put my jacket on and the sun dipped below the horizon, everything seemed to calm down. Fewer bites, less wind, softer colours. Now I wanted to make an image that was peaceful. The long exposure allowed me to blur the water to make it soft. The landscape orientation of the image is more relaxing with the elongated horizon. In post-processing, I emphasized the blue just a little.

Pine Glades Lake, Everglades National Park, Florida

Isn’t it amazing how different these images are? Incidentally, they were taken about 45 minutes apart and they are both HDR images made up of multiple exposures.

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29 Responses to “Conveying Emotion in a Landscape Image”

  1. Len Saltiel says:

    Beautiful landscape images Anne. It is amazing how our moods affect how we shoot and process. I think you explained it beautifully
    Len Saltiel recently posted..SpiritualMy Profile

  2. Alexander says:

    Hello Anne,
    Following you all these months , I just asked myself a question.
    How do you find all these beautiful places, how do you manage to be on the right moment there to capture them so greatly?
    Is it all planned, or you stop just when you a spot and then just stay there for the light to become so nice?

    • Hi Alexander! Great question! In fact, it is actually the subject of my second ebook which I am in the process of writing right now. There is a lot of planning that goes into some of the images. Having said that though, our travels are not really planned out. We are just going around the United States following the coastline clockwise. But I always research the places I am going ahead of time to make the most of my limited time there. I could say so much more but I don’t want to give away my whole ebook! I really hope that it will be finished by the end of March and I will be giving it away for free. Stay tuned!!

  3. Chris Nitz says:

    Both good shots, but the first one is just killer. Love that sky and the reflection. Such great work, Anne!
    Chris Nitz recently posted..Sauced: No Restrooms on TatooineMy Profile

    • Hi Chris, thank you so much for your feedback. I like the first one better too, although the second one is more representative of the type of work I usually do. Maybe that’s why I like the first one more — stretching my wings ;)

  4. Vern Snow says:

    Two stunning images, thanks for sharing

  5. Mark Neal says:

    Very nice shots Anne. You’ve captured the “depth” of the scene in the first one. Great composition. I know what you mean about being “eaten alive”. Happened to me in northern Florida at Little Talbot Island State Park. Had to keep moving to keep the mosquitos away.
    Mark Neal recently posted..Volubilis Morocco – Not Quite RomeMy Profile

    • Hi Mark, We spent two months in Florida, but I didn’t see the park you mentioned. Actually we just followed the coast line so I didn’t see much of the interior of the state at all. There’s so much to see!! Florida has been good to us and I’m sure we will be back. Thank you very much for your comments.

  6. Russ Bishop says:

    Lovely images Anne and each one does indeed pull you in a slightly different direction.

  7. John Nandor says:

    Truly beautiful images on your trip so far Anne. I have just begun to follow you and can’t wait to see more images like the ones above. Wish you the best on your endeavor.
    John Nandor recently posted..Leaving Blue by John NandorMy Profile

  8. These are both really sweet shot, but the top one does have a little something extra special, and I think ‘tension’ is the perfect word.

  9. Edith Levy says:

    Both beautiful landscapes Anne and both convey what you were setting out to do. Great job. Have a wonderful weekend.
    Edith Levy recently posted..The Photo StudioMy Profile

  10. John says:

    What a beautiful shot!
    John recently posted..Shane & Kelli engagement sessionMy Profile

  11. Wow, these are wonderful couple shots.
    Darcy Michaelchuk recently posted..Bolder on Barbados BeachMy Profile

  12. Richard Anfuso says:

    Anne, the first photo is truly a spectacular shot and I am bit jealous. I was a bit overwhelmed by it, though. What do you think if the photo was cropped from the bottom up to above the first layer of clouds? It would significantly simplify the composition but I don’t know if it would change the mood you were trying to convey.

    • Hi Richard, personally I think that cropping out the foreground rocks and the lake would leave the image without a subject. It would just be clouds, which is nice, but it wouldn’t have the same impact because there would be no context. I appreciate the suggestion though, it’s just my opinion.

  13. Richard Anfuso says:

    I apologize. You are right. I actually meant to crop out the top layer of clouds leaving the rocks in the foreground and the first layer clouds above. Then the eye would be drawn from the horizon to the the rocks instead of from the horizon to above and then down to the rocks. It is just an idea.

  14. Bobby says:

    Hi Anne,

    You make it all look so simple but I’m sure there is a lot of hard work and research that goes into all of this, you truely are an inspiration to all of us Anne.I am certainly thinking of taking my photography to the next level.

    • Hi Bobby, I’m glad I make it look easy, but you are right, there is quite a bit of research, planning, and putting up with bug bites, and waiting around for the perfect moment. It isn’t nearly as glamorous as you might think! :)

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