I look through the viewfinder, and a feeling comes over me. I know the setting is right, and the image oozes with mood. There’south something about what I see that has an event I know will be well received when others and I expect at the resulting image. This magic does not happen every time I press the shutter push.
What information technology means to capture the mood of what’southward in front of you tin can exist subjective, changing from ane lensman to the next. For me, it’s all well-nigh the feeling of existence there, of taking the viewer to the location of the photo to feel similar I did when the shot was taken. When you experience these sensations as you’re taking the shot, you lot know the viewer will, too, every bit s/he looks at the image.
Simply as a person tin have varying moods, so too, tin a photograph. Either can experience a feeling of intense action, solitude, tranquility, or danger. To me, mood in a photo tends toward relaxation and like feelings that make the viewer want to walk right into the picture and sit there for a while.
What is mood and what elements are needed to create information technology and so that whoever looks at your photo can motility into the scene and experience it? Different elements can be used to create a sense of emotion in a place. One of the most mutual to comprise into a photo is fog. A thick fog can add together so much to a shot that when people expect at the image, they know exactly what the experience was similar when the photograph was taken. The drama added by fog can be brought well-nigh in several ways:
Getting higher up the fog on a ridge or mountaintop allows for a clear view of the area with the fog nestled either in a series of mountain ridges or along a river. Even if the river can’t be seen, the fog that fills the expanse draws the viewer’s eye–maybe even more the river itself would.
Wildlife in the fog tin add an air of mystery to whatever the animal is doing, even if it’s just walking across a field or sitting on a nest. A unmarried animal in the fog tin can brand information technology seem lonelier than it might really be because of the feeling of isolation.
Other subjects that work keen in fog are one-time bridges and trees. While fog around a grouping of trees is overnice, finding an isolated tree set apart from others in the surface area creates a very strong image. One of Ansel Adams’ acme prints is of an oak tree shrouded in fog with a low sun coming through in the groundwork. The thicker the fog for this blazon of shot, the improve, as it helps obscure any else is in the viewfinder and puts all the emphasis on the main subject.
Metering fog can either enhance or diminish the consequence of the shot. If you’re above the fog and it’south bright white, treat it as snow and open up upwards about a terminate to balance the color. If yous’re shooting through the fog, yous tin underexpose about –2/3rds of a stop to darken the overall image and bring out the fog even more or go +ane/3 to lighten it up a bit. Practise a few shots of each exposure to achieve the verbal feel y’all want in your shot. However, don’t rely on your digital LCD screen for reviewing the shot, as it tends to brighten things up a flake.
Typically, you hear advice to overexpose a fog shot, equally fog tends to exist lighter in color than a clear day. While this is truthful, sometimes you lot might want to portray a dissimilar effect. This is where bracketing comes in. Do several shots on the plus side, but don’t retrieve underexposing is out of the question, considering this is where information technology can deepen the mood a bit. While the LCD might not provide the best view of your shot, the histogram can be useful in showing if your highlights are blown-out.
Fog helps isolate your subject field from any distracting elements that might be in the expanse–such every bit a cluttered background. There’s actually only 1 option when y’all wake up to a foggy morning, and information technology’s not to gyre over and become a niggling extra slumber. Grab your gear and run out to find something to shoot before the fog burns off.
Another natural element that can exist great for putting the viewer next to you is tempest clouds. The darker, more than ominous and threatening the heaven, the more drama and mood you’ll accept in the resulting images. This is where an average dreary twenty-four hours won’t work; it has to be on the verge of a big storm coming through. Similar fog, using exposure bounty on the minus side volition make the clouds appear darker than they really were when you lot were there. To lessen the effect, go to the plus side, again bracketing to get the exact feel you want to bring out.
When tempest clouds are brewing, the effect is enhanced if the storm is on the contrary horizon from the sun. While the sun is obscured, you might not have the greatest of shots, but if the sun breaks through and puts light on your foreground subject area with storm clouds to a higher place, then a very dramatic image results. A strong foreground discipline is almost a necessity for images with storm clouds. While the clouds could be the master subject field, without something else in the frame, at that place’s no contrasting bailiwick.
If the sunday is at the right bending, about 45 degrees above the horizon, you might even be treated to the added bonus of a rainbow. While you never want to be besides far away from your vehicle when a storm is approaching–especially if it’southward accompanied by lightning, taking the run a risk may exist worthwhile once everything comes together.
While fog might create a warm and calming effect, snow can move in the opposite direction. Different snow settings tin create varying moods in a photograph, depending upon how the overall scene is portrayed. A snowfall-covered tree tin can identify the viewer out in the cold. A vast field of snowfall and frost on trees can bring out a different mood.
Finding the right setting for a snow scene could exist difficult if yous want to bring the viewer with you into the moment when y’all pressed the shutter release. Contrast helps. The mixture of a good blue sky and white snowfall can pull everything together. Combining a snowy scene with fog or haze can also help. While fog is more prevalent in jump and fall when the ground and air temperatures are quite different, you tin as well come across fog during the wintertime. With fog and snowfall simultaneously, you have two elements working together to create the feeling.
Bated from using quirks of weather, shooting whatsoever single subject continuing in a large expanse will create an instantaneous feeling of isolation in almost anybody. It does not thing what that 1 subject is, only the smaller it is in the scene, the greater the feeling of isolation and loneliness.
Another subject that has automatic impact is running water. Several years ago, pocket-size artificial waterfalls to set up up in your dwelling or yard were very popular, considering they were supposed to accept a calming consequence. The sounds of a babbling brook or a waterfall can draw people to sit and listen for long periods of fourth dimension. Similarly, images of crashing waves, a peaceful stream, or a waterfall recall the peacefulness of water sounds and have similar effects.
When you’re shooting running h2o, a long exposure is usually used in gild to create the silky smooth period of the water. While this issue is nice, a fast shutter speed can create a feeling of power as waves crash on rocks or a waterfall sends cascades of spray onto the rocks below. Don’t feel express because you’ve seen h2o shots taken by and large one way. If you lot try a tedious shutter speed for waves crashing over rocks, your image might be more than interesting than the shot capturing the touch on of the waves.
What creates a feeling of mood in i person might non work that fashion in some other. The same can be said when y’all ask multiple people what mood they feel when looking at a given photo. You might elicit as many different responses as the number of people you ask. Whatever the instance, practise whatever y’all tin to try to entice viewers to feel as though they were in that location and can feel what it was like to have the shot.
Andy Long is an award-winning photographer / author who devotes his photography piece of work to the beauty of the earth around us. His personal website is www.firstlighttours.com. Equally a leader of workshops for First Light Photo Workshops since 1994, Andy likes to aid people explore new areas and to go home with a memorable feel likewise every bit great images.
With more than 100,000 stock images, work has appeared in more than xxx publications and books every bit well as appearing in National Geographic and Animal Planet television shows. Too these, Andy’s work has besides appeared in Birder’s World, Outdoor Life, Audubon Regional Field Guides, regional AAA magazines, Montana Magazine, Outdoor and Nature Photography, Photograph Media, National Cowboy Museum’s Persimmon Hill, Aboriginal Images note cards, travel brochures, Sierra Photographers Focus and in ads for Rollei cameras. He is a previous winner of the national RoseWater Network Lensman of the Year award.