When Is It A Landscape?

Landscape (n) ~ All the visible features of an area of countryside or land, often considered in terms of their aesthetic appeal.

Wikipedia describes it as comprising the visible features of an area of land, including the physical elements of landforms such as (ice-capped) mountains, hills, water bodies such as rivers, lakes, ponds and the sea, living elements of land cover including indigenous vegetation, human elements including different forms of land use, buildings and structures, and transitory elements such as lighting and weather conditions.
Aside from the obvious, what do we as photographers define as landscapes?  What are landscapes to you?  Does a landscape have to be some vast wide angle image of a large area or can it be something smaller that we can see within a small area.  Is it a mixture of the two?   Surely it could be technical aspects such as leading or converging lines, a different and interesting perspective, visually stimulating foreground or background, vivid coloring or even a sense of movement.  What if the image has none of those?  Is it still a landscape?  What is it about a landscape that makes us stop what we’re doing and stare; wishing that we could be there at that very moment to share in the experience?
Here’s a little something to ponder.  I shot the image below a few months ago while the lake water was still down.  This is a rock that is normally underwater.   The image was shot at f/3.5, ISO 100 at 1/1250 with a focal length of 20mm.

Just for the record, it is not on my list of favorites; it is however, growing on me.

The question to ponder is whether or not this classifies as a landscape.  Does the shallow depth of field and foreground focus affect that decision?   Does the fact that there are no leading lines change anything?  Does the weather and nasty conditions (we call that life in the Pacific Northwest) make you see the image any differently?

Does it fit the dictionary definition?
Does it fit a technical definition?
What do you feel about it?


3 responses

  1. I think it does Mike. I read an article last month (I think it was in Outdoor Photographer) where they were doing a piece on Elliot Porter who some say was the father of the “initimate landscape.” In other words and image doesn’t have to be vast and wide to be considered a landscape but it’s okay to zoom in on an element in order to make that the focal point of the shot.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:18 AM

  2. What an awesome and insightful post, Mike!

    June 1, 2012 at 3:55 PM

  3. Pingback: 83 Amazing Photography Articles and Photos You Should Know About » Latest News Update | Latest News Update

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