Friday, 5 October 2012

Classical landscapes

When I was messing around trying to get to grips with the fisheye lens the other day I got to thinking again about how the distortion it creates both has uses and is only distortion if you think literally.

The photograph below is one of those nearly shots I'm so good at taking. The sky was too bright to make it easy to get a uniform exposure and I had a fair bit of fiddling to do on the computer. What immediately struck me about the picture was the way the trees curved to create a frame in a way that reminded me of classical landscape paintings. I was thinking of Claude Lorrain for some reason which Google disabused me of - although I did find an example or two of his work that had a leaning tree on one side of the picture.

What Google did throw up was this landscape by Hendrik Frans Van Lint. I find it hard to imagine that trees would lean so conveniently as framing devices in nature. Trees always lean with the prevailing wind. Painters can move and reshape objects to suit their compositional ideas. So why shouldn't the photographer use the optical features of a lens to do likewise?

Note also the use of shade in the foreground of the painting as part of the frame (easily applied in Lightroom with a graduated filter!), and how this also helps enhance the aerial perspective.

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