Using Light to Create Drama and Dimension in Landscape Photos

Adding drama to images without humans to express it is its own art, and taking advantage of the play between light and dark is one of the best ways to do it. This great video follows a landscape photographer as he uses shifting light to accentuate his subjects and create excitement in his images.

This video follows Landscape Photographer Andrew Marr as he shoots Buachaille Etive Mòr in Scotland. Of course, mountains are dramatic enough in their own right, but with the right light, they can become anything from gorgeous wonders to imposing behemoths. Marr examines these different faces, waiting for the shifting light to be such that his foreground is golden and inviting, while the leading line carries the eye straight up to the darker mountain, partially obscured by ominous clouds. It's an impressive dramatic arc across a single image, and it highlights the value of reading the light you're looking for and waiting for it, especially when it's something a bit less traditional. Marr notes that his post-processing was done to accentuate the effect, bringing the more neutral clouds down so they were almost black. I think the final results were well worth the wait.

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4 Comments

Anonymous's picture

While I like the results of his post processing, I think it was overdone to the point of being unbelievable. :-/

Alex Cooke's picture

That's certainly fair; it's definitely a matter of taste.

Anonymous's picture

Again, I actually like the result but it comes back to how far you can stretch post processing before it becomes art and not landscape photography.

I have to say I agree with Patrick. I think his composition and colors are really nice, but the tops of his images are generally a bit too dark and over-dramatic, and they don't match the rest of the image. I very much appreciate his videos though; it's helpful to hear him talk through his process.