Watching for Still Lifes in the Landscape

Its all too easy to be watching for the big, panoramic vistas when scouting for landscape photography locations. With your eye on the horizon, and judging when the foreground elements come into just the right balance for the shot, the items closer up can often be missed. And yet, people are at least as compelled by a still life image with a good story as by a landscape. With the added advantage that the still lifes can be often be taken at times which are not prime for landscape shooting; when the sun is too high, or not bright enough, or the landscape is not at its prime season.

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The image below is a classic example. This wine press and grinder were sitting under an overhang in an old farm being converted to an agriturismo. It was not very visually interesting at a distance, and had I not been involved in pressing cider with similar equipment myself, I would not have taken the time to walk over and inspect it. Yet, with a bit of adjustment to the lighting, and some digital removal of distracting elements, it creates a still life with a clear story, especially of interest to those who have ever seen wine or cider being processed. This image has been an excellent “kitchen art” print, in smaller sizes, in part because of the unique apple green tone that makes it work well with kitchens decorated in that color.

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C. David Tobie

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