The Search for the Perfect Olive

Its always useful to have one or more photographic searches going on as you shoot. For a landscape photographer this is often in the form of the perfect light or the perfect clouds for a given shot. In the case of the image below, it was the search for the perfect olive tree. Olive trees have a gnarly, bonsai quality about them that make them an ideal subject for shots that could almost be thought of as portraits. However, they travel in packs, and it can be quite difficult to isolate your picturesque olive against a clean background, instead of a snarl of other olive branches.

After a few years of searching for just the right subject, the olive tree below finally presented itself, within sight of the hotel often used during the search. The first image below is the envisioned shot. Full sun, full color, high detail, right down to the individual olives, most suited for a print about two meters high.


However, its always a good idea to study your subject from all angles. The shot below is the same tree, from the opposite side. It offers a different perspective of the tree, a different feel to the image, and a vignette of the hills, valley, and village of Pienza in the distance, rather like the background in the Mona Lisa. While it is not the intended image, it may well be more salable than the full color shot above.


C. David Tobie


Local Color as an Emotional Key

Color is something the human eye reads in many ways. One of those ways is as memory colors, the color of our childhood holidays, of the sky in our favorite location, or other emotionally linked memories. When a color stands out, consider its memory color value to your audience. Anyone who has experienced the vivid cranberry color of blueberry barrens or cranberry bogs in the fall will instantly recognize that tone in a landscape. Similarly, the unique orange tone of the seashore lichen shown below will tell viewers in England, New England, and the other coastal locations where it grows, that this is a shot from near the ocean, be it on a gravestone, or a natural outcropping.

Designers looking to trigger these local memory colors will be happy to find your images including them, if they are tagged in a way that makes them visible when making location-oriented searches.

Orange Lichen-1

C. David Tobie