Michael Moon - Landscape Photography
Since my childhood, using a hand-me-down collapsible but otherwise unadjustable camera, I have always made photographs outdoors.
The most important consideration to me with regard to any photograph is composition, whether it is symmetry, rule of thirds, whatever, the composition of the photo in its final crop must complement the subject. I’ve always found that a more satisfying photo is one that has plenty of detail – for instance, a plain blue sky, however cheerful, usually does little for the final image. A foreground of water needs ripples, movement, reflections, mist, reeds or lilies.
I’m often told that my photos are frequently moody or the opposite – gloomy with fog or serene in sunset, that sort of thing.
Less and less over time is one asked if a shot has been photoshopped. The answer is “Of course!” It’s much better if it is, and it’s not hard to tell if it wasn’t. Not only does post-processing get rid of things you want removed but it allows for emphasis or improvement of color, sharpness and so forth.
Editing in photoshop is the gift that permits very quick trials of different crops. For instance, from the original full-chip capture in 3:4 aspect ratio I can make trial crops, long before the first print, in other ratios – the very common 2:3 that gives us 4” x 6” prints, or 1:1 (square), 1:2 or 1:3, which give flatter or longer crops. All as the subject and composition require.
The second gift - to me - of photo editing in the computer is the ability to render the original color file as a black and white at a single click. It’s many years now since I carried two camera bodies loaded with color and black and white film! Even better is the ability to remove some colors but leave others. Thus a photo like Red canopy (see below) actually has all color but red removed.
I’m often asked what kind of camera I use. Well, I’ve owned and used many brands over the years and kept using them if they were good. It’s often said that the best camera is the one you have with you! I upgrade from time to time and treat myself to a better lens occasionally. It’s hard to avoid being a bit of a gear head, but the real satisfaction is in making and sharing images, and enjoying the places they were made in.
Coming in summer 2020: photographybymichaelmoon.org