Composition design (Part 3)

Ah yes, we were discussing the use of the camera in either landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical) mode.

Where this decision becomes critical is entirely dependent on the type of photograph you are taking and the 'emotive' aspect you wish to convey.

When you photograph a landscape in 'landscape' mode, you do so in order to get as much of the vista into your image as possible, but if there is something of particular interest in the scene that you would like to single out, like a tree for instance, or a rocky outcrop, you may need to shoot the photograph in portrait mode in order to get all of the subject's 'verticalness' in the shot.
In other words, you have to make the decision about how you wish to portray a certain subject, and as mentioned earlier, whatever 'emotive' feelings you wish to evoke in your image.
Back to the old psychology thing! A photograph taken in landscape fashion evokes emotions of subtlety, calmness or peacefulness, whilst subjects taken in portrait mode conjure up feelings of power, strength and dynamism.
So, something else to think about while you are standing behind your camera waiting to shoot your masterpiece. 
Another common rule in photography is to 'keep it simple'! The more simplistic your images are, the easier they will be to the eye of the viewer.
Yes, that old psychology thing again! And whilst you are standing there contemplating your landscape, are you able to keep it simple? You now know, that in your story, you need to have a beginning, a middle and an end, but in order to keep this book simple, we don't want to have too many confusing characters and chapters or in this case, unwanted elements in the image, because the human eye is decidedly lazy when it comes to looking at 'busy' photographs. It needs to be kept interested. Therefore, you must have a centre of interest and a means of directing the eye to that centre of interest. And to hold the interest. You have no doubt heard the phrase, 'Less is more' and this should apply even more so in photography.
There are certain elements you need to know about, that we can use tools in the designing of a good composition.
The ones most needed mentioning here are light, colour, shape, form, framing and lines.
All these elements have their own little way of turning on the emotional juices and creating interest in your photography.
The first of these elements, light, is the very essence of all photography. Without it, there would be no photography.
Put simply, the term photograph is derived from the Greek word 'photos', meaning light and graph meaning to draw. So we are literally drawing with light. And in photography, we have many forms of light at our disposal. Be it natural or artificial.
Obviously, in landscapes, we are mostly working with natural light. With the exception of that little bit of 'fill-in' flash needed now and then to lighten some of the foreground dark spots.
We can also use light at certain times of day to our advantage. For landscapes you will find the type of light you get in the early morning, from just after dawn till around 9 am, is good directional light and will give you nice clear photos, and particularly if there has been a shower of rain during the night, the air will be crisp and clean.
The afternoon light, between say, 4 pm and dusk can be used to similar advantage in landscape photography and the rising heat haze from a hot sunny day may be used for the creation some quite moody shots; however, the morning light will generally give all-around better results.
It is known in the best of circles that the type of light in the hours between those times can be very undesirable for landscape shots. Especially at the height of the day. Your shots may become hazy with a bluish colour cast to them. There are filters you can use to compensate for this, but it is still better to stay with the preferred times.

Click here for part 4