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Guidelines for the Landscapes forum -- updated January 2009


Posted by Royce Howland on Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:04 pm

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The Landscapes forum is designed for members to post and provide constructive feedback on images where the primary subject is the natural outdoor world -- the land, sea and sky, as well as anything that may be found in the world that was not created by humankind. Images may also include minor human elements -- ones that are small within the frame, visually unintrusive, and not compositionally significant. The photographer's primary intent as well as the viewer's primary response should be to see the image as portraying an aspect of the natural world.

Where any human element is significant (either visually or compositionally), the image should be considered for the Travel and Culture forum instead. Examples of human elements include buildings and manmade objects of any kind, domesticated animals, gardens, crops or other obviously cultivated land, and people in the outdoors.

The guidelines do leave open some latitude for images which may fit within either forum. Consider your image title and any descriptive text you intend to post. If you are calling attention to human elements because they are significant to the presentation of the scene, then your image may be best suited for Travel and Culture. Otherwise if human elements are included but you feel they are unnoticeable or essentially neutral to the presentation, then the image may be better suited for Landscapes.

Please evaluate your images. Images not fitting with the goal of the Landscapes forum may be removed.

Examples within the Landscapes Guidelines
In the following image, the boat is certainly visible, but is visually tiny. By its relative size and shape, it mainly serves to emphasize the scale and form of the mountain view.
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From this height, the impression is completely about the wide vista, not the tiny white craft below.
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Here, the relative scale, placement and tonality of the cloud and sun rays dominate the image, leaving hardly an impression of the bales in the field, or the distant farm buildings.
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Viewers familiar with this classic Banff location may realize there is a raised road bed on the left, but otherwise it is barely noticeable.
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The small wooden dock on the far right barely registers in this wide, sweeping view of mountains and lake. (Because of the wide field of view of panoramas, often they will be suitable for the Landscapes forum despite the inclusion of small human elements.)
Image


Examples that could suit either Landscapes or Travel and Culture
In my original post of this image, I chose by title and text to call attention to the lighthouse and so posted the image in EHK (the former version of the Travel and Culture forum). Due to its placement in the composition, the lighthouse is noticeable. However, it is also a very minor element. If I had chosen a different title and not emphasized the building, the image would be suitable for Landscapes.
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I posted a series of prairie images taken at a location known to show dwindling evidence of both ancient native inhabitants and early European settlers. Calling attention to this meant locating the posts in EHK (at the time). If I had not mentioned it, the pile of rocks wouldn't signify a human element and I would have posted in Landscapes instead.
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I called attention to the sodium vapor lighting in this image title, and posted in the former EHK forum as a result. Otherwise an image of natural landscape taken by artificial light would be permitted in Landscapes.
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The tiny human form is barely possible to see in this panorama, and so it is suitable for Landscapes.
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Examples not within the Landscapes Guidelines, post in Travel and Culture instead
Based on its position, tonality, color and proportion, there is no way to see this as anything other than a photograph of the church within its countryside context. This image is suitable for Travel and Culture, not for Landscapes.
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Here the dirt road is understated but still a strong visual and compositional element. It creates the space between the trees and the clear viewpoint to the distant mountain. This image works for Travel and Culture.
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The canoe in this image is relatively small. But by its placement, color and importance to the composition, as well as my chosen image title, the canoe is definitely a primary subject element. As such it is a good composition for Travel and Culture.
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The three ice climbers are very small in the frame. But their location, activity and relative placement form a strong visual component of the image and the story behind it. This photograph is appropriate for Travel and Culture, not for Landscapes.
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Royce Howland
Visit my web site for photo galleries, my blog and photo tours & workshops

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by AndrewC on Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:14 am
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Good examples and I'm glad that NSN has finally acknowledged humankind's place in the natural world :)
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by Jim Jirka on Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:41 am
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Well for me I am not too happy about it. I believe hand of man, is hand of man. No ifs and and buts. But then again, I am just a ex NSN peon. It may be that you are looking for a jumpstart for the Landscape forum, which has really dropped off. But allowing this I think you will find that EH forum will drop off accordingly.
Thanks again for all your help and comments, it has been a nice ride.
Jim Jirka
 

by Royce Howland on Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:18 am
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Thanks for the input Jim. It's a valid point, and one we considered for a long time. This is why no quick change was made despite numerous suggestions to permit some EHK in landscape shots, dating back quite awhile.

We're not looking to jumpstart Landscapes, at least not with this change; there has always been a cyclical level of activity here. But we certainly are looking to streamline the forums and cut down on the interminable moderator work of policing the EHK issue. ;) And more importantly to recognize that a landscape shot is fundamentally still a landscape shot, whether it contains other inconsequential elements or not. The land does not cease to be the land due to a cosmetic subject element in the frame. People don't have to post what they don't want to post, or "like" what others post. In our final take, we felt the genre can stand some latitude without being compromised.

My own opinion on this was firmed up by reading some material by Niall Benvie, among others, and thinking about "wildness" vs. "wilderness". As well as traveling in the UK and Crete and realizing that hardly an inch of those lands have not been impacted by the hand of man over centuries of civilization. Yet much of the places still possess an innate character that is eminently suitable for what I call "landscape" photography. I personally had to conclude that absolute zero tolerance of human content in this forum was simply not a realistic stance (in terms of site guidelines, not anyone's personal approach)... either for the world as it really is or for the photographic form that portrays it.

We recognize not everybody will agree with this, but not everybody agreed with it before either under the zero tolerance guidelines. Hopefully it's not a deal-breaker for anybody. Every medium is full of things that are closer to one's heart, as well as things that are not. Participate in that which brings satisfaction and let the rest pass to others. :)

Regarding the EHK forum, that's a separate fish. Part of dealing with it will entail establishing a good identity for it, rather than just being the place to post all those shots that can't be posted elsewhere because of some minor human element in the frame.

While this decision was not made democratically :), it was carefully considered. And we are certainly open to people expressing their opinion about the move.
Royce Howland
Visit my web site for photo galleries, my blog and photo tours & workshops
 

by Joe Messina on Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:41 pm
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Royce...
Thanks for pointing me to the basic rules for landscape submissions...the image I have in mind is a landscape shot from a small plane of the tundra flats in Alaska...then'stylized' using color saturation. I call the series 'planescapes'. So I would define them as stylized landscapes. Is there a way I can send you a sample for our discussion?
joe messina
415-563-6577
jtmessina@tcrworld.com
 

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