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Thoughts on Travel, Photography and Life from Ian Lloyd

Mountains in New Zealand

I was reminded of the difference between perception and reality recently while in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. The area around Queenstown in the South Island is truly magical with snow capped peaks reaching right down to lakes and ocean fjords. The air is crystal clear and the light is quite special. The trouble was that I was surrounded by fantastic views which can make a photographer feel a little overwhelmed. How to capture all this beauty in one shot? My first instinct was to put on a really wide angle lens or use panorama mode to include it all in one frame. But then when you review these images later all this majesty gets reduced down to a tiny image that somehow misses the reality of just how big all those peaks were. The solution is to selectively photograph mountains with a telephoto lens. I often use a 150-200mm lens and don't even try to include the whole vista. I select a small part of the scene that has some sense of scale included like trees, hills or sheep etc and frame that dramatically in front of large peaks. I also try to minimise or even eliminate the sky as it can often be unnecessary or distracting. Good composition in the end often boils down to eliminating and simplifying what is in your field of view. As the saying goes...less is more.

by Ian Lloyd