A snapshot shows the world what your camera sees, but a thoughtfully composed photograph shows the world what you see. While composition can be complex, several basic strategies arise when making pictures of natural subjects. Here are five such techniques for powerful image-making. Photos and text by Ian Plant
2. Find a good foreground.
Los Cuernos, Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile: A 24–70mm f/2.8 Di VC Tamron SP lens was used with a polarizing filter to intensify the colors, and a 3-stop ND filter for a cloud-blurring exposure: 30 seconds at f/11, ISO 100.
Foregrounds add depth, and the best add punch, too. Providing a point of reference, they can simplify chaotic scenes. At this placid pool of water during a fiery sunrise, I backed up to incorporate the curving shoreline. Its shape frames the reflection of the mountains, enhancing the composition and adding depth to the image.