Objective: To take a sequence of photographs of a landscape with the horizon in different positions to evaluate them and decide how many of them work.
I climbed Wheatham Hill, overlooking Oakshott and Hawkley and recorded the following five images. Unfortunately the foreground was in the shadow of the hill so the contrast changes dramatically as the sky occupies less of the frame. Camera set on programme mode, wide angle zoom. Click on any image to see a larger version. Click the back button on your browser to return to this page.
Image 4169: 1/320s f9 18mm
This low position gives prominence to the sky but cuts off the detail at the bottom of the frame. I need to know what is below the trees.
This puts the horizon just below half way and reveals the details amongst the trees and the slope below the camera position. This appeared to be the natural "eye level" from this position.
Image 4171: 1/160s f6.3 18mm
At the vertical mid point the composition is static, revealing more detail at the bottom of the frame and more of the path down the slope.
Image 4172: 1/160s f6.3 18mm
With a lot more of the foreground included, different textures from the frosted leaves are revealed. I think this is as much of the foreground as I would like to include.
There is too much foreground here. The dynamic has shifted and my eye is drawn to the middle gound and without the sky the landscape lacks depth.
My preference is for image 4170. It has all of the detail, the sky graduated at the horizon gives depth to the picture and the deep blue at the top of the frame seems to balance the foreground.
What did I learn?
The position of the horizon is important and is one more element which can effect the balance of the image. Placing it low can give an image stability. If there is a lot of detail or contrasting colour in the sky this can be effective. Placing it high will enable you to include more detail in the foreground but the camera position (i.e. high or low) governs how effective this will be. In this example, the ground falls away immediately below the camera position enabling a lot of the foreground to be included.