On our way to the town of McGregor via Worcester, we went through the Du Toit mountain range. You must admit the Cape mountains are so spectacular. And going through the DuToit Pass is very inspiring for any artist. For here the mountains are very close up and majestic, almost over powering in their height above and around you.
To take photographs of mountains it’s best to be close up to them. Because if they are further away the camera is inclined to reduce their height making them look flattened small and insignificant. Zooming-in doesn’t always give you the full magnitude of their enormous majestic glory either. It calls for quick assessment of the situation. What do you need from the scene and how would you compose it as a painting later?
The art of taking photographs from a fast moving car:
You can’t stop the car to take photos on busy roads and highways. It’s too dangerous. And to take a photo in a fast moving car is quite a feat. So as a passenger photographer, it’s all about timing.
From the interval between when you press the shutter button and when the digital camera actually snaps the shot, you’re likely to land up having a bizarre image of a telephone pole, trees or a high bank where the road has sliced through a knoll or hillside.
This means you have to look ahead and gauge an opening between hills and trees, and then press the shutter button slightly before you expect the next opening …only to get a tall fence or signpost in the way of your precious sort-after shot!
And of cause taking shots from a fast moving car you are likely to get blurred foliage in the foreground. That is blurred weeds, grass or even vineyard fields in the case of the Cape, beside the road.
And another thing, if you are pointing the camera forward through the windscreen, most of the time you’ll get tarred roads, tall trucks and cars ahead of you. And if you are quick you may land up with the car licence sticker covering the scene you want so badly! So what can you do? Delete the offending digital image and wait for the next opportunity. And just make do with whatever you can get I suppose and worry about it later. That is how you would convert the image into something worthwhile later.
Photo and oil painting demo:
This is what happened with this photo. I landed up with an uninteresting tarred highway, cars and a signpost dead centre. To make the scene more dynamic one has to resorts to ‘artists’ licence’ and some inspiring imagination.
So let’s pretend:
How would it have been years ago before tar and signposts infested roads? And perhaps surmise the possibly of a river down in the valley below? I choose to put in a stream and not a quaint tranquil dust road. Streams I feel are a little more appealing than dirt roads. If I had put both in the scene, on the small 21×15.5cm canvas, it would have been over crowded. Giving the stream dramatic linear perspective gives the scene depth. I also simplified the scene and made it look more plausible under those conditions.
How would you have used this photo and how would you have painted this scene?
If you haven’t seen previous blog posts and want to see more demos:
- Old Willow stump
- Klipriver Nature Reserve
- Photo and painting demo of Dutch styled house in McGregor
- Heron Nature Trail
- And an introduction to these factual paintings, on page “Photo Demos“