Creating depth in a scene is essential to mastering landscape photography. Here Mark Comon uses his annual trip to Monument Valley as an example of choosing the perfect location, creating depth with light and perspective, and ultimately coming away with great photos every year. 

Monument Valley

Creating Depth in Landscape Photography
Mark Comon

We have all seen great landscape photos…. Which is your favorite famous scenic photo? Ansel Adams’ Half Dome, Merced River, Winter comes to mind. That photo and most of your favorites will have one common bond, the creation of depth in the photo to draw the viewer into the scene.  A photograph is two dimensional and we have to build the illusion of the third dimension with the use of light, lens and aperture.

Monument Valley

In a stunning location like Monument Valley, many people think it’s simple to create stunning photos.  Use of light to create a deeper picture is paramount.  Using the shadows on the dunes and sunlight on the Totem is a classic technique.

From Hunt’s Mesa it’s imperative to build a foreground and background.  From a great distance a telephoto lens is used to stack the elements into an effective composition.

Monument Valley

The Ear of the Wind is an impressive feature, but when the rider and sheep are included the photo can become quite special.  Controlling the amount of focus (depth of field) by choosing a moderate aperture gives you  the three dimensional effect you're looking for.

**Mark and the Creative Photo Academy will be headed back to Monument Valley this October. You can read more about that trip by clicking here