The Art of Looking

Last month I more or less left my comfort zone of regular landscape photography. I decided to follow the course “The Art of Looking” to train myself into observing the details of landscapes. As the season is between winter and spring it is more difficult to find interesting compositions, so optimal conditions to train the eye! J

The practical sessions were in Deelerwoud and during the first session the first assignment was to optimize a composition of 3 (parts of) trees without disturbing elements. I decided to introduce the element of space, which was pretty hard to find in the forest J. So with an empty 35 mm slide, which I always have in my pocket now, I was searching for such a spot. I finally managed to find it and optimize it with the 50mm prime objective. I think I succeeded in my assignment.


One other assignment was to find a mini (abstract) landscape and for this I used my macro 105mm. It took some time and hard work to optimize the composition, but wow… exactly what I had in my mind. I did not do any macro for a long time, but this triggered me again to do it more often. More importantly, it triggered me to try more (nature) abstract photography, which is absolutely out of my comfort zone. But this is good training to really learn how to find details and definitively helps me to improve my landscape photography.

Abstract Deelerwoud_SG_2

Between the practical sessions we also had some homework in which we had to photograph commons things in a creative way. Triggered by my macro results I decided again to try my luck with abstract photography. So do you know what the following is?

Dingen in huis_SG_1

Dingen in huis_SG_2

In the second practical session we again needed to optimize the composition of a landscape without disturbing the elements, but with the extra dimension of reflections. Of course you can go for the reflection of a tree, but I decided to go for a mini landscape. This was already more difficult than expected as the reflection was at its best if there was a cloud as well to get a white background because only then the details under water would disappear. To get all the elements in focus I also used the focus stack technique for the first time, which we had learned during a theoretical session.

Vennetje focusstack

During this session I also learned more about multiple exposures and finally was able to use a long exposure to create an abstract-like picture of a tree. The difficulty here is not the technique itself, but finding the right tree. Finally I practiced focus stacking once more with more (nature) abstract photography, which I absolutely fell in love with.

DSC_1636Macro focusstack_2Macro focusstack_1

So all in all, I realized that I am on the right track with being more critical by taking more time to optimize the composition. I am also triggered to look more at the details of a landscape to get more out of it. But to my surprise I absolutely fell in love with nature abstract (macro) photography. I am now really looking forward to practice it even more to be optimally prepared for my Iceland photography trip! J

4 thoughts on “The Art of Looking

  1. These are really interesting photos. And I’m still puzzled by what we’re seeing in the ‘vertical lines’ macro shot! I really like the macro shots from the assignment, they are beautiful.


    1. Thank you for your kind comments Jon. What you see in the picture with the vertical (black and white) lines, is the heater in the bathroom. The round things are fixed to the heater to put the towels on.


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