October 20, 2010 in Essay

Blur in landscape photography?

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Blur in landscape photography?

I am rethinking my landscape art and working on my style. This is more an intuitive process than a plan. But I am rethinking systematically. I am observing myself and asking questions.

When I take pictures of people I use blur most of the time. In landscape photography blur is something that I try to avoid.

Why do I try to avoid blur in a landscape photo when I use it creatively in people photography most of the time?

Paradigm: A landscape photo has to be sharp

I am not used to see landscape photos that are using blur for a creative effect. Most landscape photos tend to be sharp. Every book, workshop, online course or blog post teaches you how to take sharp landscape photos. If I would offer a lesson to shot blurred landscape photos my clients would be confused. Landscape photographers are taught and used to think sharp. No people photographer would calculate the hyperfocal distance while taking a wedding photo. Only landscape photographers are wasting time with maths.

Blur in landscape photography: Technical limitations

Wide Angle lenses are the first choice for landscapes and they are normally not made for blur. They are primary build for the customers demand of sharpness. You need a really good and expensive lens to create blur with the camera. Not many people could afford a 24mm 1.4 or a 24mm 3.5 T&S. Because of this technical limitations blur is not easy to produce while taking a picture. Most people have to retouch it later. So it is not easy to think blur while taking pictures.

Blur in landscape photography: Orientation

A sharp perception is human. It is a kind of reflex to orientate in nature. If somebody could not orientate he would probably get mad. There are some serious psychic illnesses that have disorientation as a theme. Place disorientation occurs when people lose a sense of where they are. That is why most people first tend to see everything and not a fraction of something. And a landscape is not a part of something it is more something out of many parts.

Is it possible to produce landscape photos with blur when you are not recognizing the whole landscape?

I would say: Yes, blur in landscape photography is an option:

  • You have to find something, that is representative for everything.
  • You need to suggest other parts in the blur.

I think there are some advantages in blur:

  • You can get rid of stimuli that disturb your vision.
  • You can stand out against the mainstream of all those sharp images.

And now I wanted to know: What do your think of blur in landscape photos?


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  3. October 22, 2010 at 00:09



    Unschärfe bei der Landschaftsfotografie kann reiz-/sinnvoll sein, muss aber nicht.
    Es kommt auf’s Motiv, auf den eigenen Stil, auf die Idee im Kopf an.
    Bin weniger der “Landscape”-Typ, werde aber beim nächsten Mal sicherlich den Begriff “Unschärfe” im Hinterkopf behalten.

    Schöne Beitrag!

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