Creating a Photographic Story

copyright Karen Ulvestad

A photograph is the reflection of the photographer at the time the image is created. It reflects our mood, vision, and emotional state. The way the light is captured in the image, then post processed reveals the story hidden in the photograph. It is a visual communication between the photographer and their audience.

The image above was take this spring during the afternoon (during a short day escape during the Pandemic). The weather report called for rain, yet it hadn’t rained yet. The clouds were amazing and dynamic. The hillside viewpoint allowed me to include the Columbia River, Vantage, I-90, and the dynamic clouds. I brought more contrast into the post processing. I like how it look a ominous.

In the next image, I took a different approach. . .

copyright Karen Ulvestad

What attracted my attention in this image is the dynamic clouds, the lines of the hillside, and the wild horse monument. I return to this place at least once a year to experience the high desert changes. I love the changing sky. Often this area is a treasure trove of opportunities to explore line, shape, textures, and other compositional elements. It usually isn’t over-run with people, and the hike to the top is relatively easy.

The biggest piece in creating a photographic story is the photographer’s vision or ability to compose in the field. It is the culmination of an idea, and the cooperation of the weather/other elements in the environment. The subject or important element needs to fill the frame. The following photograph focuses on the amazing cloud formations.

copyright Karen Ulvestad

The clouds are far more interesting than the landscape, yet what sits on the horizon? This is looking west towards the Cascade Mountains, and the clouds have created a dark blue-gray background for the turbines in the distance. A small airplane sits in the sky against the background of the massive clouds. Both the turbines and airplane give some perspective on the size of these cloud formations.

Exposure for these images is important and contributes to the story. All three are shot with at F16 or F22. This is a large depth of field, and gives the viewer a visual reference to the fore-ground, mid-ground, and background. A larger depth of field gives an expansive feeling to the photographs, and contributes to the 3D feeling in the images. A shallower depth of field would give less visual information to the viewer, and feel more 2 dimensional.

Through all these social challenges we face today, may everyone stay well and continue to photograph the world around us.


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