Photographing Alternate Landscapes In China | Part Two

A colorful view, over a pagoda rooftop, down onto a tranquil pool fed by a small waterfall near Huangshan, China.

I'd like to explore further the notion of the alternate landscape with the above image which aims to integrate the man-made into the natural world. This location, near the Huangshan (i.e., Yellow Mountain) region in Eastern China is famous for appearing in a scene in the spectacular Chinese film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

Composition Underpins This Photograph

I was really interested in the color and strong lines of the pagoda rooftop just below me and how they both lead the eye and create a great color contrast with the water below. The tubular red tiles on the top of the pagoda also serve to introduce some great shapes and a sense of repetition and order into the, otherwise, ever changing scene below.

Exploring Duality In Photography

The notion of this static, seemingly immovable man-made structure is interesting as it introduces a duality against the changes that weather, time of day and the seasons will introduce into the landscape below.  

I like the way the movement of the cascading water contrasts with the static nature of the rocks and rooftop of the pagoda. I feel that it's this movement, more so than the color contrast within the scene, that brings a sense of life and renewal to the image.

Similarities and Differences

It's amazing how many different approaches we can take to landscape photography. That's why I can take a group of photographers to the same location confident that they'll each produce interesting images that can be radically different from their peers.

And what a buzz it is, during feedback sessions, to see these different approaches and for participants to learn from each others individual approaches to the same location and subject matter.

Building Your Own, Unique Photographic Style

Next time you're out and about in the landscape make a point of looking for alternate subject matter, angles and approaches to making interesting images. It might help to undertake a project or a series of photo walks in the urban landscape. Look at your best images from those particular photography adventures and recognize what you've done to make them visually appealing.

Before you know it you'll be incorporating those very same elements into your own photography in the natural landscape and, in doing so, beginning to build your very own photographic style.