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This past weekend I got a chance to photograph some of my favorite landscapes, the Pine Savanna Flatwoods. The Flatwood ecosystems are found in the southeastern United States, stretching from Texas to Florida. Slash and Longleaf pine in the tree canopy and Saw Palmetto and other herb species in the understory are some of the species that make up these unique habitats. Fire is the most important element which maintains these spacious forests, preventing other woody plants from taking hold amongst the pines.
For a landscape photographer from the south eastern United States where mountains and canyons are far and few between, trees are the friends that can help you add depth and dynamics to your photographs. The Pine Savannas are a perfect example of this, providing open and spacious understorys allowing for uncluttered and symmetrical compositions. The palmettos, wildflowers, and bogs, that litter these ecosystems make great focal points to anchor in your landscape compositions, and here in Louisiana, the fact that you can traverse these areas on foot, as opposed to exploring by boat, can be a refreshing change of pace.
I’ve been working a lot lately with incorporating flare into images. Mastering this technique can be more difficult then it seems. Circular Polarizer (CPL) filters along with stopping down your camera’s aperture can help to give you pleasing flare effects. As always, no matter how long you’ve been photographing, the basics are key. If you have any dust or fingerprints on your filter or lens element, it is important to clean them off ahead of time, because when that perfect moment strikes, you wont always have the presence of mind to handle those basics in the field. For me, the flare in the image below could have benefited from a cleaned filter, preventing some of the extra glare that can be seen from particles on the filter reflecting extra light. Hmmm… as they say, hindsight is always 20/20…