Thomas Gainsborough’s Forest

After reading a nice article by Ming Thein about the technical and perceptual differences of various aspect ratio photos, I decided to put some ideas to the test. Nature photography offers many opportunities to try image sizes and orientations that are less common, but that work for certain subjects.

As I wandered the woods near the Tilden Nature Area and later in the pastures around Wildcat Canyon, I was thinking about cows grazing, birds chirping and the lush forest. It all reminded me of a Gainsborough oil painting I had seen once at a museum.

Cornard Wood by Thomas Gainsborough

Cornard Wood by Thomas Gainsborough
Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

I stitched together several panoramas and found that a couple of the compositions worked best at a ratio of 3:1, which is relatively easy to produce as an 8″x24″ print these days. It looks like Gainsborough had less choice for canvases back in his day.

My perspective is more modern and the scene is much less orchestrated than an 18th century painting.  The trees haven’t changed so much.

 Let me know what you think. There are a few more coming soon.


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