I take on a challenge: can I improve my photography in just three easy lessons? For my second test, I take the Renault Duster into the Hatta mountains to consider Landscape.[Not a valid template]
This is the Dacia Duster.
Actually no, sorry, this is the Renault Duster. Though produced by the Romanian manufacturer since 2010, the SUV is marketed as a Renault in select markets to keep the sales up. It has a steady 135hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. It has a four-speed automatic gearbox, leather seats, good cabin space, a big boot, satin chrome detailing on the door mirrors and the roofrails, and a strange serrated piece of metal that you slide into the steering column and turn to start the engine.
The Duster may not be traditional crankandpiston fodder (our 4×2 test model doesn’t even have four-wheel drive). It is, however, the perfect model for the second installment for our Photo 101 series, in which I have been challenged to improve my photography skills in just three short lessons. Having studied Subject with the help of the Volkswagen Passat Sport in part one, I’m now in Hatta to take on Landscape with the Renault Duster.
The objective here, unlike the Subject feature, is to find a balance between the landscape and the subject. Surrounded as we are by a mountain range, shooting a snappy image is pretty straightforward, Mother Nature having done most of the hardwork for us. But it’s not quite as simple as that. What we – that’s myself and crankandpiston lensman Arun, who will once again be taking his own shots for comparison – are looking for is to highlight the beauty of the backdrop yet simultaneously emphasise the Duster’s SUV character: a navy blue out of focus dot with a blurry Renault badge doesn’t get the job done. Ideally, we’re looking for a 50/50 split between landscape and subject to appear in our final images.
I’ve decided to go all out today, and have swapped the 24/70 lens I used for Subject – which provides photographic range from close to mid distance – in favour of the much larger 70/200, which takes over where the 24/70 leaves off. It’s also been decided that unlike last time I will be limited to just ten images, which means I have to be sure I have the shot before pressing the trigger. Once again, since we’re focusing on the basic skills involved with photography, the photos you see here have received only the bare minimum of editing.
The navy blue of our Duster proves a big help. Unlike the low key silver Passat – whose contours disappear thanks to its highly reflective surface – the bodylines of the Duster are much starker against the red/brown rocks thanks to dark ‘high key’ paint. This means I don’t have to worry about losing my subject when I zoom out to capture the landscape: my depth of field is consequently much wider.