For me, there are three fundamental aspects to Landscape Photography outside the Exposure Triangle. One of them is Contrast, and the other two are Content and Composition. In other words, the three big C. This post is about Content.
Content is paramount. Without content, Contrast and Composition are worthless. Content is what interests the viewer and sets apart the good landscape shot from average.
Content doesn’t have to scream in your face, but it has to obvious enough not to go completely unnoticed. Just imagine how much more the above image would be with a car on the road. But content can also be the absence of such a main focal point. That road is usually quite empty, except for the odd car and the regular bus connection that goes every two hours. In this case, emptiness is the content. But is has to be well played to be received as such.
Content can also be the odd one out, like this one tree at the lake that’s separated from the forest by a field and yet does not look displaced. Or a lone birch tree in a forrest of spruce trees. The odd one out is a powerful subject if used correctly. If not, it can get messy quite fast.
Ever since I remember doing photography, content has drawn my eye and led me to shoot things that others may not. Or at least not always. The Cap de Formentor Lighthouse on Majorca is a prime example. There are many images of it online, but not many from where this one was taken. And I didn’t even press the shutter strictly because of the lighthouse, but more for the path leading toward it. Leading lines aren’t stricly Content though, so I will come back to them in a different post.
Cars are easy content to have, and most of the times you don’t even have to be that patient to get one that you like and that fits the mood you are going for in front of your lens. And since I’m usually not doing car photography, I actually like cars blurred in my images to show the motion and sense of urgency they convey.
Overall, it is pretty much important that your content is clearly identifiable. Not necessarily like the British Flag on this shot of a MGBs’ side panel, but still easily enough not distract the viewer from your message. Content is storey, and storey is content. And both are important to tell the viewer what you want to tell them with your photography.