A short post on one of my favorite places to go when I sense a nice sunset coming up. The River of the West is of course the Columbia River. The North American continent has some big rivers, most draining the older eastern part of the continent. But there are a few big ones in the west too. The Columbia is one of these (The Yukon and McKenzie are two others). The big river originates high in the Canadian Rockies and empties into the Pacific at the charming little town of Astoria, Oregon. Lewis and Clark, the pair of explorers that Thomas Jefferson sent out west in 1804 to map a route to the Pacific Ocean from America, passed this spot. Who knows, they might have stepped ashore here, stepping from their canoes to stretch their legs.
This spot is just 20 minutes or so from my house. The river is wide here, and is influenced by tides despite being many miles from the ocean. I scrambled down these rocks, nearly falling because of their slickness. A rainshower had just passed, giving the moss, rocks and sky a fresh look that I think really adds to the photo.
I am posting both the vertical and horizontal versions. I will often shoot both formats. Sometimes one of them just jumps right out as the superior take. But often I’m left wondering which one has more impact. This might be the case here.
When there are many vertical elements in your composition, such as trees or tall buildings, a vertical composition is most often the best choice (not always though). When you have an expansive composition, perhaps taken with a wide-angle lens, a horizontal composition often works better. If there are layers in the scene, such as that provided by flat clouds or contrasting levels of ground, trees, mountains, etc., a horizontal composition is definitely worth it. But do not think just because you have horizontal layers that a vertical composition will not work equally as well.
What I’d like to know is which one you prefer, the horizontal image above or the vertical one below. Feel free also to post a pair of images on your own blog, same scene but one horizontal and one vertical. Then post a link in your reply here so people can take a look and give their opinion on which format they prefer. I suppose it would be a theme/challenge. Thanks very much for looking!