(Photograph by Cotton Coulson)
National Geographic – Even in the middle of the day, you can take compelling photos when the right photographic elements come together. Here, in Svalbard, Norway, the wind sometimes dies down and the fjords become like a mirror reflection of the sky. Normally I like to shoot during the early and late hours, when the sun is lower on the horizon and the light is warmer. Here, however, the scene also works with bright overhead sunshine, especially when the clouds and their reflection in the water add contrast and fill out the frame.
Keep your horizon straight and composition balanced. Pay special attention to composition and horizontal alignment: New cameras have built-in viewfinder grid displays that assist in making sure your horizons stay straight. In this image, I didn’t use any filters to enhance the contrast and color of the sky against the white, wispy clouds. I made a special effort, however, to balance the amount of space in the composition between the sky and the calm water. The small section of ice floating in the water adds an extra dimension and layer to the composition. Always look for subjects and objects to add to the foreground. —Cotton Coulson