Looking For A Frame?

January 1st 2024

Landscape photography…what do we like to use as elements in our landscape images? Of course there will be a foreground, a mid ground and a background. Our subject will most likely be in our background with multiple elements from the foreground and mid ground to complement the subject. These elements could also be used as leading lines into your composition.

For many years, I have been obsessed with framed compositions. I have been very attentive about elements that could potentially frame my main subject. It’s like looking through a window and being your main subject. I love the fact that these natural frames also serve a purpose adding depth to any composition.

This article is all about inspiring you to look for these framed compositions. They require a bit of practice…you will need to focus on all those small objects or details that could make great frames. Here are a few examples:


Well this one is obvious…using Mesa Arch isn’t new to anyone and has been done a couple million times. But it will be a great example to start with. That morning at Mesa Arch was very special though. The clouds and the light were very pretty but all of a sudden some interesting colours popped out, fog drifted into the canyon right in front of my eyes. I could hear most people complaining about the scene disappearing in front of their eyes…for me, there was no disappointment at all! I was a happy camper!

Fired Up
Yes...it's an extremely photographed location but for a good reason! It is truly gorgeous! And even though we can see millions of images of Mesa Arch, you can still manage to find different compositions.


We can use rocks to frame a scene…we can also use ice! Back in December 2022, I visited the Canadian Rockies after a severe cold snap. Bow River was seriously frozen and the water level went down leaving no support for most of that thick ice. So most of the ice collapsed except for these big chunks which were solidly attached to boulders. Now since safety is always an important factor when I capture images, I made sure those ice chunks were safe before I went underneath them. I stepped on them to confirm that they were solid! Then I settled my camera underneath and captured all required frames for focus stacking. The final image is something very unique!

Icy Lockup
It is always worth it to look for different perspectives. Not only the proud factor will be sky high, you will also capture something quite unique that nobody has ever seen!


I was shooting a sunrise on a rocky beach in the Kananaskis and one of the main features of that particular beach is the abundance of tree trunks everywhere. Not only do they offer great texture, if you can find two trunks next to each other, you can create an interesting frame. I loved these two tree trunks because they were kind of on top of each other and the V shaped opening was creating a window to another tree trunk and the whole scene! These kinds of compositions won’t pop out in front of you…you will need to pay more attention to find them! It takes a lot of practice to get them right and you will fail a couple of times… Try to set up your tripod at different distances, use different focal lengths, try different perspectives…

The Kraken
Creating a frame with dead tree trunks...I was truly drawn into that scene because two dead tree trunks are framing another dead tree trunk!


You can definitely satisfy yourself when capturing a mountain and its reflection…and there is nothing wrong with that! I like to do more! I like different elements, different perspectives… Fall season offers quite a show when it comes to colours! You should try to do just what I did here and try to frame your subject with some tree leaves! Not only they will create a great frame, they will also add a splash of repetitive colour in your foreground and a lot of depth!

Creating a frame with tree leaves kind of puts us into the scene...and adds such a great depth!


The Canadian Rockies are truly amazing! So many gorgeous places to photograph and I have to give credit to my good friend Gina for showing me that location… During winter fall season, the water level of most lakes will come down unveiling some beautiful treasures on most beaches. This was one of them! Just an old dead tree lying down with some icicle buildups. I had to setup my camera much lower than my tripod would allow me so I used a spare jacket and shimmed the camera/lens with snack bars to fine-tune my composition. The final result truly is amazing! It looks like I was inside an icy prison! The amount of focus stacking required here was something else! I probably took more than I actually needed but I wanted to make sure I had everything to successfully focus stack.

Ice Dungeon
Icicles forming underneath a dead tree created some sort of an ice prison. Since the tree was lying down on the ground, it was required to setup the camera as low as possible to the ground. Truly worth it and unique!


Another beautiful morning at Wedge Pond in Kananaskis Country. Have I always avoided that location because it is too easy? Maybe that’s the reason why…not enough effort required and very crowded at peak times during the day. But that morning was meant for us to spend some time there. Sunrise was so lovely! There was a gentle layer of fog roaming above the water surface. It was truly magical! But then again, why do simple when I can find something more creative? I went a little farther from the water and started looking for two beautiful aspen trees which could be used to frame my whole scene. I came across these two and I loved them! I think they both add a great sense of depth to the composition and their texture was to die for!

Enchanted Morning
The regular mountain and its reflection is always going to be a cool image...but what if we added trees on both sides to create a frame? Even better!


During my trip to New York and Pennsylvania, I was also paying a lot of attention to framed compositions. Was trying to find great ways to compose each waterfall Gina and I visited. I didn’t find much for most of those waterfalls…but I did for this one which I wouldn’t be able to give the name. What a cool framing right? And how come a tree can grow like this?

Nature always surprises me...how in the world can a tree have such a cool root system? And what if we could frame something within that lovely frame?


In conclusion, I am far from saying that everything should be composed into a frame… I think this is another great tool to have in your tool box! Framed compositions are fun, unique and they always offer a great challenge when it comes time to settle your camera system. But in the end, my passion wouldn’t be that fun if I didn’t have any challenges at all! It’s always great to step out of our comfort zone and try to create something new and creative! You might fail sometimes…but you will be proud on the occasions you will succeed!

If you want more composition tips, you are welcome to see the previous Blog Articles I posted. You can read FINDING IMPACTFUL FOREGROUNDS, FINDING GREAT LEADING LINES or MINIMALIST AND INTIMATE PHOTOGRAPHY all available on my Blog and potentially learn more about how I compose my images! Enjoy the read!

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