The Simple and Beautiful Mt. Hood

Photo Tip: Simple Is Beautiful

In Landscape, Photo Tip by Brian Matiash48 Comments

I’ll be the first to admit that I fall into the common trap of overcomplicating my composition when a simple one would be just as effective, if not more so. It’s an easy thing to do and you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it. We’re so driven to create unique compositions that it can cloud the intent of conveying the beauty in front of you.

On a recent trip to Trillium Lake, I spent most of my time thinking about how to not reinvent the wheel that I burnt off most of my time with great light. Fortunately, I came to my senses just when things were getting really good and opted to simplify. I put on my Zeiss Loxia 50mm prime lens and framed up Mt. Hood and part of its reflection in Trillium Lake. It’s a classic photo and you know what? It’s one of my favorites from the shoot because of how simple and elegant the composition is.

So next time you’re out on a shoot, keep in mind that you don’t have to overcomplicate things to execute on your vision. Identify what about the scene is most important to you and shoot.


  1. I like the way Mother Nature staged (composed) the clouds behind the mountain. She might have added a bit of sunset rouge to the clouds.

  2. I did the same thing at Grand Canyon a few weeks ago. Went for the classic shot. Ended up with a photo that I was very happy with. Ended up as a new addition to my portfolio. I might even print it out for my home.

  3. Lovely picture and even better post. I am the poster boy for trying to do too much in a scene, especially when I am in a location I don’t get to very often. The results are clutter and cropping since I have to zoom out to get everything on Planet earth in the shot. I have gotten better lately but I still slip occasionally. Really beautiful shot by the way.

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