My guess is that for most people, the term "landscapes" evokes a certain mental image.
Maybe a waterfall cascading over a cliffside...
Or perhaps a mountain scene at sunset.
I tend to think of the beach, simply because that's a landscape I see quite a lot.
Something that I'm betting most of us don't think about when we think of landscapes is other people or things people have created, like buildings.
Yet, mixing people with landscapes can lead to beautifully composed photos that have more depth and meaning than a "traditional" landscape.
In the image above, the waterfall and the interesting texture of the rocks that flank it are gorgeous and visually interesting.
But the addition of the man into the shot humanizes the scene and gives it that much more visual interest in which to engage our eyes and our attention.
Let's look at a few other examples of how people and natural wonders can come together to create a beautiful photo.
When presented with a scene like the one above, just about any photographer would be tempted to photograph it as it is, with the waterfall on full display on its own.
However, by adding the human element, a photograph with more meaning has been created.
The man's triumphant pose gives this landscape shot a completely different feel - one not just of awe at the stunning landscape, but also one that feels full of joy.
Though landscapes can have emotion without a human presence, it's hard to deny the sheer power of emotionality that a human form adds to a landscape.
A human element can also elevate the interest of a landscape shot that might otherwise not be all that interesting.
Look at the image above, and try to imagine it without the inclusion of the man and his camels. The photo would be completely different, right?
The landscape itself is barren - lonesome even - with little in the way of color variation to keep the eye interested.
But with the man and his camels placed in the foreground, the shot immediately has a more compelling story to tell.
Now the image isn't relying just on the texture of the rocks in the foreground or the shape of the mountains in the background to retain the viewer's interest. Instead, with the human factor incorporated into the scene, the photographer can tell a complete story about this place and the people that call it home.
On the other hand, the human element doesn't necessarily have to be a person that is placed prominently in the shot.
As seen in the image above, the buildings of Venice add all sorts of lines, textures, and structure to a shot that enhances its feel.
Here, the vibrant colors of the buildings and their lights work together with the saturated colors of the sunset to delight the eye.
What's more, the presence of the gondola and its riders in the foreground gives the viewer yet another layer of interest to hold their attention.
This is a prime example of how a normal, everyday, urban scene can be paired so nicely with a landscape element like a sunset.
Adding a person into a landscape scene also helps give context to the surroundings.
I think you'll agree that the waterfall in the image above is breathtaking. However, sometimes it's difficult to judge the scale of a landscape when there isn't anything familiar in the shot to help you understand its size.
In this case, adding a person into the shot gives us that familiar object by which we can judge the size of the waterfall and the cave. That, in turn, makes the landscape elements all the more impressive as we get a better understanding of just how large they actually are.
The image above was one of our Inspirational Photos of the Day, and like the images that precede it in this article, it shows how the addition of a human element takes the photograph to an entirely other level.
Even without the hot air balloons, the image is beautifully layered which gives it plenty of dimension.
But the balloons add even more layering and texture to the shot that helps define the space. What's more, the balloons break up what would otherwise be a very dark, silhouetted area of the photo.
Furthermore, the hot air balloons give the image a bit of whimsy and a sense of adventure that's really only possible when you incorporate humans or human activity into the scene.
Sometimes, photographing the mark that humans have had on the landscape is the best way to express what the scene is like.
In the image above, the ruins of the ancient city tell a much more compelling story about life in this region of the world than a more traditional landscape image would have been able to tell.
The size and expanse of the space makes one ponder how long it took for this city to be built as well as how long it's managed to stay standing after such a long time. In that regard, adding these human elements gives the photo much greater meaning while also reminding us that we are but a small part of life on this planet.
This image is a prime example of how people, their creations, and landscapes come together for the betterment of the shot.
The landscape itself is beautiful in its own right, with gorgeous rolling hills and vibrant colors to delight the eye.
But with the city framed in the middle of the shot, we understand how it interacts with the surrounding environment. And with the tower of the city appearing to rise up and almost touch the low-lying clouds, we get a better sense of the height of the mountain upon which the city was built and develop a better appreciation for just how difficult it must have been to construct the city in the first place.
When framing up a landscape shot that includes a person, placement of the person isn't as important as one might think.
In this instance, breaking the rule of thirds and placing the subject in the middle of the frame works beautifully - you still get a full view of the mountains in the background as well as the beautiful colors and textures of the foreground.
Better still, the position of the man atop the boulder and the low s hooting angle make him seem much larger and formidable - a worthy adversary to a landscape that is so obviously harsh.
If you're a landscape photography enthusiast, take some inspiration from the photos above, and next time you're out shooting, see what you can do to incorporate people or manmade features into your shots.
If you really want to step up your photography game while seeing some of the incredible sights in the images above, consider taking a trip with Discovery Photo Tours.
As their name suggests, Discovery Photo Tours is all about helping you discover the beauty of the world while working on developing more complete photography skills and know-how.
Discovery Photo Tours offers trips to many destinations, from Iceland to Jordan and Italy to Norway so that you can see some of the most breathtaking landscapes on earth and hone your skills under the tutelage of master photographers.
That's right - Discovery Photo Tours isn't just about traveling to far-flung destinations - it's about learning how to document those travels more effectively as you go from one location to the next with professional photographers to teach you and offer feedback along the way.
That sounds like a great getaway to me!