I often break apart the elements that I see in the landscape, I mentally substitute each for another object; doing so helps me see. For instance, frequently I view clouds as cotton, a large expanse of green, such as a field, as the sea, trees and leaves as heads in a crowd, autumn colors as crayons, water as glass unless it is wavy and if it’s wavy, what juts out as hair and so forth. I also notice the wind i.e., movement of the elements; often I accept movement as a crucial element. The same applies to rain, mist or fog. The substitutions change based on what comes to mind, this is not scientific; each landscape begins with a reboot of my imagination and the ideas are always different. Viewing each element independently allows me to consider a dynamic perspective towards each, as opposed to choosing a perspective of the entire collection of landscape elements. Every so often I will be drawn to one element over another.
Dividing up the landscape helps me choose my primary subject, its placement in relation to all of the other elements and what to exclude or accentuate. I do not accept the landscape as it presents itself upon first sight. By mentally cataloging landscape elements, I can decide how I feel about them individually and where each should go; I creatively consider element relationships with one another and this helps me previsualize my ultimate photograph.