Getting Prepared For Landscape Photography
I just love landscape photography, in fact one of the reasons why I delved into photography in the first place was to capture beautiful landscapes and nature scenes. Seeing the mountains or the ocean bathed in natural light triggers something in me to capture the moment and bring a piece of that scenery home with me.
A lot of factors go into a landscape photograph. The sun, the clouds, the trees, the flowers, and even the wind are some of the crucial ingredients that make an inviting image. As photographers, it is up to us to come up with what is presented to us and transform it into a piece of art.
Landscape photography may seem easy, but it’s not that simple. Like the other categories of photography, landscape has some pointers that we need to take into consideration. Let’s put into mind some of those pointers and fortify them even more with our own creativity and imagination.
For starters, let us talk about the best time to shoot landscape photos. There is what we call the “Golden time” in photographing landscapes, so if we want to take the best images, then waking up early for the sunrise or waiting for the sunset are two of the best options that we have. The lines that the light create, give a dramatic look that creates further interest in our pictures.
We can benefit from the soft light that highlights our subjects even better compared to the midday sun, and this is the time where the clouds exhibit the best colors instead of just being plain white or grey. We can use the day time to scout and explore the area and get the feel of the nature at large. We can find better views this way and have an excuse to just walk around, enjoy the place, and have a sandwich. Night time also offers different potential. Man-made structures that have their own light sources like houses, buildings, light houses, and bridges are better photographed at night so be ready to use longer shutter speeds.
And where longer shutter speeds are concerned, tripods are almost always going to be used. Having a very sturdy tripod is just as important as the lens and the body. There are lots of sturdy aluminum tripods out there but they tend to be heavier. Choosing the carbon fiber tripods can make your life easier because of the lessened weight but be prepared to shell out more money.
To further prevent camera shake, you can use the time release or buy a remote cable. Wide angle lenses are often preferred by landscape enthusiasts for very good reasons, but using a telephoto lens can also be an option. Polarizing filters is also a part of the staple diet for landscape photography because it darkens the blues of the sky resulting in richer hues, so experiment, mix and match the lenses and the filters, and do as your heart desires.
Now that we have covered the equipment let us now move on to the techniques. For landscapes, our depth of field must be maximized so we must set our aperture to the largest number. This will make sure that most of the parts of the image will be in focus. With this in mind, we will compensate with longer shutter speeds and higher ISOs.
Now let’s talk about the focal point. The focal point is the center of attention in our pictures. Having one is vital because it makes sure that the viewer’s eye doesn’t lose attention from the overall picture. You can use different things as focal points such us a rock formation, a building, or even just a tree.
The weather is also one of the factors that we need to consider. I personally like cloudy weather because the sky acts like a giant soft box. The softened light adds more drama to the images and balances the different reflections from other objects. Strong winds produce movement to the plants which are also interesting. What we need to grasp is that sometimes the weather may not do what we would expect it to, but we can use it to our advantage to create really beautiful images.
The Foreground, the background, the sky, and lines are all present to in our view line, so what do we do? We must balance them all out in our image and we can do this by choosing an interesting focal point in the foreground, incorporating the lines, placing them on a nice background, while letting the sky occupy one third of the picture. Perfect if the sky contains plain clouds and the natural hue of blue, but when the sky is brimming with different colors of red, orange, pink, and sometimes gold, you can let the sky occupy most of your picture. Now these are just suggestions, but you can look for these things when you are out there taking pictures, as even though there are rules in photography, they are meant to be broken:)
Now that I have given you some useful tips and tricks for landscape photography, I’ll leave you with one final piece of advice. Always plan ahead. Check the weather to make sure what you would expect on certain days and scout around the place beforehand so you already know the best vantage points. So now just get your equipment ready, and set your alarm for 4am in the morning. We don’t want to miss the sunrise, do we?