It’s time to talk about landscapes. Have you ever been at a stunning location and taken your shots only to discover that your pics really don’t do the location any justice? It can be disappointing when your images don’t reflect the amazing colours, scale and beauty of what you see what your own eyes.
In this episode, Gina and Valerie discuss what you need to know to shoot amazing landscapes.
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Everything you need to know to shoot amazing landscapes
- Shooting landscapes is one of the easiest and hardest of photography genres
- The easy bit is you only need to step outside your front door or venture out of town and you have a location
- Landscapes are ever changing, no two skies will ever be the same. It’s the thrill of the chase as the variables in temperature, cloud patterns, skies and light can make for an awesome or meh result.
- The difficult part is accurately capturing what it was actually like to stand on that amazing beach at sunset or the mountain top overlooking the valley.
- Unfortunately, you take the photo and the results are disappointing.
The following factors must be taken into consideration
The camera’s limited dynamic range
- The eye can see a much wider tonal range than the camera
- The camera can record a wider tonal range than most printers
- Metering dark rock faces or green foliage can be a nightmare
- Understanding how the camera meter works is an essential part to getting great landscapes
- Ep 66 The Matrix: Camera Metering Modes Explained Without the Need For a Science Degree
- Capturing colour can also be difficult because the eye sees light differently to the camera.
- Set WB to the kind of light you see
- Cloudy set cloudy
- Wide lens exaggerates depth
- Long lens compresses
- Depth of field
- Shutter speed
- And camera angle will all have a huge impact in the final look and feel of an image
Before you leave home
- Do a google maps street view or satellite view
- Check out where the location is
- Sunset/sunrise times
- High and low tide
- Weather forecast
- Cloud cover 70% makes the best sunset
- Right time of day/season to visit
- Sunset and sunrise: changes angles 60 degrees
- Check for wind and rain
- Google man can go off road onto some walking tracks
- Eg certain fields of sunflowers or poppies only available in certain months
- Car parks and access
- Ask locals or photographers who regularly visit the place you want to photograph
The ideal location for great landscape photography is somewhere you live near.
Visiting a place weekly at different times of the day or the year gives you the absolute best chance of capturing all the magical elements needed to create a great image.
- The Photographer’s Ephemeris
- Cloud cover Ideal cloud cover for a good landscape is about 70%
- Less than that you get white hot looking skies and no colour
- Apps to check cloud cover and tide times
- Waterproof jacket
- Warm gear
- Torch/headlamp and spare batteries
- Spare batteries for your camera
- Rain cover for the camera
- Towel for you and one for the camera
- Lens wipe if it’s raining
Arriving at the location
- Get there early and stay late
- Look around, sometimes the best images are happening to your left or behind you.
- Don’t be lazy and stay in the viewing area, the best spots involve a bit of trekking or travel.
- If you want shots like everyone else’s take the easy option and shoot from the carpark
- Arriving the day before in good light to reccie the place takes away a lot of stress and you’ll know exactly what you need to do instead of stumbling around in the dark.
The other great thing about landscapes is how you interpret them
Depth of field
- Shoot at f16-22 for maximum sharpness
- Focus ⅓ of the way into the scene
- Focus stacking
- Learn your lenses sweet spot.
- Slow shutter speed shows movement
- Fast shutter speed freezes movement
- Very slow shutter speed gives silky effect
- Rule of thirds, fibonacci
- Check out Ep 63: TicTacToe: How to Compose an Image for Maximum Impact
HDR and merging images
- Blue skies are boring
- Clouds are sexy
- Overcast days create flat even lighting, this is perfect for waterfalls
- Rain and storms can also make an image look exciting
Foreground element for scale
Layers for interest
Rule of thirds
Low tide or still body of water for reflections (water must be still)
Note: This challenge is more than just one image. I’d like you all to find a location near your home, it may even be your backyard or view from your balcony. Take a photo at different times of the day
And notice what happens.