Landscape photography may seem relatively simple. However, capturing and conveying the beauty of even the most astonishing landscape can be surprisingly challenging.
Whether you are travelling, taking a walk at the seaside or driving along the freeway to visit your in-laws you are constantly surrounded by landscapes. Most people will sooner or later try their hand at landscape photography. For instance, very few people return from a vacation without having shot a landscape or two.
When looking at a landscape glorifying it just a little is difficult to avoid. We simply fail to notice the garbage in the road side, the barbed wire fence or the plastic bags floating at the water’s edge. The camera, however, sees it all, and it will all be a part of your photo.
Landscape photography is possible in all environments of the world. This landscape was shot in a desert in Southern Egypt. Taken at dawn, the light is quite special.
Winter in Norway Nikon D2Xs, 70-200mm VR, F2.8, 1/180 second
Shooting landscape photos it can be very tempting to use a wide-angle lens on your camera in order to try capturing the whole scene in one shot. In some cases this may prove to be a good idea, sometimes, it will, however, completely ruin a good subject. As with every other type of photo, landscape photos must contain a focus point that catches the eye and helps stress the intention behind the shot. Whenever possible, think about creating a sense of depth in your photo. One way of creating a sense of depth could be to divide your image into three parts: the foreground, the middle ground, and the background.
There are many different types of landscapes. Even within the borders of a small nation there can be countless types of landscapes to choose from. Every specific landscape poses specific challenges to a photographer, for this reason the advice in the following section is organised according to landscape type.
Few things are quite as magnificent as a walk through one of the mountainous regions of the world. Capturing the mood in a mountainous landscape can be quite challenging. Around noon, there is a great contrast between the parts of a mountain on which sunlight falls and the parts that are in shadow.
You need to be an early riser or go to bed really late in order to capture good mountain photos. Try to be ready half an hour before sunrise or half an hour before sunset. Choose a good spot to shoot from and use the wait for coming up with a good composition. The very moment light is perfect you need to be ready to shoot, as light as well as weather conditions can change in a matter of minutes in the mountains.
The western coast of Norway is an excellent location for landscape photography.
Take a walk in the forest with your camera and look for the perfect subject. Always remember looking up, down, and back when moving around. You might suddenly spot an interesting or different angle. Or light may suddenly fall prettily through the crowns of the trees in long columns. Bring along tele lenses, macro lenses, as well as wide-angle lenses in order to be prepared for any given situation.
Capturing the “landscapes” of the forest may require a little patience. But you will get plenty of fresh air and exercise hunting for the perfect subject!
Even in the middle of the day it can be quite dark in a forest if the canopy is really dense. For this reason it might not be a bad idea to bring along a tripod and a flash unit. This particularly applies to the rain forest where only a few percent of the rays of the sun make it all the way to the forest floor.
In the Countryside
Going for a ride in the country can be quite idyllic. If you attempt shooting fields or rural life you need to think through your perspective. You may try finding an old abandoned barn that will provide a sharp contrast to the rest of the scenery. You can also try using huge farming machines at work in your photos.
Nikon F100, 50mm, F5.6.
On a really quiet morning, a lake or a pool will look like a mirror, this is the kind of thing that landscape photographers pay attention to. Using the reflected image will often be able to create very beautiful and interesting landscape photos. Some lakes will have a colour that contrasts with the surrounding scenery and such a feature will always look good in a photo. You should always try to create a balance between the lake and the surrounding scenery capturing both elements in your photo. This will create a better sense of the location and the size of the lake.
Water in Motion
Rivers, streams, raindrops or waterfalls help make a landscape photo come alive. Using slow shutter speeds will enable you to capture the motion of water. This type of photo should be shot before sunrise, after sunrise or on a very cloudy day with little available light. Mount your camera on a tripod and manually select a very slow shutter speed, e.g. one or two seconds. The water will be surprisingly beautiful to behold and will appear almost as soft as silk. With just a little bit of experience you will be able to shoot this kind of photo in a really impressive quality, and these photos are guaranteed to look good in your family album.
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