Author: Autumn Lockwood
Shooting photographs of natural environments, known most commonly as landscape photography, is one of the most popular and fun ways to get started in art of taking pictures. Although it may seem simple to point your camera at a scenic landscape and snap a picture, there is more to it than just pointing and shooting. So to help make it easier, here are a few simple tips to help you take even better landscape pictures:
Get Maximum Depth of Field
One of the most important things about landscape photography is detail. The more detail you can get in your landscape pictures, the better your final image will look. Close your F-stop as much as possible and use a slower-speed film with longer exposures to pull maximum depth of field from the image and ensure you capture every last tiny element.
Choose a Focal Point
What is it about certain photographs of mountains that make them appealing, when others look boring? The answer is often found in the focal point of the image. Regardless of the landscape you’re photographing, you must always choose a specific part of the image that is the most important. Landscape photography provides plenty of focal points – look for trees, mountains, or rock formations and work from there.
Use a Filter
There are tons of filters available for cameras, each of which serves a specific type of photography. Polarizing filters will darken the sky in your image and help build contrast in the colors, which will lead to a more dynamic and interesting image when it’s time to print. Anytime you’re shooting landscapes, always think about the contrast before you start shooting. Images that are all one color or tone aren’t interesting
Pick the Right Time of Day
Depending on what you’re planning on shooting, different times of day are going to either hurt or help you. Since the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the overall appearance of a landscape can be dramatically different in the morning than it is at dusk, so plan ahead on catching the perfect angle. The two best times of the day for landscapes are usually morning and evening as the pitched shadows will add dimension to your images.
Always Have a Tripod
Sure, carrying a tripod everywhere you go could potentially be a burden, but if you’re following the advice above and shooting with slow film and long exposures, you’re going to need one. Using a tripod will prevent possible blur from your movements at slower shutter speeds (anything lower than 60 is usually too low for a person to guarantee clarity) and will allow you to take several shot of the same image with different exposures.
Landscape photography is one of the best ways to start as a photographer. You don’t have to deal with impatient subjects, you have a reason to go outside and experience nature, and you get to visually tell the story of that day’s journey. With a little thought and the right equipment, you’ll soon be shooting beautiful landscapes that you’ll be proud to display in a picture frame on your wall.
About the Author
Autumn Lockwood is a writer for Your Picture Frames. Shop online and see our selection of friends and family picture frames in a variety of styles and colors. Visit our website and see our selection of decorative family picture frames online or call 1-800-780-0699.
Understanding the Value of Wide Angle Lenses
Author: Neil Galloway
Wide angle lenses are, in my opinion, the most overlooked “next step” for amateur photographers. Everyone has the “kit” lens that was packaged with their camera and then they go buy the 75-300mm zoom and then they are done. I knew I wanted the 18-200mm when I purchased my camera, but was on a waiting list, so the first lens I bought was the 10-20mm Sigma wide-angle. Wow. It gave me the opportunity to see the awesome potential of wide-angle lenses (and their limitations).
Why Do I Need One?
If you are trying to capture landscape shots or just the “size” of a scene, then wide-angle lenses will help you. Think of the angle of how light enters the camera lens. As this widens, it allows more detail to be focused on the film/sensor.
Ask yourself this. Have you ever been in a room taking a group photo or photo of something in the room, but you could not zoom out enough and you could not back up enough without leaving the room? This is where wide-angle lenses come in. They will distort the image slightly, but it still lets you take a photo that is otherwise impossible.
One of the neat features is composing a picture with a subject close up with a wide swath of detail in the background. When you first look through these lenses, everything seems far away though. The trick is getting your main subject as close as possible to the camera (sometimes you can be inches away from it) and the rest of the background will fill the frame.
The main article has some photo examples.I created them myself. For one, I pointed my camera in the mirror. I zoomed in at 20mm first. I then zoomed out to 10mm, but I made sure the camera lens still maintained the same size in each photo. Look at how much more background was included because of the angle light was allowed in at. Also notice how much farther away even my head looks, though I am looking through the viewfinder just as I was in the first photo. My hands are also distorted in a cool way.
About the Author
How to Compose Landscapes
Author: Jeffrey Haber
There really are no effective formulas for composing good landscapes. Nonetheless, the general suggestions that follow can probably help you get bet-ter ones.
1. Every landscape should have a focal point. This is the center of interest, the part of the picture your eye is drawn to. It can be a distant moun-tain, the facade of a building, or a clump of trees. Without a focal point, your landscape will likely fall flat.
2. Make sure the subject is big enough. If you use a wide-angle lens, a distant focal point such as a mountain may be too small or the sea may seem to trail off into nothing but water. Your eye seeks a center of interest. If there is none, it will simply wander off to infinity because there is nothing in the picture to hold your attention.
A small main subject can express the vastness and grandeur of a scene, but if this isn’t your aim, move closer to the main subject and reframe the shot. If the main subject is still too far away or you can’t get closer, use a longer lens.
3. Let the subject guide your approach. If the main subject area contains people, experiment with placing them nearer or farther from the camera to achieve different-sized images. Some images can be more effective if they look large and overpowering. Small figures emphasize the vastness of a woodland area.
4. Pay attention to subject placement. Impressive or dynamic subjects (for example, the plant in picture on left) can often be centrally placed. Medium-sized land-scape images are usually more effective when placed off-center (such as leaves and tree trunks in picture above).
5. Consider framing your subject. Dramatic central subjects generally don’t require framing, but other landscape subjects are usually improved by framing. Without some framing, the main subject at a distance appears lost in the enlarged print or projection.
The foremost framing device is foliage. An arch, doorway, or natural rock formation can also serve as a useful frame to lead the viewer’s eye.
6. Keep the frame in focus. In landscape photography, it’s important that both the frame and the subject be sharp. Visually, an out-of-focus frame is usually disturbing and draws attention away from the main subject. If depth of field is insufficient, shift the focus point or stop the lens down.
7. Create the illusion of depth. Giving the feeling of three-dimensional space enhances landscapes. Placing different subjects or framing elements at different planes helps the picture hold the viewer.
8. Use contrasting colors. A subject wearing a bright red, blue, or yellow jacket that’s carefully placed within a land-scape can perk up a dullish scene. Usually, such subjects should be kept at a sufficient distance within the picture frame or they will tend to take over and dominate the entire picture.
9. Keep your camera level. Almost all good landscapes are made with the camera held as level as possible. Don’t be tempted to point your lens up too far. If you do, you will create apparent perspective distortion, and objects will appear to be falling over back-ward. The closer you are to your main subject, the more important this is. Use a shoe-mounted bubble level.
About the Author
Photographic Hints, Tips, Techniques and Tricks for taking Beautiful Landscape Pictures
Author: Gregory van Slyke
Nature and landscape photography represent an area of the photographic art which requires specialized skills. As we all know, practice makes perfect and over time, with the right shooting advice and some handy photographic techniques, tips, tools and tricks, taking beautiful landscape photographs can be mastered and your shot making can improve to the point that your photos really begin to capture some of the essence of the great places that you get to visit.
One of the photographic techniques that I find really useful, as obvious as it may sound, is making sure that I always have my camera with me when I head out. It can be quite surprising when revisiting an area that we think we know. Things change all the time. Maybe the lighting is different. Perhaps you are passing through at a different time of the day and a scene that hadn’t previously imposed any particular sense of drama suddenly impresses you.
I recall driving through an area many times before. There was a long white sand beach with a bridge over a stream at the northern end. I had even picnicked and swum at the northern end of the beach last summer. In the intervening months since I had last visited the beach, the local council had built a path under the bridge and alongside the stream bed as part of a beautification process opening up an area which wasn’t previously accessible from the beach.
As a result I was able to acquire some very pretty landscapes where I wasn’t really expecting anything in particular. So even if you are familiar with an area, remember not to take things for granted. People and places do change and often over shorter time-frames than what you might appreciate.
Especially now with the advent of digital cameras, immediate recall and the ability to shoot many pics without the handicap of time and cost of development, why not take multiple photos of the same scene. Play with different exposure settings, angles, variations in zoom. Change the perspective, turn the camera sideways through 90 degrees, or even set the horizon on diagonally opposite corners to optimize composition if that is what it takes.
Work through different shots of the same scene at different focal lengths, telephoto through to wide-angle and be surprised at how much variation can be achieved in the shot. Eventually you will find the optimum picture which may appear to be quite different from the first impression. Capture a range of photos and make your selection afterwards rather than discard options at the time.
With the benefit of hindsight it is possible to re-crop a shot to change the emphasis or mood. Digital storage is so cheap now that retaining shots that may be less than optimum and having a library of images for later use offers alternate cropping options to accent different aspects of the photo.
Telephoto lenses enable magnification of a distant subject and wide-angle lenses reduce the depth of field enabling more content to be included in the. Compact cameras achieve this variation through a single lens that offers variable focal length usually between 30-70 mm or similar and often with inbuilt converters that double or treble the focal length, increasing the telephoto capability whereas with a digital SLR (DSLR) these are separately acquired hardware options and each lens or converter has different characteristics.
A lens that offers variable focal length usually between 30-70 mm is recognised as a standard zoom lens and will be able to be used in most scenarios. It is only when exploring the extremes that specialist lenses such as fish-eye, wide-angle, telephoto and converters are required.
Adding scale to a photograph is another way to improve composition and generate a sense of the dramatic in your pictures. A large rock or tree to one side in the foreground with say a waterfall or mountain occupying the centre thirds of your photograph with the sky above, not only aids the composition but also imparts a sense of grandeur to your shot. Adding more sky to your photograph can create a sense of “wide open spaces.”
Changing the mood and feel of a scene can make the difference between average and stunning photographs. Allowing the setting sun, for example, to light up your shot or shooting into the sun to create silhouettes can produce wonderful shots.
Capturing sunlight through leaves or tree branches can achieve a dappled effect of light and shade to augment photographs. Two hours after dawn and two hours before dusk are great times for shooting, enabling best use of light and shade. When the sun is higher, shadows are more intense and strong shadows require extra lighting, increasing the technical complexity of a potential shot.
Shooting buildings in cityscapes represents some interesting challenges where sunlight at certain angles can enhance building detail or by reflecting off glass and stainless steel, produce interesting light effects.
The very same shot at a different time might appear uninteresting without the detail emphasized. The sun going down between two tall buildings with the inner faces of both buildings lit up and other parts in shadow or semi-silhouette might achieve a very dramatic photograph.
Looking for reflections in puddles or other still bodies of water is a great way to add to your photographic composition and fill in the foreground with extra color to enhance your picture.
A good way to improve your understanding of landscape photography (or any other photography genre for that matter) is to take an image that you really admire from a leading exponent and pick the picture to pieces, isolating the different aspects that come together to create the photo. By identifying and analyzing the components of the photograph you come to gain an appreciation for the mechanics of the composition thus increasing your knowledge. Use the identified facets in your own photography to enhance your skills.
Some sources that you might like to check out for techniques, tips, tricks, and more can be found in photography books and magazines at my website portal www.photographyglobal.com where you can follow links to the best deals and discounts that the web has to offer.
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The bonus is that my love of photography can produce income, enhancing my lifestyle and sense of satisfaction with my hobby.
I’d like to give others the opportunity to convert their favourite hobby into a financially rewarding life-style choice by helping you create a business opportunity and income stream from your favourite hobby.
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About the Author
I’ve walked this earth for the last 56 years and started taking pics as a kid on a “Box Brownie” before migrating to a Kodak Instamatic 110. I moved up to 35mm with a Minolta 7 Series II in 1976 and eventually made it to SLR via the Canon T70 and some decent Tamron Telephoto and wide-angle lenses in 1983. I recently moved into digital photography and just love the instant immediacy and myriad options that the new technology brings.
I specialize in landscape photography. Living in New Zealand (Godzone), I am blessed with many spectacular photo opportunities. These days my camera is almost always close at hand and I have been rewarded with some awesome results.
I have twice been the recipient of the Editor’s Choice Bronze Award from the International Library of Photography and have been involved for the last 10 years in my church video team where my responsibilities include cameraman, director, team manager.
A foray onto the Internet a couple of years ago led to the establishment of my first photography website (since sold) and I have a string of similar projects in train including a photography store-front,
Landscape Photography – The Rule of Three P
Author: Yaroslav Staniec
It is true that one cannot learn Art or cannot induce in someone the eye for beauty. But obviously, if you have it in you, it can be honed to perfection; however small that is. As a self taught landscape photographer, who has learned everything from the hours of waiting for the perfect light to the mistakes committed, I feel both glad and proud to share the secrets and the insights of landscape photography that contributes to the making of a great photograph. This is for all those who breathe through their lenses like me!
But before telling you the few basic ingredients to perfect landscape photography, let me tell you one secret that holds true even for the universe. It’s called the harmony. The key to every great thing is to strike the harmony right and landscape photography is not an exception. Open your eyes to the harmony all around you!
Landscape Photography: The rule of three P – preparation, patience and perseverance
To capture the mystical and scintillating beauty of nature, you shall have to wait at her doorsteps, respecting her own tantrums, whims and fancies. After all, something that is so great or so beautiful is not readily available. And for all who thinks, landscape photography is easy, here’s where you’ll find out that it is not. Behind a photograph that is par excellence, there are days of research, hours of thoughts, weeks of getting to know the topography, angles, crowds etc., endless failures and months of sleepless eyes eager to catch the perfect moment.
To get something great, you need to have perseverance, patience and also a lot of preparation. As a landscape photographer, I can guarantee the fact that a great shot takes a lot of time and a whole lot of mental preparation. So, my first advice to you would be before looking through your lenses, look around the geography.
Scout your chosen area. Note its important features; note the unusual and interesting angles, and its changing crowd levels. Take time to prepare the shot and make sure you are ready with your tripod or mini-tripod, cleaned lenses and the cable release before the best time of the day. Try out different filters and wait for a good foreground. If you have people in your frame, talk it out with them and break the ice to make them feel comfortable.
Choose a simple and clear layout- too many subjects dilute the depth and focus of your photograph
Remember that what you call as a good shot is the one that focuses your attention on the subject by using a fairly sparse background and a simple and interesting composition to strike a clear harmony. Removing the clutter for your picture requires real skill. Achieve that. Landscape Photography comes out best when you focus on your subject.
Not just landscape photography, any picture
you click, requires that subtle judgment of de-clattering your picture. For example, if you are capturing a musician, try zooming in, getting close to your subjects eye level and find a simple backdrop for your subject which will highlight your subject. Look for that vivid balance.
Play with colors. Look for bold solid colors for that unforgettable photograph
For vivid and warm landscape photography, notice the ‘Stock-quality’ images. If you notice them, you would see that they make great use of color. So, while you are taking such a photograph, search for solid primary colors. Bright ‘red, emerald green, lightning yellow, and ocean blue- solid colors give a different dimension to your picture. Use a polarizer to bring out the vivid colors. While you are playing with colors try to avoid patterns as much as possible as they tend to distract your viewers from the subject.
Alternatively, for a calmer effect on your landscape photography,look for ‘color harmony’. Scenes restricted to similar tones and colors, or even a single color brings out a calm, restful image where the eye plays with the differing shades and intensities. Look for pastels, cream, or delicate shades, when it’s a serene effect you want to capture.
Create drama with lights
In my vertical, which is landscape photography, I’ve often seen that photographs that win competitions are often the ones that make fascinating use of light. Keep an eye out for that silver lining- the beams of light shining through clouds, sparkling light through the trees or windows, elaborate long shadows and the effect of side and backlighting. Try and use the beautiful warm golden hours of early morning and late afternoon. You will experience magic through your lenses at these hours. Maybe this is why they are called ‘magic hours’. Landscape Photography requires the skill of the use of light.
Of the people, for the people by the people
Include the power of people in your photographs. You must have noticed that magazines in particular always create a dramatic effect by including people in the shot. A human face or figure always gives the viewer a human connection. It instills in your viewer a sense of being there, a sense of scale.
If you want to portray emotions there is nothing better than capturing a face to say it all. Laughter, despair, hope, hopelessness, proud, age- a human face tells it all. Simplify the shot down to one person for that exclusive reaction.
Catch the promise of tomorrow with the young and the worldly and the weather worn. Young and old faces make wonderful subjects with their innocent expressions and aged with wisdom faces respectively. They make your shots warm, friendly, and someone you can relate to. Like a good old friend. Such photographs never grow old.
Take heed of the above ingredients and mix them in an equal proportion according to your subject, place and time and you’ll see that in no time you have a photograph that you can be proud of!
Learn more about Landscape Photography
About the Author
A spontaneous dreamer and a soulful landscape photographer of those dreams etched by nature, by passion and profession, I am Yaroslav Staniec, a dream catcher. Born in Poland and residing in England, it gives me much pleasure to master the art of capturing beauty if not time, through my lenses. Never fading colors, timeless black and whites and life like contours- witness the abundance nature has unfurled. Browse through my galleries, witness, comment, possess or just be a silent visitor. Here’s an invitation to all who appreciates nature for what it really is.