If you’re going somewhere, you’re going to take pictures of the landscape. But, did you know there are different types of landscape
To help you understand landscape
The sea, and water in general, offers one of the better locations to get stunning images. By contrasting the water with something in the foreground–such as a dramatic landscape–you show both the calm and the aggressive actions of nature, and the transition from earth to sea.
You also have many creative options, such as using longer shutter times to blur the action of the water. Or, you could use a filter to cut out glare or help average out the difference between the sky and the sea. Really, you’re only limited by your own creativity when taking images of the sea.
You’ll also want to understand camera settings for photographing the water. You’ll need to understand the impact of different aperture, shutter, and ISO settings on the available light and the motion of the water. You can use your camera metering modes to help you get the perfect exposure.
It may also help to think about the images you want and the type of light that will be available. For example, if you know you want a sunrise or sunset shot then you can prepare in advance for those light conditions.
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Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees, and that’s the challenge for the forest landscape photographer. There’s a lot going on in a forest, but when you start to think about the lines created by the trees and the play of the light in the forest, you can get some pretty spectacular shots.
For example, you can use the interplay of light and shadows to create various moods. As the light shines through the leaves of the trees, you get many interesting patterns, and if you take advantage of those, you will be rewarded with some stunning images.
Another tip is seek out contrast and color. For example, the bright colors of changing leaves in the fall. You can also get dramatic images by photographing the trail through the woods, and using the shadows to your advantage.
You’ll also probably want a polarizing filter to help improve the contrast between the clouds. You’ll also want to have a good understanding of the different, and somewhat unique, light conditions when photographing clouds. You might have, for example, the sun shining out from behind a cloud and creating both rays of light as well as powerful, vivid colors. To capture those kinds of conditions, you’ll likely want to set your camera to aperture priority mode, use an f stop between f/11 and f/32 to get a larger depth of field, and use a wide angle lens. This will let you make the best of the lighting conditions and capture those nuances as well.
This niche is growing in interest, but it definitely presents challenges. To
You’ll also want to frame the night sky with a dramatic foreground. If you don’t have some spectacular landscape scenery to put in the foreground, you can use your own silhouette.
You’ll also definitely need a good understanding of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings, because you will certainly be working in reduced light settings. And, you’ll need to adjust your focus.
If you want clear stars, you’ll need a shutter speed of 15 seconds or less. You’ll need to open your aperture as wide as possible (i.e., the lowest f stop setting), and your ISO setting will need to be as high as possible without adding more noise. It will need to be 6,400 or higher if you’re looking to capture the cloudy appearance of the Milky Way, for example. And, to improve the clarity of the images, set your focus as far out as it will go, and then step it back just a bit.
Some call this wide format
Your camera may have a setting that allows you to start with one photograph and then move left or right to capture the images that will be stitched together. The trick is to keep your camera level as you move it right or left. If you lift it up, even just a little, the landscape won’t come together at the right place in the final image.
7. Time Lapse
For fast-moving objects like cars or clouds that are moving fast, the interval between images should only be 1 or 2 seconds, but if it’s something slow moving like a flower blooming or a construction site, the interval may need to be several minutes or even hours.
Another tip is to shoot in manual mode in order to keep the shutter speed, ISO, and aperture settings the same. As long as there are no major changes in the light conditions, this will work fine, and you won’t have a flicker caused by changing exposure settings.
You’ll also want to lock down your focus, so it remains unchanged from image to image, and you should shoot in RAW, because it will give you more latitude in post-processing. Finally, be sure you have several fully charged batteries and plenty of memory.
8. Long Exposure
This is a technique that can create beautiful, dramatic images, and it’s relatively simple to do. These are the kinds of images that have effects such as blurred water or light trails.
For long exposure photography, you’ll need patience, a tripod, a shutter release cable, and you might want a Neutral Density filter (ND filter). The tripod and shutter release cable will allow you to prevent any vibration–for these shots, you’ll have the shutter open for longer than 60 seconds. The ND filter stops light from reaching the camera sensor, which will allow you to keep your aperture open longer.
As you can imagine, planning your shoot beforehand is also essential. You’ll want to make sure you have a good location where you can position your camera, and you’ll want to check that the weather will cooperate with your plan.
9. Star Trail
This is another type of long exposure
To get these spectacular types of photos, you’ll at least need the following items:
- A tripod–again, you have to prevent camera shake;
- A shutter release cable–same as above, to prevent camera shake;
- A camera with a manual mode so that you can independently adjust the exposure settings;
- A camera timer, which is essential–you have to be able to set the intervals for multiple long exposure images;
- Fully charged batteries–you’ll be shooting images for between 30 minutes and 3 hours;
- Wide angle lens–this is actually optional, but it helps a lot, because it will help you get images of more of the night sky.
Since the sun is the main subject in sunset / sunrise photography, it creates its own set of challenges. The sun rising or setting also creates spectacular colors in the sky, but since you’re also photographing the sun, the contrast between its brightness and the rest of the scene makes it hard to get good exposures.
In this case, you’ll want a high aperture setting, a mid-range ISO setting, and you’ll have to determine the shutter speed with your light meter. When it reads 0, the exposure is correct. It also helps to bracket your shots with slightly different exposure settings, and broaden your subject matter to include more scenery.
As with astrophotography, your challenge here will be the low light conditions. You’ll need a more open aperture, high ISO settings, and longer shutter speeds. But, you can shoot a number of different scenes, some of which might provide you with some artificial sources of light. One example is shooting an urban cityscape or street photography at night.
Regardless of which landscape
If you’d like to get more creative with your images, abstract landscape
Some of the styles discussed above, such as star trail
Each of the types of landscape
You’ll also need to plan for the types of shots you hope to get. If you’re traveling to an area known for its great sunsets, you should take the time to plan your shot. Where will you set your camera? Do you anticipate other people being there as well? How will you make sure you can get a clear image? It’s a good idea to do a little research before you go.
Finally, you’ll need to plan on taking the right equipment. At a minimum, you need a good, versatile lens, like a 50mm lens, and you might also need a wide angle, zoom, or a telephoto lens for landscapes. You’ll also need a tripod, and to get those clear shots, it’s worth the investment to get a shutter release cable.
By learning the basics about your settings, researching the areas you’ll be visiting, and considering carefully the images you want to get, you can come home with photographs you will treasure for a lifetime.