Today we are going to look at landscapes, lenses, styles, and techniques to improve your landscape photography. We are here in the wonderful Hever Castle in Kent, where Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn grew up.
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So we are here the castle, and it’s looking great. Hopefully we’ll get some really amazing landscape photography, while highlighting the seven key components of what makes beautiful landscape pictures. First up is depth of field. Great landscape pictures have great depth of field.
Lens choice: now, if using a wide angle lens, like this 24 mm lens, everything from the near foreground to infinity, should be sharp, and the best apertures are between f/and f/11.0. These should ensure a sharp image from near foreground to infinity.
Now, there is a different way of measuring depth of field, called hyperfocal distance, but we will leave that to another time. Now smaller apertures mean slower shutters, therefore a good tripod is essential.
The next key component is the focal point
Without a focal point, your landscape pictures run the risk of turning into nothing but vast expanses of nothingness. The focal point can be anything, it can be rocks, trees, or rivers, anything to latch the eye on.
Without this, your pictures will have no strength. Focal points lead the viewer into the picture, they give the images vitality, and don’t be fooled into thinking that clear days are the only days you can shoot landscape pictures on. In fact, the opposite is true.
Turbulent weather often produces the best landscape photography pictures
Make sure you try shooting from different angles, up high, down low, whatever it takes. The third component is the sky and most cool landscape pictures will either have a dominant sky, or a dominant foreground.
So be aware of the effect the sky can have on your pictures, in fact, the sky itself can be a key component in a good landscape image, in conjunction watch for reflections, and the right conditions that can make very powerful pictures, and of course make sure your horizons are level.
Nobody wants to see a mountain slip off the frame, stage left, or stage right
Don’t forget to check out Adorama’s latest contest where you can win some amazing prizes! So we have changed our location to have a little chat about composition rules. Now the rule of thirds in linear lines, are in my opinion, two of the most important rules.
Now the thirds, states that your subject is more pleasing t o the eye, if it falls on on of the four intersecting points. But don’t get too hung up on this, just get them off center, and our horizons are either, in the top third in the frame, or the bottom third the frame.
Linear lines help to draw the viewer into the picture
Things like fence lines, or railroad tracks are a really good example of this. Ultimately, we want your beautiful landscape pictures to engage with our viewers, we want to draw them into the picture. By following these rules at least initially, you create better and livelier pictures.
The next key component is golden time
The best light for landscape photography, well, for most outdoor photography happens about an hour after sunrise, and about an hour before sunset, the golden time.
It’s not a lot of time, so you need to be ready, make sure you are in your previously scouted location, make sure your kit is ready, make sure you are wearing the right clothing, no one wants to scuttle home because they’re cold.
The next key component is filters
For a long time, landscape photographers have had the problem of dealing with bright skies, and dark lands. Until some boffins decided to invent the graduated neutral density filter.
It’s a delineation from clear to dark, this allows photographers to balance out the light from a bright sky in a dark land, and still preserve detail in both.
If you are going to be a serious landscape photographer, you have to invest in a set of these. The other filters I use, is a circular polariser, now this helps to saturate the sky, in cut reflection, if you need it to be, off water.
Lastly, I use the neutral density filter, not the graduated one, just a neutral density filter. This allows you to put movement in water.
It cuts the light coming into the into the camera, thus allowing you to use slower shutter speeds. You definitely need to use a tripod, both a great creative tools. The seventh, and final key component is improvement.
The key to which is innovation, persistence, and learning from your mistakes. If you don’t learn from mistakes, you’ll never improve. So embrace them and analyse them. Here is another landscape photography tip.
So we found this really great spot at Hever Castle here, this waterfall
It’s perfect for using an a neutral density filter. This is what these were built for, to put motion in water. This one is 10 stop filter. So it’s really strong, as you see it looks a little bit like a welder’s latch, you can’t even see through it. So, you have got to make sure everything is set up on the camera before you start.
I’ve already taken a meter reading and it has given me half a second. So I know that when I put this filter on the front of that, that meter reading is going to have to go down to about eight minutes.
So the shutter is going to open for eight minutes to get the picture, that’s why we’re using our handy dandy, locking cable release, so let’s get at it. Now I’ve already locked the focus, lock the all the readings in place, it’s just a matter of pushing the button, and waiting.
It’s almost eight minutes and we are back. Another few seconds and I can shut, close the shutter, and then hopefully we will get a nice image! Unfortunately with these filters there is always a bit of guesswork involved.
So let’s see what we have got. It looks a little under exposed to me. You could probably use a few more seconds, minutes even, of exposure, but I think I can work with this on the computer.
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