I have had the great pleasure of visiting and photographing some of the most beautiful places on our planet. There is a sacred and arcane energy that I have experienced while traveling Mother Earth. An energy that begs to be captured and shared with the rest of the world. Alaska, Peru, Honduras, Portugal, India and Iceland are just a few unforgettable locales I have left footprints and taken photographs. The land has always beckoned me, offered me refuge and solace form the maddening cycle of life. It has helped me slow down, breath and truly celebrate the spectacle of creation.
In the area of photography, the places I have visited have invited me to take a memory, reminder and token of gratitude with me in the form of a photograph.
Landscape photography has been a staple of the medium since Joseph Nicéphore Niépce was experimenting with his camera obscure in France in the mid 1820's. Ansel Adams, perhaps humankind's most famous landscape photographer, brought the medium to the forefront during his lifetime during the early to later 1900's. Adams has influenced me in an indelible manner in the area of landscape photography. So, what makes a good landscape photographer and what are some simple steps a photographer can utilize and implement to create beautiful landscape photographs? Listed below are a few sure-fire tips that have helped me in developing my acumen for photographing our beautiful planet.
1.) ALLOW YOUR EYE TO COMPOSE A GOOD LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPH
Like any artist a photographer has to recognize and arrange a good composition. When arranging a good landscape visual elements are essential ingredients to a photographer. Elements such as mountains, people, rivers, trees, buildings and even cloud coverage are important so a story can be told, or certain emotions can be manifested. Stop, look around, examine your surroundings and don't be in a rush. There is a story out there wanting to visit you. Allow it space and allow it too unfold.
2.) LET THE LAND LEAD
Dance with the earth, let her lead and take your eye and heart where it needs to go. Utilizing lines in a landscape photograph is an important tool to helping create a powerful image. How can the viewer's eyes be danced through the photograph in an effective way? Using the elements I mentioned in #1, (mountains, people, rivers, trees, buildings and cloudsZ) the photographer can compose a composition easy for the eyes to navigate. The eyes should literally dance smoothly through a photograph, a soft transition from one element to the next that is way on the eyes.
3.) RESEARCH & STUDY YOUR DESTINATION
Whenever I am about to travel to a new location, or even a place I have been before, I engage in a bit of research and viewing of other photographers images to familiarize myself with the lay of the land. I try my best to see the area from as many vantage points and light settings as I can. A little investment of time and reconnoitering will go a long way in helping you capture beautiful landscape photographs.
4.) THE GOLDEN HOUR OF POWER
For all artists, but photographers more so, it's all about the light. In fact photography literally
means, "drawing with light." The golden hour in photography refers to the time periods just after sunrise or before sunset as the golden hour because of the vibrant, rich, diffused light that is created by the sun being low in the sky. The golden hour produces some of the deepest and most rich photographs. It is the perfect time for landscape photography because of the emotions and feelings the artist can evoke with their camera. It is a soft, ethereal time that also helps the photographer to immerse themselves in the moment. They are no longer simply creating a photographic composition, the are part of the composition.
5.) KNOW YOUR CAMERA INTIMATELY
Regardless of your photographic adventure you are about to embark upon, be it out your front door or 7,000 miles away..KNOW YOUR CAMERA. There is a saying in photography, "The best camera to use is the camera in your hands." Therefore, be it a film, DSLR, point and shoot or smart phone camera, get to know it and its functions.Take time to get to know how to control the shutter speed, aperture, ISO and other functions. It will save time and help to create more stunning photographs.
6.) GO LOW
A good approach to assuring quality landscape photographs wind up in your home is by photographing at a lower ISO. This will help keep your photographs form being to grainy or noisy while allowing you to use the shutter speed and aperture you need in conjunction with your ISO. To help you with understanding ISO, shutter speed and aperture, I am attaching a link to a wonderful article that will help you. I refer back to the tip directly above this one, it is imperative you get to know your camera. It will help you with the settings you need.
I hope these six quick suggestions help you in some small way. For me, the number one rule will always be to have fun with your camera. There is no perfection and there will always be photographs you miss, however, the more you develop a keen eye and open heart, while being willing to integrate some basic ingredients, like the ones above, you will be able to capture beautiful landscapes.
Grab a Camera and Tell a Story,