Friday, July 9, 2010

Landscape Photography

This genre of photography is probably my overall favorite style. This is because it encompasses so many different aspects. You could find yourself standing before a mountain as the sun sets or a raging waterfall in the early morning. Each season of the year offers dramatically different views of the same areas giving you a reason to return again and again. Typically, you have time to set up the type of shot you are looking for and then all that is left is waiting on the proper lighting. This sounds like easy photography right? Well, it really depends. If you are the type of person that simply drives up to the same place every season, gets out of the car, sets up your tripod, clicks off a few photos and then leaves the area then yes, it is easy. The real challenge of landscape photography is finding ways to make your photos different than everyone else’s. This can be as simple as walking a few feet or positioning your tripod in a different way. It could be as complicated as hiking several miles to find the location where tourists do not visit.

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When photographing landscape I generally have my camera in one of two modes. Aperture Priority or Manual. Aperture Priority is a setting that allows you to control the Aperture and the camera controls the shutter speed. This way you have a little less to worry about and since the mountain typically will not be going anywhere the shutter does not matter. When in this mode you need to learn to use the exposure compensation feature of your camera (button with a +/- sign). This feature is used when the camera doesn’t get the exposure right. It allows you to manually override the camera's settings while keeping the Aperture the same.

There are times in landscape photography where the shutter speed is important. Specifically when you are shooting waterscapes and you want the water to have that silky look.  To accomplish this you need a slow shutter speed. If it is windy and you don’t want the trees to show all the wind movement then you would need to have a fast shutter speed to freeze the movement. In manual mode you can adjust both the Aperture and Shutter speed independently to get the exposure that you want. 

Finally, you really need a good tripod for Landscaps as well.  Since you often deal with very slow to slow shutter speeds you will have to have some way to steady the camera.  Make sure the tripod is a GOOD solid tripod.  You likely did a lot of research when you purchased your camera.  I would recommend doing the same thing when looking for a tripod.  If you purchase a $10.00 tripod from "Wally World" then you can expect about $10.00 worth of stabilization. 

Landscape photography is very rewarding and can be as challenging as you want it to be.

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