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Introduction
Nature can not leave a man indifferent. When you are on a hike high in the mountains, watching clouds float beneath you, or simply rolling along the highway just before sunrise, breathing fresh air and watching how dark and silky skies are slowly taken over by golden rays of rising sun, you just can’t feel down. Whatever problems you have, this sense of purity and freshness simply makes everything else unimportant. And that is the true power of nature. And what’s even better, people have tendency to reproduce greatness - through music, literature, painting, photography and other means. In this book we shall learn how to reproduce greatness of nature by means of a photo camera. In other words - we’ll learn how to take cool pics of trees and stuff.

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If you want to become a really good landscape photographer..really.Landscape photography has a long history. For some. must know Nature’s laws. what difficulty can be in going into the fields and making a couple of shots off hands? Yes. dust. But in fact. And if you’re lucky enough.M. and the cloudscapes are not selected weekly by some heavenly world-interface designers. today it is a passion of both beginners and professional photographers. as a photographer. And still. For the trick is. it can seem to be one of the easiest genres . and you. and is one of the oldest genres. riding asphalted roads and wearing exclusive designer’s clothes. dirt. Everything is unpredictable. patience and non-obligatory reward in the end. If you are ready. The sun rises early in the morning. you can even get a really amazing photo with little effort. the chances are 1 to 1000. that’s true. let’s start with the basics first! -3- . Mother Nature does not care about your intentions. Get ready for aching feet. rainfall has no schedule. obey them and take advantage of them when possible. having one cool landscape photo does not make you a good landscape photographer. And just like winning a lottery does not make you a good businessman. forget about sleeping till 10 A.

for landscape photos. The cure for this is actually higher “f” values . A telephoto lens will let you be more selective regarding the subject.Equipment In fact.closed aperture improves sharpness at corners. While everything is clear with a camera and a wide-angle lens. a preferably wide-angle lens. as well as widens depth of field. you might wonder. A telephoto lens will also be a good bonus. and lenses tend to lose sharpness at corners. landscape photographer’s arsenal can be not extremely huge. You’ll need a camera. and will also allow you to have really great perspectives: -4- . That’s why you will need a stable camera to avoid handshake. and a tripod. you will usually need the whole frame to be sharp. why would you need a tripod when light is good enough? The fact is. but results in longer shutter speeds.

for you will have to carry it on foot for miles from time to time. and this is where every 100 grams make a difference. having a remote shutter trigger and some optical filters will be really handy (we’ll talk about filters somewhat later). I don’t recommend doing this when choosing a tripod. -5- . While you can save money on a remote control. and choose the one which suits you best.Also. along with all the other equipment. but take your time and compare the market. It does not mean that you have to rush for the most expensive tripod you find. Remote controls are mostly cheap.5 on eBay. and can cost you as low as $1. It has to be really stable and lightweight.

Lower values result in less noise. You do have a tripod. is the depth of field. This will save my life. but won’t guarantee a good photo.the better. So let’s see how it works instead of looking for a universal rule. you must understand the reasons behind selecting aperture. shutter speed and ISO. for it allows us to control the aperture setting. right? ■ Camera Mode. set the aperture to f/11. “What are the correct settings for a landscape photo?!”. pointing a gun at my face. Av in Canon). But one more thing . Every time you make a shot. I’d rather go for 11 or 16.0 or higher.even more important. Aperture Setting The most suitable mode for landscapes is aperture priority mode (A in Nikon. ■ ISO The lower . ISO to 100. and exposure metering to Evaluative. we want it to be as high as possible to get everything sharp . But. -6- . I will mumble something like “Emm. if somebody asks me. you just turn that dial in your camera to the Av. In most cases. while the shutter speed is set automatically by the camera. Lens tests show that most optics have best sharpness at frame corners at f/8. and noise can be a big trouble. and that’s pretty much it”. especially in the skies . So set it to 100 and forget about it.for they do not have any texture and all imperfections are easy to notice.both background and foreground.Camera settings There are no perfect settings which you can use for every situation.

There are 4 exposure metering modes . and yes. these modes affect. They might have slightly different names in different cameras. but the icons are pretty much the same In two words. Usually landscape photos vary considerably in light intensity throughout the frame . to make a photo of a snowy landscape for -7- . center-weighted average. partial and spot metering. Troubles begin when the contrast of the scene is too high. So. at which camera “looks” to meter light intensity.then you will need to manually adjust exposure compensation.Open apertures are also used in landscape photography.evaluative (matrix). it looks great.so the most common will be the evaluative metering mode . too: ■ Exposure metering mode.it measures the whole frame for its light and dark areas and tries to set an exposure which will be most appropriate to keep both shadows and highlights properly exposed. how big is the area. or light and dark areas are distributed unequally .

So let’s leave that to the camera’s exposure meter as yet. because a camera will “think” that the image is too bright and will. tend to underexpose it. -8- . ■ Shutter speed. But the truth is. it is not that vital for landscapes. assuming we have a camera on a tripod and don’t want any special cool effects with motion blurring and freezing.instance. the image is really “brighter than average”. as a result. you will need to set exposure compensation of about +1 stop. Just like ISO.

That’s why it is a good thing to do to use a remote control to avoid contact with a camera. It would be also smart to use the “Mirror lockup” function of your camera . have you read the camera’s manual? -9- . but there are some factors which still may give a camera slight shake . Oh.it minimizes the shake by making a pause between the mirror going up and actually exposing the frame. when you press the shutter button.Making Your Camera Stable Using a tripod ensures that your camera will be steady. you can still use the camera’s shutter release timer. but I’d still recommend getting a remote control . and the movement of a mirror in a SLR camera. You will need to look though you camera’s menu and settings to see if you have it available.constant usage of a timer will soon become really annoying.namely you. If you don’t have one. by the way.

But as always.in most cases it is best to place it at ⅓ of the frame. depending on which of them you find more important and interesting. . leaving more space either for land or sky. or place the horizon in the middle to get some stunning symmetry. focal lengths etc. be creative and break the rules you can try leaving a tiny line of a land. trying different angles. not in the middle. and you just have to experiment.Composition It’s all up to you. filling 90% of the frame with sky. But there are certain things which are worth mentioning: pay attention to the horizon line .10 - .

. You can feel dizzy when watching the massive mountains “live”.but if you have a relatively small object in the foreground .Try to get some objects in the foreground to convey the scale of the scene. or maybe even a house (which is small compared to the ridge).11 - . because a photograph just doesn’t reflect the true splendour of the view. This is because we have nothing to compare in the frame . but you can be frustrated seeing them on a photo.a rock. the background then looks majestically massive.

Keeping in mind the rule of thirds has never been a bad idea. and perfectly composed shots that follow the rules will most probably look great. don’t forget to have some “classic” shots as well. being too much engaged in breaking the rules. So.12 - . .

but sometimes a “portrait” orientation can give your photo some extra charm.13 - .Vertical compositions are often underrated by landscape photographers. .

Looking for interesting geometry is also a good skill for a landscape photographer.14 - . fences can make fantastic lines and curves. Roads. and getting them in a photo will be a smart thing to do. . rivers.

A great thing about mornings is a fascinating mist over meadows. In early hours. as well as at sunset. fields and lakes. the light changes very quickly.keep that in mind when planning your trip. It looks surreal and will give your photograph the “wow” factor. When on location. and you literally can make 10 absolutely different photos in half an hour without changing anything yourself. because that is not what you see every day when living in a city. the best option is to watch the light from dawn to dusk .15 - . .Time of Day Landscape photography is all about waiting and exploring.

g. for it can take days or weeks to get the “perfect shot”. (Instead of weeklong waiting. but catching a truly awesome cloudscape takes a lot of luck. taking a sky from one photo. . You must decide on which of them to bet when planning your journey. and “land” from another). and you have several days to try everything possible on one location.e. I’d say it makes sense when you have a very specific goal . some prefer manipulating photos in Photoshop. or a lot of waiting.Cloudscapes While you can imagine how lighting will behave at a specific time of day. you can not predict how the sky will look like.16 - . It can be more or less picturesque. shooting some landmark the way no one has done before.

and polarizing filters.17 - . . and to get rid of the glares on water and other reflective surfaces. from protective to special effects filters. A polarizer was used in the second image. Notice how contrast between the sky and the clouds has increased. Polarizing filter is used to enhance the contrast of the sky and clouds.Using Filters There are many types of filters which you can use to get the most out of your landscape photographs. But the two most important are neutral density (ND) filters.

using a 4x ND filter will make you set ISO 100. So. which determines. 200x. f/8.0 and speed of 1/60 sec to get a similar photo. 4x . they make the scene darker to let you increase the shutter speed. In this photo we had a shutter speed of nearly 1 second which was enough to give the waves some nice blur.2x filter reduces exposure by one stop. how much aperture stops it will “eat” . This is useful for blurring water and clouds. ND filters have different intensity.by two stops etc.ND filters are used to reduce exposure. to have really long exposures even in daylight. .18 - . f/8.0 and speed of 1/250 sec. You can get a much darker filter. In other words. for example. if you have a properly exposed photo at ISO 100.

and it will be a good idea to get three shots with 1 stop advancement just to make sure that you have something to choose from.Bracketing Getting the exposure right can at times be challenging due to high contrast between the land and the skies. If the contrast is too high. the only thing you can do is use a bracketing function of your camera and then combine one photo from several in Photoshop. too. and you just can’t get both of them exposed properly. for camera’s LCD screen is a known liar. . and histogram can be sometimes misleading. Bracketing can still be useful in all other cases.19 - .

pack your stuff. So go on. but these clues might help you in making your first steps. experience is gained in the fields.com. not in front of a computer. always seeking interesting and creative shooting and retouching techniques.photodoto@gmail. Anyway. jump into your Wrangler and go meet the sunrise in a tent! George Bailey is a photographer and editor of Photodoto. george.com . submerging into the abyss of landscape photography ever deeper.20 - . who focuses on both studio and outdoor photography.Conclusion I don’t think it is possible to get all information about landscape photography on 10 or even 100 pages.

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