Finding Your Place: Landscape Photography
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Sometimes the most beautiful vistas are right in your own backyard, but other times you find inspiration while you’re traveling. Familiar territory can be rich in beauty and easier to photograph. When you’re in a place you know well, you instinctively know when the light will be rich, or that a particular sky is unique and needs to be captured. When you’re in a place that’s unfamiliar you’ll need to consult a cheat sheet (of sorts) so you can be in the right place at the right time.
If your summer plans include visiting any of these environments, use these tips to capture images that reflect your visit. And then display the best prints proudly in your home or office!
Look for ways to show the rugged nature and the beauty of deserts. In the middle of the day, find waves caused by the heat. Using a long lens to compress them, you'll get dramatic shots that really say "hot." Deserts are also great places for pictures of stars. There is no humidity, and usually no terrestrial lights to interfere, so stars seem more numerous and are unusually brilliant. Watch the way the color of the sand changes throughout the day with the angle of the sun. Think about ways to capture the characteristics of the desert. A wide shot might best portray one desert, while a close-up of one plant struggling to survive on the side of a dune might best represent another.
Consider these different scenes: a tranquil tropic isle with turquoise water lapping at a white, sandy beach; storm waves pounding a rocky New England shore; a densely packed vacation beach. What kind of coastline are you photographing, and how can you best convey it? What time of day, what kind of weather, and what season is most appropriate for showing its character? These are the kinds of questions to ask yourself while scouting for the right vantage point and composition before shooting. Every shoreline is different in some way. Show the difference in your images.
Are the mountains you're shooting rugged or worn, threatening or enchanting? What feeling do you get from them? Look for elements that will reinforce your feeling and convey it to the viewer. What composition, angle, light, and weather seem most appropriate? Look for the telling details that reflect the spirit of the mountains, too.
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