If you were to believe Ansel Adams, arguably the greatest landscape photographer ever, landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer and often the supreme disappointment.
That opening statement was necessary because I needed to establish a few certainties about landscape photography and that there is nothing certain about landscape photography. one day, you may spend less than an hour to capture an excellent photo, and the other day you could come up empty-handed even after spending the entire day scouting and taking shots. Sometimes you have to go back to this same spot four or five times a year to come up with an image that is compelling enough.
Landscape photography involves much more than just using the best camera and lens possible. Many photographers believe that once they have taken a few hundred landscape shots, they understand everything about landscape photography that there is to know. They could not be further away from the truth.
Scouting the best location for photography
Finding some of the best locations for landscape photography depends on where you live and how far you are from potential locations. Sometimes it may be necessary to scout a location on one visit and come back to photograph at a later time. Sometimes you can do both on the same trip. I have a habit of map reading and scouting from the desktop. I often scout Google Maps and Google Earth areas to find suitable landscape photography locations. But then it’s just me. You may have a different approach to scouting locations, which is completely fine.
finding the right light to shoot in
finding the right location to shoot is one aspect of landscape photography. Then there is the subject of light. Choosing the right light to shoot in is critical because a lot depends on it. The light may not be ideal for landscape photography if you arrive at a location during the middle of the day. Arriving early at a location and staying well beyond the perfect photography time leaves you at a positional advantage. You get the best light to shoot in and give yourself more chances to capture beautiful moments when everybody else has left the place.
Incidentally, if you are wondering what the best time of the day to shoot landscape photography is, then the answer is the golden hour. it is 1/2 an hour or 45 minutes after sunrise and half an hour before sunset when the light is perfect for landscape and other types of photography.
choose the correct settings to shoot with
just because you have the best camera and lens does not guarantee you will get the best shots. You have to choose the correct exposure settings to maximize your chances of getting the right results. The million-dollar question is, what are the correct settings?
Shoot with the lowest ISO that your camera can handle. Configure your camera to shoot at the hyperfocal distance. This will depend on the focal length that you’re using and the aperture. Ideally, there is no ideal aperture setting for landscape photography, but generally, the rule is to shoot with a small aperture. Something like f/8 or f/11 is a good number to start with. You can keep a hyperfocal CHEAT SHEET with you or an application that will tell you precisely the hyperfocal distance to focus, depending on the focal length and aperture you’re using.
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