Sei sulla pagina 1di 202

THE EXPANDED GUIDE

>
TECHNIQUES
Landscape
Photography
STEVE WATKINS
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 2 28/7/11 10:13:42
Landscape
Photography
THE EXPANDED GUIDE
Steve Watkins
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 3 28/7/11 10:13:43
First published 2011 by
Ammonite Press
an imprint of AE Publications Ltd
166 High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1XU, United Kingdom
Text AE Publications Ltd, 2011
Illustrative photography Steve Watkins, 2011 (except where
indicated)
Copyright in the work AE Publications Ltd, 2011
All rights reserved
The right of Steve Watkins to be identied as the author of this
work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs
and Patents Act 1988, sections 77 and 78.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the
prior permission of the publisher and copyright owner.
This book is sold subject to the condition that all designs are
copyright and are not for commercial reproduction without the
permission of the designer and copyright owner.
The publishers and author can accept no legal responsibility for
any consequences arising from the application of information,
advice or instructions given in this publication.
A catalog record for this book is available from the British Library.
Series Editor: Richard Wiles
Design: Richard Dewing Associates
Typeset in Frutiger
Color reproduction by GMC Reprographics Page 2
Clouds billow at dusk above the
sea stacks known as the Twelve
Apostles, in Victoria, Australia.
CONTENTS
Chapter 1 Introduction 6
Chapter 2 Equipment 10
Chapter 3 Exposure 26
Chapter 4 Composition 56
Chapter 5 Light 78
Chapter 6 Color 106
Chapter 7 Creativity 120
Chapter 8 Locations & subjects 130
Chapter 9 Digital workow 164
Chapter 10 Using your images 176
Glossary 186
Index 190
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 5 28/7/11 10:13:44
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 6 28/7/11 10:13:44
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 7 28/7/11 10:13:45
Landscape Photography 8
Landscape photography
When pioneering landscape photographer
Carleton Watkins set out in the 1860s to
capture scenes of the Yosemite Valley in the
American West, few could have imagined
just how photography of the planets
natural spaces would go on to impact the
public consciousness. From encouraging
countless millions or even billions of people
to seek out the places featured to driving
major conservation initiatives, landscape
photographs have become a dening
inuence on what it means to be a human
being living on this Earth.
Open season
One of the inherent appeals of landscape
photography as a genre is that it is open to
anyone who owns a camera and who can
step outside of their own back door. There
is no absolute need to own the best, or even
good equipmentthough of course it helps
in the pursuit of ultimate image qualityand
landscapes of one form or another exist
within walking distance of just about every
house that has ever been built.
There is no great level of training needed to
be able to point the camera at any scene that
creates an emotional response and to capture
an image that will remind the photographer at
least of his or her connection with that place at
that particular moment in time.
Personal view
As the genre has matured, the denition of
what constitutes a landscape photograph
has altered, too, further widening its popular
appeal. Whether you love photographing
the grand scene as the pioneers did or prefer
seeking out more intimate, close-up views,
we all have the ability to become landscape
photographers, connected by a love for
wilderness, wherever it can be found.
There has never been a more exciting time to be a landscape
photographer. Powerful new cameras, accessible locations, and
sources of inspiration aboundand in our otherwise frenetic
world the sense of peace to be found in the great outdoors can be
transformative.
GRAND SCENE (right)
The classic big view, such as this
scene in Lofoten, Norway, is still as
popular as ever with photographers
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 8 28/7/11 10:13:47
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 9 28/7/11 10:13:47
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 10 2/8/11 09:46:51
CHAPTER 2 EQUIPMENT
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 11 2/8/11 09:46:52
Landscape Photography 12
One of the rst decisions to make before
investing in lots of equipment for landscape
photography is just how you envisage
undertaking your photography. If you are
likely to shoot most of your images at
locations that are within a short walking
distance of your car, then you can buy as
much equipment as your budget will allow.
You can also pay less attention to the weight
of the items you are considering and focus,
instead, on the other features.
If, on the other hand, you foresee that you
will want to get away from the more easily
accessible locations and venture off into the
hills and mountains in search of rarer images,
then it is essential that you dont overload
While it is true that great equipment does not make a great landscape
photographer, the right kit can make the difference between getting the
shot you are after or missing it, so plan your equipment needs carefully.
Choosing equipment
yourself. Instead of buying several prime lenses,
it might be worth getting one zoom lens that
covers the same focal range. Your tripod will
need to go with you everywhere, too, and
these can be weighty and awkward enough
to carry to seriously dent your enthusiasm for
getting out there. So, if you can afford one
made from lighter materials, such as carbon
ber, then you will reap the benets on those
tough hikes.
Invest in the best quality of gear that you
can and if you have to choose then opt for
good lenses rst and foremost, and then a good
tripod. You will very likely upgrade your camera
quite regularly anyway, whereas good lenses
should serve you well for many years.
Beginner
Entry-level DSLR
2870mm lens
Aluminum tripod
Polarizer lter
Cable release
Hotshoe spirit level
Kits for every budget
Intermediate
Mid-level DSLR
2470mm lens
70200mm lens
Carbon-ber tripod
Polarizer lter
Neutral-density graduated lter kit
Cable release
Hotshoe spirit level
Advanced
High-end DSLR or medium-format
camera
1635mm lens
2470mm lens
70200mm lens
1.4x teleconverter lens
Carbon-ber tripod
Polarizer lter
Neutral-density graduated lter kit
Neutral-density lter
Cable release
Hotshoe spirit level
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 12 28/7/11 10:13:52
The Expanded Guide 13
There are superb cameras on the market these days to suit
everybodys needs, tastes, and budget. You just have to decide what
you want.
What type of camera?
If you are in the market to buy any type
of digital camera, then you are going to
be completely spoilt for choice. Fierce and
increasing competition across all the sectors
(aside from large format) has led to a glut of
highly specied cameras being available for
pretty much bargain prices. So, how do you
go about choosing the one that best suits your
needs? Following the steps below should help
to narrow things down.
Decide your budget
To some degree, this will govern both the type
and the quality of the camera body that you
can getthough it is hard to buy a truly bad
camera these days. The key to getting the most
value for your money is to be very specic
about the features that you really need on the
camera. Modern cameras have so many fancy
functions that it is easy to be swayed by an
extensive list of capabilities that in reality you
will rarely or never use.
Its not that you can easily avoid getting
excess features bundled into the package, but
if you have a clear idea of which ones are the
most important for your type of photography,
then you can focus on the quality of those,
rather than the superuous ones touted by
the salesman.
DSLR
The digital single lens reex (or DSLR) camera is
the type used by just about every professional
and advanced amateur landscape photographer.
That is not to say that beginners cannot jump
straight into this part of the market, since
the main camera manufacturers have been
doing their utmost to tempt beginners by
manufacturing DSLRs with built-in help guides
and a host of technological advances that
signicantly increase the likelihood of taking
awless landscape photos in almost any situation.
SONY ALPHA DSLR
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 13 28/7/11 10:13:52
Landscape Photography 14
A big advantage of buying a DSLR is that there
is usually a comprehensive lens system available
to go with it, offering the maximum level of
exibility and potential for the system to grow
with you as your photography improves. DSLRs
also offer greater control over composition
compared to most other types of camera,
thanks to their mirror and pentaprism systems,
which give up to 100% image accuracy through
their viewnders. They also give maximum
levels of control over exposure and the other
main functions of the camera, which is ideal for
working in tricky lighting conditions.
The top-end DSLRs often feature better
weatherproong seals on the body, a real bonus
for landscape photographers, and are more
rugged than models farther down the range.
They do tend to be big and heavy, though. Mid-
range DSLRs have improved enormously thanks
to competition in this area of the market, and
are very worthy of consideration, even for
professional photographers. Entry-level DSLRs
are also improving in leaps and bounds, and
often match their more expensive stablemates
in some of the features they offer.
Full frame
The term full frame refers to DSLRs with
sensors that match the size of an old frame
of lm (36mm x 24mm). Because they have
big sensors and thus dont need to pack in
the pixels, the image quality is often, though
not always, better than cameras based on
smaller sensor formats, with lower noise
levels at high ISO ratings and a wider dynamic
range, to better capture the subtle light in
an image: an important consideration for
landscape photographers. Using a full-frame
camera means that your lenses will operate at
their stated angle of view and wont need a
crop factor applied, as they do with smaller-
format-sensor cameras. Full-frame sensors are,
however, more expensive to manufacture, and
the camera prices reect that.
NIKON D3S FULL FRAME DSLR
CANON 600D MID-RANGE DSLR
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 14 28/7/11 10:13:53
The Expanded Guide 15
APS-C
This sensor format, which stands for
Advanced Photo System type C, uses a sensor
approximately sized at 25.1mm x 16.7mm,
which signicantly reduces manufacturing
costs compared to full-frame sensors. Cameras
featuring APS-C sensors have become
immensely popular, since they offer very good
image quality at lower prices. A downside for
landscape photographers who love using their
wide-angle lenses is that the smaller sensor
introduces a crop factor, which reduces the
angle of view of any lens attached to the
camera. A camera with a 1.6x crop factor turns
a 24mm lens into a 38mm lens (in equivalent
terms to an old 35mm lm or full-frame digital
camera). To get an equivalent to a 24mm lens
in APS-C format, you need to use a 15mm
lens, which is more technically challenging and
expensive to produce.
Micro Four Thirds
These sensors are based on the Four Thirds
system developed by Panasonic and Olympus.
The sensor is smaller than APS-C, measuring
just 17.3mm x 13mm. The Micro systems also
do not include a mirror or pentaprism, instead
relying on an electronic view nder (EVF), which
allows the manufacturers to make far smaller
and lighter cameras.
Compact
Although compact cameras have improved
enormously in recent years and now offer
high megapixel counts and a wide range of in-
camera software for adjusting your images, they
still fall short as serious landscape cameras, and
so are best avoided unless you just want to take
landscape snapshots.
Medium format
Although they are signicantly more expensive
than DSLRs, digital medium-format cameras are
preferred by many landscape photographers
(lm-based medium-format cameras are quite a
bargain these days if you want to try the format
out). One of the big advantages of medium-
format over smaller-format cameras is that the
sensors do not feature an anti-aliasing lter, so
the images you get from them are signicantly
sharper out of the camera and they resolve
more detail.
Large format
If you want to have fun and try something more
challenging, then large-format lm cameras are
still very much a favorite for some landscape
photographers. The quality of the images you
get from them is simply breathtaking, but they
are rather unwieldy to use and quite a load to
carry around on location.
OLYMPUS E-5 FOUR THIRDS DSLR
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 15 28/7/11 10:13:53
Landscape Photography 16
Ultra-wide-angle (1420mm)
Wide enough to include detailed very near
foregrounds all the way through to very distant
backgrounds, these lenses give an extraordinary
perspective on the landscape. You have to
compose an image with great care, though,
since they quickly introduce an unnatural look
if they are tilted up or the main subjects are
placed too close to the edges of the frame,
where the distortion of the lens is at its worst.
Wide-angle (2435mm)
Lenses in this range are the workhorses of any
landscape photographer. They provide a far
more natural look than ultra-wide-angle lenses,
yet retain enough angle of view to include large
parts of the scene in the image.
Standard (5070mm)
A much underused lens range in landscape
photography, these lenses offer the most
realistic portrayal of a landscape relative to our
own human vision. They can also be among the
cheapest lenses to buy, so it is always worth
popping one into your camera bag.
Lenses Telephoto (85200mm)
After wide-angle lenses, the telephoto range
is the next most popular with landscape
photographers. They compress the perspective
and are ideal for picking out smaller sections
of an expansive landscape, or for recording
abstract details.
Extreme telephoto (200mm plus)
These large lenses signicantly compress
perspective, which can be great for making
abstract images of the landscape. Point them
at a rolling range of hills and the ridgelines will
look like they are stacked one upon the other.
Other lenses
There are several other lenses that can be of
use to landscape photographers. Tilt-shift lenses
give ne levels of control over the depth of eld
in an image by allowing you to move the front
element of the lens parallel to the sensor plane
(shift) or by tilting it. Then there are fun lenses,
like the Lensbaby, which gives only a very tiny
sweet spot of sharply focused image, with
the rest of the image being very softly rendered.
NIKON AF-S NIKKOR 24MM F/1.4G ED WIDE-
ANGLE LENS
CANON EF 300MM F/2.8L IS II USM LENS
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 16 28/7/11 10:13:53
The Expanded Guide 17
Camera support
Tripods
An essential part of a landscape photographers
armory is a tripod. No other piece of your
equipment can bring you greater joy or more
frustration, so it is wise to spend quite some
time considering the options available. They
may seem like simple, three-legged tools, but
the level of sophistication available these days is
quite astonishing. Fundamental tripod features
to consider for landscape photographers are:
Maximum working height The height of
the tripod without the tripods center column
being extended is crucial. You dont want
to be bent over double to look through the
viewnder, and extending the center column
turns your tripod into more of a monopod,
with subsequent loss of stability. Dont forget
to add the height of your camera onto the
maximum height of the tripod to get the true
working height.
Weight and rigidity Searching for great
landscapes to capture usually entails a fair amount
of hiking, so nding a lightweight tripod will
signicantly improve the chances of you carrying
it with you on any trip. Carbon-ber tripods
offer superb levels of rigidity and weigh up to
a third less than aluminum equivalentsthe
downside is that carbon-ber tripods are
far more expensive. There are now other
lightweight materials being used to make
tripods, such as basalt, which produces
lighter tripods than aluminum, but
heavier than carbon ber, and the prices
for basalt tripods lie between the two.
Aluminum tripods come in at the lowest prices
and offer excellent rigidity, albeit at generally
greater weights.
Leg lock mechanism There are two
methods of locking tripod legs in place: lever
locks or twist locks. There is no right or wrong
choice with these; it purely comes down to
personal preference. Whichever system you
go for, make sure that the locks can be easily
operated while wearing gloves.
Tripod heads
Selecting a good tripod head is possibly more
important than getting good tripod legs. There
are many varieties and brands, and this is
generally a product where you get what you
pay for in terms of quality, ease of use, and
durability. Make sure the head you choose can
cope with the overall weight of
the camera and lenses you want
to use with it. Ball heads are fast
and easy to use, but making ne
adjustments to your composition will
be more difcult, since the head
can move in all directions once the
head is unlocked. Heads where
you can separately adjust the
horizontal and vertical planes of
movement give much better
control over composition, but
can be a little slower
to use.
STURDY TRIPODS ARE ESSENTIAL
on t forget
nto the
et the true
for great
a fair amount
pod will
ou carrying
tripods
gh up to
sthe
are
her
make
es
rices
wo.
cope with th
the camera
to use with
and easy to use
adjustments to
be more dif
can move i
head is un
you can s
horizont
movem
contro
can
to u
STURDY TRIPO
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 17 28/7/11 10:13:53
Landscape Photography 18
Neutral-density graduated lter
If you decide to buy only one type of lter, then
make it neutral-density graduated. These lters
graduate from a neutral gray at the top to clear
at the bottom. They are commonly used to
balance the light between sky and foreground,
thus allowing the limited dynamic range of
the camera sensor to capture more detail in
both the highlight and the shadow areas of
the photograph. The lters come in varying
strengths, so the effect can be ne-tuned.
Although they are available to screw onto the
front of your lens, this type offers no scope for
manipulating where the split in the graduation
effect falls on the image. The square and
rectangular lter types that t into a separate
lter holder are the best option, since then you
can slide the lter up and down in the holder to
place the graduation effect exactly where you
want it.
Filters and accessories Neutral-density lter
Unlike the previous lters, these do not
graduate at all and are neutral gray across the
entire surface. The increasingly popular 10-stop
neutral-density lters give the opportunity
to use far slower shutter speeds even during
the brightest parts of the day, in order to blur
movement of water, clouds, or other elements
of the landscape. Also they are available in
varying strengths.
Polarizer lter
Another essential lter for your kit bag, the
polarizer helps to eliminate glare and reections
from surfaces, and to saturate colors, especially
the blues in the sky. They work most effectively
when the camera is set at 90 degrees to the
direction of the sun. They can either screw onto
the lens lter thread or t into a separate lter
holder, such as those sold by Lee Filters and
Cokin in their P lter series.
HARD OR SOFT ND GRADS?
ND grad lters come with either hard or
soft transitions. Hard is good for clean
horizons; soft is best for busy horizons.
TOO MUCH LIGHT!
Using a neutral density lter allows you to use
slower shutter speeds to introduce motion into
daytime landscape images.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 18 28/7/11 10:13:54
The Expanded Guide 19
Accessories
There are a few extra accessories that are very
useful for landscape photography. A bubble
spirit level that plugs into the hotshoe of your
camera is great for ensuring that the horizons
are straight in your compositions. Remote
shutter-release cables allow you to trigger
the shutter-release button without touching
the camera, which signicantly reduces the
possibility of your images being blurred by
camera shake. The most sophisticated cable
releases boast other useful features, such as
multiple-frame shooting at customized time
intervals. If you are shooting with a tripod in
very windy conditions, a sand or rock bag,
which attaches to the hook at the bottom of
the tripods center column, can be lled on
location to provide a substantial amount of
added stability.
BLUE, BLUE SKY
A polarizer helps to saturate the blues in an image and reduce glare,
which helps to add contrast to the scene, as seen here with the clouds.
HOTSHOE SPIRIT LEVEL
REMOTE SHUTTER RELEASE CORD
Canon EOS 1DS MKII with
16-35mm lens at 22mm: (left)
1/320 sec. at f/7.1; (right) 1/180
sec. at f/7.1, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 19 2/8/11 17:20:54
Landscape Photography 20
Any fool can be uncomfortable in the outdoors, but if you want to
maximize your enjoyment of being in wild places and allow your mind
to focus solely on photographic matters, then good-quality outdoor
gear is essential.
Outdoor equipment
Waterproof clothing
A good waterproof/windproof jacket and, when
appropriate, waterproof pants are the most
fundamental items of outdoor gear you will
buy, so research them carefully and buy the
best that you can afford. The difference they
will make on any inclement day, as you head
into the mountains during a storm or wait for
the light to be right in an exposed place, will be
signicant. If you are too cold or wet, it is highly
likely that you will abort the photo session
before you get your shot.
Key things to look for in a jacket are: a wired
hood that stays out of your face in strong
winds; sufcient ventilation options (you dont
want to be taking your jacket on and off in
variable weather); and a large map pocket,
which can also double as a temporary place
to store a lens. With the jacket and pants, it is
worth looking for those that are designed to
cope with a good range of movement. You will
often end up shooting from low angles, so you
want your waterproof clothing to move with
you rather than restrain you.
Footwear
Depending on the type of terrain you are going
to be covering during your location shoots, your
choice of footwear can make the difference
between an enjoyable hike and a miserable
trudge. Sturdy boots that give good ankle
support are advisable, especially as you will be
carrying signicant loads on your back, making
you more susceptible to turning over on your
ankle. Boots with a waterproof lining, such as
Gore-Tex, are ideal for keeping your feet warm
and dry, although they can be a little too warm
in hot climates.
Outdoor accessories
There is a host of other items of outdoor gear
that may be useful on a landscape shoot. Top
of the list would be a headlamp. These not
only give superb, directional lighting when you
are accessing locations in low light or at night,
but also leave both your hands free to get on
with taking photographsindispensable. Also,
I never go on a shoot without a pair of thin
thermal gloves. They allow you to use all the
controls on your camera, but stop your hands
freezing and can be worn under a thicker pair of
gloves in particularly cold conditions.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 20 28/7/11 10:13:54
The Expanded Guide 21
Setting up your camera
Image format
RAW
The two main image formats used within digital
cameras are RAW and JPEG. The big advantage
of shooting in RAW format is that the camera
captures all of the available data, which means
there is far more scope for adjusting the image
later using RAW processing software. So, RAW
is the format of choice for serious amateur and
professional photographers. One disadvantage
to the RAW format is that because the camera
captures more data, fewer images t onto the
memory cardalthough this is less of an issue
with the large-capacity cards available today.
You also have to process RAW images before
you can convert them to a format such as TIFF
or JPEG, which are more commonly accessible
by other computers. A little known fact is that
when you shoot in RAW format, the camera
also creates a fairly good sized JPEG image,
which is embedded within the RAW image. This
JPEG image is the one that you see on the LCD
display on the back of the camera after taking
a photo. There is a free and very useful piece of
software called Instant JPEG from RAW, which
can quickly strip out the JPEG image for it to be
useddownload it from: www.mtapesdesign.
com/instant-jpeg-from-raw-utility/.
JPEG
The JPEG format is a compression format, so
the camera strips out data that it deems to
be not important to the overall look of the
image. This means there is less data to work
with if you are adjusting the image later. JPEG
images take up less space on your memory
cards and are instantly shareable straight out
of the camera with other people using other
computers/software.
Some cameras offer the option of shooting
both RAW and JPEG formats at the same
time, which may be useful if you need to send
some off quickly from a shoot, but also want
the maximum level of manipulation available.
Using this option, though, does increase
further the demand on memory space on your
storage cards. If you opt to shoot only in JPEG
then inspect the camera menu and ensure that
the Image Quality is set to its highest setting,
often referred to as Fine or Super Fine in
the menu.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 21 28/7/11 10:13:54
Landscape Photography 22
Color space
The color space on a camera dictates the extent
of colors that can be captured in a photo at the
point of pressing the shutter-release button.
There are two common color spaces that are
used: sRGB and Adobe RGB. Almost all digital
cameras are sold with the default color space
set to sRGB (or Super Red Green Blue) and
although this sounds like a good option from
its name, it is in fact a very limited color space.
It was developed to represent the limited color
palette that can be displayed on the screens of
most computers.
Adobe RGB (also referred to as Adobe RGB
1998) is a wider color space. It is the preferable
option for shooting landscape images, since
it captures more color tones, especially in the
blues and greens, which are crucial in many
landscape photos. It is easy to convert an Adobe
RGB image to sRGB later for distribution to
other computer users, but you cannot convert
an image originally captured in sRGB to Adobe
RGB and recover the missing colors. So, it is
always better to shoot images in the Adobe
RGB format. Almost all digital cameras, even
the high-end professional
models, are sold with the
color space set to sRGB;
the settings menu needs to
be accessed to change it to
Adobe RGB.
SRGB VS ADOBE RGB
The sRGB space records less
data in the green and blue
channels than Adobe RGB.
x
y
sRGB
ADOBE RGB
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 22 2/8/11 17:20:56
The Expanded Guide 23
Thoroughly researching a location is just as important as setting
up your camera gear correctly if you want to get the best possible
landscape photographs. Luckily, it has never been easier.
Location planning and research
Researching locations
It doesnt matter if you are planning to
photograph your local patch or off to exotic
locations, the more you know about a location
before you go, the better your images will
be. As well as nding out the simple logistical
information you need, reading about and
seeing other photos of a location will help to
build a mental picture that can be invaluable in
previsualizing the shots you want to obtain.
Maps and books
Whether you look through traditional paper
copies or go to the online versions, there
is nothing better than a map to help build
a visual image of a place you are going to
visit. You can use them to look for potential
vantage points and clues as to how the light
may fall on the landscape at different times
of the day.
If you have online access to Google Maps,
then the 3D imaging they offer when you zoom
right into a landscape is very useful for making
decisions on where to go. Read as many books
or online articles about the place as you can,
not just ones about the landscape itself, but also
anything from which you can glean background
information, such as the history, geology, or
culture of the location. This can all feed into
your composition decisions later on, when you
might be able to include some visual references
to this background information.
Online images
There are few places, if any, on the planet
that havent been photographed, so there is
a wealth of research material available on the
internet. Search stock image libraries, Google
Images, or the web sites of photographers local
to your chosen location. This shouldnt act as a
prompt to copy what has already been done,
but rather to give you the visual foundation
to conjure up your own personal take on the
place. I often carry with me a printout of the
thumbnail images that I come across and like,
just to act as a quick reminder in the eld.
Photography forums
The advice of a local photographer can prove
invaluable. So, once you know where you are
heading, try posting on photography web
forums to see if anyone can offer inside advice
on the location. You will be surprised at how
forthcoming other photographers can be.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 23 28/7/11 10:13:55
Landscape Photography 24
Sunrise/Sunset times
The hour or so around sunrise and sunset is the
golden time for landscape photography, so it
is imperative to know exactly what time the sun
is coming up or going down to be able to plan
your shoot. There are many sources for nding
out the times online, including
www.sunrisesunset.com.
Tide times
If you are planning a coastal location shoot,
you will need the times of high and low tide
for the day concerned. There are two high tides
and two low tides per day, roughly six hours
apart. At low tide, more of the shoreline will be
on show, which may give you interesting rock
features to include in your images. High tide
holds more dangers, since it is easy to become
cut off if you stray too far from a coastal
access point. Tide timetables are available
online for many locations around the globe. Be
aware though that they can vary markedly for
locations that are relatively close together.
GOLDEN HOUR
The half hour before and the half hour after
sunrise and sunset often offer the best
conditions for landscape photography.
RISING OR FALLING TIDE
Knowing tide times will not only keep you safe,
but also help to shape your thoughts on where
to go to get the best coast shots.
Weather
Nothing will make or break a location shoot
like the weather you encounter. It pays rich
dividends to know as much about both general
weather patterns for the area and more time-
specic forecasts for when you plan to be there.
Generally, the times when there are signicant
changes occurring in weather systems give
rise to the best landscape photography
opportunities. Blue skies make us all feel better
in ourselves, but they are usually too bland to
be of use to outdoor photographers. Weather
forecasts become much more accurate when
they are for the next 1224 hours, so check
them out as close to the time of your shoot
as you possibly can. More often than not,
though, you simply have to take a chance on
the weather being right for your shoot. Some of
the elements that make great photographs are
unpredictable and so eeting that you simply
have to be there waiting with your gear set up.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 24 2/8/11 17:20:56
AGBC 210443
IS THIS OK? IF NOT
PLEASE SUPPLY - OK
The Expanded Guide 25
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH1+2 1-25.indd 25 28/7/11 10:13:55
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 26 28/7/11 10:16:22
CHAPTER 3 EXPOSURE
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 27 28/7/11 10:16:24
Landscape Photography 28
Understanding exposure
The most important aspect of any landscape
photograph to get right, or just about right, is
the exposure. Thankfully, exposure, at its most
fundamental level at least, is also one of the
easiest technical aspects of photography to get to
grips with. There are only three factors involved
in controlling the exposure levels of an image:
aperture, shutter speed, and, to a lesser degree,
the ISO rating selected within the camera.
The in-built metering systems in digital
cameras today are, on the whole, outstanding,
so the camera will do much of the work for you,
Get the exposure on your images right and it will stand out from the
crowd; get it wrong and the image wont get a second glance.
LIGHT LAYERS (Right)
If there are layers of light
and shadow in a scene
then it can make it more
difcult to know which
part to expose for. I
wanted to keep the dark
shadows in this image,
so exposed for the
highlighted rock.
especially when you are photographing scenes
that have a fairly average overall brightness,
such as landscapes with deep green elds
and mid-blue sky. However, outside of these
average scenes, and certainly as you become
more creative with your photography, you will
encounter more difcult exposure challenges.
By improving your skills and increasing your
experience in subtly manipulating the three
governing factors of exposure, the better you
will become at pulling the desired amount of
detail out of any landscape scene.
TRICKY LIGHTING
Shooting into the sun makes it difcult for
the cameras auto-exposure to cope. For this
shot, a spot reading was taken off the sky.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
2470mm lens, 1/100
sec. at f/18
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 28 28/7/11 10:16:25
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 29 28/7/11 10:16:26
Landscape Photography 30
The word aperture simply relates to the size
of the hole in the shutter of the lens when
a photograph is taken. This in turn controls
the depth of eld in the resulting imagethe
amount of the image that is sharply focused.
The bigger the physical aperture, the more light
Aperture
APERTURE SETTINGS
The aperture settings move in f-stops and the
quoted numbers are inverse, so the bigger f-stop
numbers represent the smallest aperture holes,
and the smallest f-stop numbers represent the
largest aperture holes. The available f-stop range
will vary from lens to lens, but will go something
like this: f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22, f/32.
is let in during the exposure. Big apertures are
associated with very shallow depths of eld,
where only a small part of the image is in
sharp focus. Small apertures let in less light and
produce results where much of, or even the
entire image is sharply focused.
These are known as the full f-stops, and they will
likely be broken down into one-third f-stops, too,
giving you numbers between those shown. Each
full f-stop setting lets in half as much light as the
larger aperture preceding it.
f/2.8 f/4 f/5.6 f/8 f/11 f/16
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 30 28/7/11 10:16:27
31 The Expanded Guide
ISOLATING THE SUBJECT
Using a large aperture, such as f/5.6 or more can help to isolate a
single subject from an otherwise busy scene. Take care about the
exact point you focus on.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
70200mm lens, 1/500
sec. at f/5.6, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 31 2/8/11 17:21:59
Landscape Photography 32
The amount of depth of eld achieved at any
given aperture setting varies with the type of
lens you are using. A wide-angle lens offers a
much greater depth of eld at a given aperture
setting than a telephoto lens, due to the
Lens choice and depth of eld
HYPERFOCAL DISTANCE
The way depth of eld works means that the area that is acceptably
sharp at any given aperture is not split evenly in front of and behind
the focus point. Instead, around one-third of the depth of eld zone
falls in front of the focus point and the other two-thirds lie behind
the focus point. This knowledge can be used to calculate and set
the focus point in a scene to the hyperfocal distancea term that
refers to the focus, at any given aperture, being set at the closest
possible point while maintaining the depth of eld zone reaching
out to innity. This ensures that you get the most possible detail
acceptably sharp, from the very near foreground (typically around
the hyperfocal distance) all the way through to the far distance
background. There are various depth of eld and hyperfocal
distance calculators available online, including from the following
web sites:
www.dofmasters.com (they also offer a DOF calculator for
iPhone/iPod Touch)
www.bobatkins.com
different magnication factors of the lenses.
Depth of eld is also inuenced by the distance
from the subject, with closer subjects giving
relatively less depth of eld than subjects that
are farther away.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 32 28/7/11 10:16:28
33 The Expanded Guide
WIDE-ANGLE SHARPNESS
It is easy to get all of a scene sharply focused when
using a wide-angle lens. This image was shot with the
lens at 16mm so f/18 provided front to back sharpness.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
1635mm lens, 1/50
sec. at f/18, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 33 28/7/11 10:16:29
Landscape Photography 34
Selecting either a large or a small aperture is one
of the most powerful creative tools available to
landscape photographers. The classic school of
landscape photography dictates that you should
always be aiming to capture the maximum
amount of sharp detail throughout the image,
from near foreground to far background, to
allow the various relationships between the
elements of the composition to be revealed
without biasing the viewera sort of it is what
it is approach. However, there is a growing
movement of landscape photographers who are
using large apertures and very shallow depths of
ApertureControlling depth of eld
eld to create an alternative way to engage the
viewer. These images rely on precisely picking out
the intended subject in the composition and then
ensuring that this plane is in sharp focus while
the other planes, both in front of and behind the
main subject, are very softly focused. This creates
an irresistible pull on the viewers eye to the main
subject, but the brain still takes some account of
the blurred surroundings to add context. Both
approaches are equally valid, so it is well worth
experimenting with both to see which appeals
most. Some examples of these techniques are
shown on the following pages.
Although it is useful to use the smallest
available aperture to ensure that everything
in your landscape photograph is in focus, the
compromise is that camera lenses do not
perform at their optimum levels of sharpness
at either extreme of possible aperture settings.
Most lenses produce their sharpest images
somewhere in the middle of the range of possible
apertures, so if the scene you are shooting does
not demand an extremely small aperture (i.e.,
there is not very near foreground and very far
background parts to the scene), then the nal
image will be sharper if you use the biggest
aperture that you can while maintaining the
depth of eld necessary for the entire scene to be
in focus. Each lens will have a different optimum
aperture, so test all your lenses and make note of
their sharpest apertures, so that you can aim to
use these as often as is practical in the eld.
HOW TO ACHIEVE ULTIMATE SHARPNESS
MID-RANGE APERTURES ARE BEST
Optimum aperture for this shot was f/18.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 34 2/8/11 17:22:01
35 The Expanded Guide
BLURRED BACKGROUNDS
With this shot it would have been easy to lose the main
subject. You dont need to be able to see the detail in the
background to know that it is also rock. The shallow depth
of eld, f/6.3, helps the pebbles to stand out.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
70200mm lens, 0.5 sec. at
f/6.3, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 35 28/7/11 10:16:29
Landscape Photography 36
This shot was taken very quickly when the sun suddenly broke through the storm clouds
during the late afternoon. It is a tabletop mountain called Jugurthas Table, in Tunisia.
The sunlight on the rocks was more than enough to draw the viewers attention to it, so
I could safely use a small aperture to record full detail in the rest of the scene, without
risking it becoming too confused.
Big depth of eld 1
Exposure mode: Manual
Sensitivity: ISO 50 (Velvia)
Shutter speed: 1/60 sec.
Aperture: f/22
Support: Tripod
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 36 19/8/11 09:49:12
37 The Expanded Guide
Down in the slot canyons of Arizona, in the USA, there is relatively little light available
no matter what time of day you are down there. The main subject in this image was the
patterns in the canyon walls and there was no dominant part of the wall that I wanted to
highlight by using a shallow depth of eld. Using f/20 allows all of the rich detail in the
rock to show through.
Big depth of eld 2
Exposure mode: Manual
Sensitivity: ISO 100
Shutter speed: 30 sec.
Aperture: f/20
Support: Tripod
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 37 19/8/11 09:49:14
Landscape Photography 38
This feather was stuck to the lower part of the canyon wall in one of the slot canyons near
Page in Arizona. Im not sure if it was naturally there or whether someone had placed
it. It made a great subject either way. I wanted to keep the viewer glued to the detail in
the feather while giving a feel of the canyon beyond. An aperture of f/7.1 let the middle
ground and background drift off softly.
Shallow depth of eld 1
Exposure mode: Manual
Sensitivity: ISO 100
Shutter speed: 1/500 sec.
Aperture: f/7.1
Support: Tripod
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 38 19/8/11 09:49:15
39 The Expanded Guide
This photo was taken around the battleelds of the Somme, in France. It was a very
somber experience and I was keen to try to convey what it felt like to be a soldier at the
time. They spent much of the time at ground level, either lying on open ground or down
in the trenches, so it felt natural to capture these poppies from the same perspective. The
shallow depth of eld ensured the scene remained simple.
Shallow depth of eld 2
Exposure mode: Manual
Sensitivity: ISO 100
Shutter speed: 1/500 sec.
Aperture: f/5.6
Support: Handheld
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 39 19/8/11 09:49:17
Landscape Photography 40
While aperture choices control the amount of
light hitting the camera sensor through the size
of the hole in the shutter, the shutter speed
controls the level of light entering the camera
through the speed with which it opens and
closes the shutter. The faster the shutter opens
and closes, the less light gets in; the longer
it stays open, the more light gets in. Most
ExposureShutter speed
SUBTLE WATER MOVEMENT
A shutter speed of 1/160 sec. was just right to allow the movement
in the breaking waves to bur slightly to make the image more
dynamic, without the sea becoming blurred overall.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
70200mm lens, 1/160
sec. at f/14, ISO 100
DSLR cameras offer shutter speed ranges from
30 seconds to around 1/8000 of a second,
although they all also offer a Bulb setting,
where the shutter can be opened and closed for
as long as you desire. One of the creative side
effects of using different shutter speeds is the
ability to determine whether a moving subject in
the photograph appears sharp or blurred.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 40 28/7/11 10:16:34
The Expanded Guide 41
THE YING AND YANG OF EXPOSURE
Shutter speed and aperture work
together to control the overall amount
of light entering the camera. The amount
of light in a scene is a given factor at
any particular point in time, but there
are numerous combinations of shutter
speed and aperture that can be used to
correctly record the amount of light in
the scene on the sensor.
If you choose a faster shutter speed,
you also need to make the aperture
bigger to compensate, and if you choose
a slower shutter speed, the aperture
needs to be smaller to maintain the
same overall level of exposure. On a
bright sunny day and using ISO 100, a
classic setting to use for landscapes is
the so-called sunny 16 rule, or 1/125
of a second at f/16. However, that is just
one possible combination of settings
that are correct for those particular light
conditions.
You could also use, for example, 1/500
of a second at f/8 or 1/60 of a second
at f/22 and the overall exposure would
remain the same for the image, but in the
rst image you would freeze the motion
more of any moving elements in the
frame and have less depth of eld. In the
second example, moving elements would
appear more blurry, but you would have
a greater depth of eld, so more of the image in focus.
These are the constant decisions and compromises
that every photographer needs to make with any given
sceneso this is where you can apply your creative
vision to what you want the nal image to look like.
SUNNY SIXTEEN!
1/125 sec. at f/16 works on sunny days.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 41 28/7/11 10:16:34
Landscape Photography 42
Landscapes are not the most dynamic of
photography subjects, so it is safe to assume
that generally you do not need to be using the
upper levels of your cameras shutter speeds
to be able to freeze the action in a landscape.
However, there are often many moving elements
in any landscape scene, and shutter speed
can play an important role in determining the
ultimate look and mood of an image. Some of
the more obvious examples of moving elements
in landscape photography are water and clouds.
If you are shooting a scene that includes a
river or the sea, then to freeze the motion
you will need to use a relatively fast shutter
speedaround 1/200 of a second should sufce
for most moving water, but it depends on how
rapidly the water is moving.
A tumbling waterfall might need a shutter
speed closer to 1/500 of a second to freeze the
motion, while a gently lapping sea might only
require 1/60 of a second. Your proximity to and
Shutter speedUsing fast shutter speeds
alignment with the subject also play a part in
the shutter speed equationthe closer you are,
the faster the shutter speed you need to freeze
the action, and if the water is moving across
the frame, rather than toward or away from
you, then, again, you must use a faster shutter
speed to stop the movement in the image.
The same thought process applies to clouds:
the faster they are moving on the wind, the
faster the shutter speed you need to stop them
from blurring in the image. There are many
other elements that move within a landscape,
including the sun and moon, tree branches and
leaves, and even long grasses blowing in the
wind. All of these need to be carefully assessed
and the movement of each factored into the
calculations for shutter speed.
One of the advantages of trying to freeze
any motion in a landscape is that the higher
shutter speeds may allow you to shoot handheld
rather than using a tripod or monopod. If you
are out hiking in the mountains and dont relish
carrying the extra weight of a tripod, then
committing to using faster shutter speeds is one
way to get around the problem of camera shake
if you do not have a support for the camera.
Also, by using higher shutter speeds, you are
enforcing the use of wider apertures, too, which
can help to dictate the creative appearance of
your images.
COUNTER THE WIND (Right)
Fast shutter speeds can be very useful on windy days
to stop the motion in trees and grasses, for example.
A speed of 1/320 sec. kept this wheat eld calm.
FREEZING WATER
A shutter speed of 1/800 sec. has frozen
individual drops of water in this image.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 42 2/8/11 17:22:03
The Expanded Guide 43
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 43 28/7/11 10:16:35
Landscape Photography 44
If using fast shutter speeds to freeze all
movement harks back to the classic forms of
landscape photography, then utilizing slow
shutter speeds is most denitely a technique of
the modern landscape movement. With our own
eyes we tend to see the world as if it is all shot
with fast shutter speeds, so using slower shutter
speeds immediately injects a freshness of vision
into your images, giving an abstract expression of
time and motion.
Rather than being caught up in the innite
detail of the moving elements, slow shutter
speeds allow us to immerse ourselves in the soft
and slightly dreamlike motion of water, clouds,
tree branches, and grasses. Some photographers
may feel that it is all a little too surreal at times,
and that the technique of blurring movement
Shutter speedUsing slow shutter speeds
with slow shutter speeds, despite being a
relatively recent trend in the history of landscape
photography, is already being overused and
over exaggerated.
As with many photographic techniques,
though, the ability to use them subtly and
in moderation is where the real skill resides.
Expose the ebb and ow of a tide for too many
seconds and it almost seems to disappear in
a swirl of ethereal milkiness. Try instead to
nd the shutter speed that allows the faster
moving parts of the sea, such as the breaking
waves, to display the blur of motion while the
slower moving areas retain some details, and
you will be on the way to creating powerful
and memorable photographs. Again, there are
no set speeds to use as it totally depends on
MILKY WATER
A popular effect of using slow
shutter speeds for shooting
moving water is that it can make
the water appear milky and soft.
A shutter speed of 4 sec. was
enough to create a lovely blur
in this small waterfall along the
Amal Coast, in Italy.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII, 1635mm
lens, 4 sec. at f/16, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 44 28/7/11 10:16:36
The Expanded Guide 45
A note of caution if you are trying your hand at
night photography and want to include the moon
in a slow shutter speed exposure. The moon rises
far more quickly than it appears to the naked eye,
so even relatively short exposure times can see
the moons movement recording on the image,
resulting in a blurry or even elongated moon. As
a general rule of thumb, you need to keep your
exposure times below 1/8 of a second to prevent
the moon from blurring across the image. This
exposure time changes with the focal length
of the lens you use, longer telephoto lenses
requiring faster shutter speeds than wider lenses.
MOON GHOSTS
the relative speed and direction of travel of the
subject, but try exposures of between half a
second and two seconds when you are taking
photos of the sea to start with.
Using a tripod or other rm support for
the camera becomes critical to success when
utilizing slow shutter speeds. With the shutter
being open for long enough to register any
vibration, it becomes more important still to use
a remote cable shutter release, so that you dont
have to touch the camera at all to operate it.
Even the gentlest of touches can result in minor
camera shake, which will soften or possibly
even ruin the nal image. Although the shutter
is open for some time and will capture a range
of motion, it is still crucial to try to time the
shutter release to coincide with the moving
elements being in the best possible position in
the frame and at the peak of their movement.
Any slow shutter speed photography usually
involves some hit and miss experimentation,
so study the image on the LCD screen (if you
are shooting digitally!) to see how it can be
improved each time.
STOP THE MOON!
An exposure of 1/40 sec. prevents blur.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 45 2/8/11 17:22:05
Landscape Photography 46
One of the key decisions to make when shooting moving water is just how much blur you
want to introduce. My preference is to show blur while still retaining some texture in the
water. Around 1/5 sec. is often the speed that produces this, though it depends on the
speed of the water and its direction of travel relative to the camera.
Shutter speed 1
Exposure mode: Manual
Sensitivity: ISO 100
Shutter speed: 1/5 sec.
Aperture: f/8
Support: Tripod
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 46 19/8/11 09:49:18
47 The Expanded Guide
Once your shutter speed goes to 2 seconds or slower, the water becomes a milky blur. Its
a nice effect, though a little overdone these days. Still, if this is the look you are after, then
it is a good idea to nd water that is tumbling over a boulder. The water thins over the
top of the boulder, revealing the rock texture, before turning silky white beyond it.
Shutter speed 2
Exposure mode: Manual
Sensitivity: ISO 100
Shutter speed: 5 sec.
Aperture: f/20
Support: Tripod
THIS ONE IS INTENDED FOR
THIS SECTION.
BUT SO IS 261512 AND 160416
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 47 19/8/11 09:49:20
Landscape Photography 48
Although it was always possible to use lms of
different speeds for varying light conditions, the
advent of digital cameras has brought the ISO
rating far more into the exposure equation than
it ever was before. The sheer ease with which
you can it from one ISO rating to another,
and back again, means that it is just as much
a useful exposure tool as aperture and shutter
speed in inuencing the creative mood of your
images. Moreover, recent advances in noise
reduction capabilities in digital camera sensors
at high ISO ratings also mean that the low-light
shooting capabilities of modern digital cameras
are nothing short of staggering. It is now
feasible to shoot day and night, and come back
with very usable images.
The ISO settings work in stops, too. So ISO
400 is two full stops faster than ISO 100, which
equates to being able to use a shutter speed of
1/500 of a second rather than 1/60 of a second
in the same light conditionsquite some
ExposureISO rating
difference in what can be achieved, especially
with handheld photography. Many new DSLR
cameras produce pretty much awless images
up to around ISO 800, and some high-end pro
cameras boast upper ISO ratings of 102,400,
which basically allows you to take photographs
of subjects at night or in low light when you
cant even see them with your naked eye!
So, if you nd yourself in a situation where
you need a great deal of depth of eld and
you need to use fast shutter speeds to freeze
the movement in a scene, then you can readily
increase the ISO rating on the camera to allow
you to achieve both goals. Higher ISO ratings do
tend to desaturate the colors slightly compared
to lower ISO ratings, and there is a slight
increase in the levels of noise in the image at
higher ISO settings, but the big advantage is
that now at least you can take a photograph
where before, in the days of lm, that was
almost impossible.
LOW LIGHT LIFE
The advent of digital SLR cameras
has opened up a whole new era
for photography. When the sun
has set, the cameras high ISO
capabilities can reproduce low
light scenes that were previously
impossible.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII with
2470mm lens at 30mm,
6 sec. at f/3.5, ISO 1600
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 48 2/8/11 17:22:07
The Expanded Guide 49
Controlling noise
There was always an increase in the grain
visible as you used lms with faster ISO ratings,
and there is a similar issue, called noise, with
using faster ISO ratings on digital cameras, too.
Noise appears as blotchy patches and becomes
more noticeable in large areas of continuous
color and tone, such as the sky. Generally, noise
levels rise as you increase the ISO rating, but
over the last few years great advances have
been made by the manufacturers in controlling
noise across a wider range of ISO settings. So,
with the latest cameras, you can generally shoot
at ISO 400 with little concern for the quality of
the image deteriorating to a noticeable extent.
With some of the best cameras, this even
applies to ISO 800 and maybe ISO 1600, too.
Beyond this, noise is an issue that needs to
be taken into account when you are employing
a shift in ISO rating to help with the overall
exposure of an image. Another cause of noise in
an image is heat generated by the sensor itself.
The longer the exposure time, the more heat is
generated, so once you are looking at exposure
times of more than a few seconds then, again,
it is good to be aware that the compromise of
doing this is increased noise in the nal image.
The best way to deal with unavoidable noise
in an image is by using the excellent software
available that can analyze a photo and reduce
noise levels without impacting the quality of
the image too much. Adobe Lightroom, from
Version 3 onward, has excellent noise reduction
capabilities included. In addition, there are some
stand-alone packages that also provide effective
noise control, including Noise Ninja, Neat Image,
and Noiseware.
LESS NOISE PLEASE!
Shot at ISO 1600, this night shot of Mount Kilimanjaro had excessive noise in it, both
from the high ISO setting and the long exposure. Applying noise reduction within
Adobe Lightroom has signicantly improved smooth tones of the image.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 49 2/8/11 17:22:07
Landscape Photography 50
There is very little latitude for error when
shooting slide lm, but with digital capture it
is possible, using RAW conversion software,
to recover extraordinary detail from incorrect
exposures. This does not mean that you
shouldnt aim to get the correct exposure in
the rst place, but the optimum exposure with
digital differs from the one aimed for with
lm. Digital camera sensors capture light in a
linear fashion, starting at the highlight end and
nishing at the shadow end of the histogram.
Based on the assumption that a digital sensor
can record light across a range of about ve
stops of light, it would be natural to assume
that each stop of the brightness range would
record an equal amount of tonal values, but
that is not the case. The brightest stop records
half of all the tonal values captured by the
sensor, the next brightest another half of the
remaining tonal values, and so on. Thus, the
shadow end of the range actually records
signicantly fewer tonal values than the
brightest end. This has led to the theory that
you should expose digital images to the right;
i.e., slightly overexpose the image, without
blowing out highlights, because this captures
the maximum level of tonal detail possible. You
then bring the exposure back to normal during
post-processing. In most cases, creating your
images in this way does result in more detailed,
less noisy photographs.
Expose to the right
EXTRACT MORE DETAIL
Expose your image to the right of the histogram
and bring it back to the levels you want in post-
processing to maximize detail.
Canon 1DS MKII with
70200mm lens at 200mm,
ISO 100, 1/60sec. at f/20
BETTER SHADOWS (Right)
Exposing this image to the right enabled more shadow
detail to be extracted later.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 50 2/8/11 17:22:08
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 51 28/7/11 10:16:39
Landscape Photography 52
There are many photographic lters available,
but relatively few can be considered essential
for landscape photographers. However, one
type that you will nd in the camera bag of
just about any serious amateur or professional
landscape photographer is the neutral-density
graduated lter, or ND grad as they are
affectionately known. Digital camera sensors
can record detail across a range of light
equivalent to about ve stops, whereas our eyes
are capable of seeing across about 1112 stops
of light. This leads to a signicant difference in
how we see the world and how the camera can
record our view of it.
ND grad lters help to bring those two
varying views closer together by blocking light
from the highlight parts of the frameusually
the skywhile allowing all the light from the
shadow areanormally the foregroundto
pass unimpeded. The lters come in both round
Using ND graduated lters
format, which screw into the lter thread on
your lens, and square or rectangular formats,
which require special lter holders that attach
to the lens. If you are considering buying
them, then without a doubt opt for the large
rectangular ones, since they give the best levels
of control over where the graduated zone
(where the lter transitions from dark to clear)
sits in the frame.
Using ND grads is a skill that needs time to
perfect. A good way to get a more accurate
idea of where the split is sitting in the frame is
to depress the depth of eld preview button,
if you have one, on your camera and slowly to
slide the lter up and down in its holder; this
makes it far easier to see the graduated area.
Another advantage of the non-round lter types
is that the holders can rotate on the end of the
lens, too, so you can place the graduated zone
on an angle if that best suits the scene you are
Some image processing software, including
Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture, offers
tools for creating the effect of an ND grad lter
in post capture. These work well and give very
similar effects to the lters you can use in the
eld, but by using the lters in the eld you
will come back with a far better initial image,
containing more data across the entire tonal
range of the image, which makes a better
starting point for processing your image.
SOFTWARE ND GRADS
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 52 28/7/11 10:16:41
The Expanded Guide 53
FREEZE AND BLUR
When shooting water, its a good idea to include a static object
(such as a stone or leaf) in the frame to provide a point of
reference for the viewer. Freeze (left) was taken at 1/40 sec.
Canon EOS 40D, 105mm lens,
1/40 sec. at f/10, ISO 160 (left);
0.3 sec. at f/22, ISO 160 (right)
photographing. The lters are also available
with different gradation zones: a hard ND
grad moves quickly from dark to clear, whereas
a soft ND grad transitions more slowly from
dark to clear. The hard lters are more suitable
when you have a fairly clean horizon line in the
image, with no important elements from the
foreground or midground jutting into the sky. If
you have an irregular horizon line, then the soft
lters work best, since they avoid the problem
of foreground and midground objects suddenly
appearing unnaturally dark above the horizon
line. As your skills in using the lters improve,
you can start to experiment with multiple lters
on each shot, since some brands of lter holder
allow several lters to be stacked together.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 53 2/8/11 17:22:10
Landscape Photography 54
Neutral-density lter
Extreme versions of these lters have become
the hot ticket lters for many landscape
(or should I say coastscape) photographers.
Basically, an ND lter blocks some of the light
entering the lens, which allows you to set
longer shutter speeds or use bigger apertures
than you would otherwise be able to in bright
light conditions. This has opened up a whole
new art form of blurry water daytime shots,
perhaps best expressed in images containing the
sea. There are several versions on the market,
but one of the most popular has been the Big
Stopper by Lee Filters. This lter reduces the
amount of light entering the lens by 10 stops,
allowing you to use multiple second exposures
in the middle of the day to get blurry water
usually reserved for low-light conditions.
Other lters Polarizer
One of the most favored lters for landscape
images, a polarizer can help to deepen the blue
color of the sky and also reduce reective glare
from the surface of nonmetallic elements within
the scene, such as water. Polarizers work most
effectively when they are used at 90 degrees to
the direction of the sun. As well as deepening
blue skies, the lter will enhance the contrast
of clouds, too, making them stand out sharply
against a blue sky.
You can buy polarizers that screw into the
front thread of a lens, or that are square or
rectangular for use with a lter holder. The
latter is better if you intend to use square- or
rectangular-format ND grad lters, because
you can mount the polarizer at the same time.
The polarizer does not work in a simple on-off
manner; rather it moves seamlessly through all
the gradations between those two extremes as
you rotate it, so try to employ it subtly. Using
one will reduce the amount of light that enters
the lens by up to two stops (depending on how
strong the effect you have opted for), so be
aware of this when setting your exposures in
manual mode.
MILKY WATER
A 10-stop neutral-density lter allowed a slower
shutter speed to be used to blur the water.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII with 2470mm
lens at 24mm, 4 sec. at f/8, ISO 100
SATURATED COLORS (Right)
A polarizer lter helps to saturate colors and reduce
reections in water.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 54 2/8/11 17:22:11
The Expanded Guide 55
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH3 26-55.indd 55 28/7/11 10:16:42
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 56 28/7/11 10:21:03
CHAPTER 4 COMPOSITION
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 57 28/7/11 10:21:04
Landscape Photography 58
Introduction to composition
Nothing could be farther from the truth,
unless you are exceptionally lucky. How many
times have you heard a photographer mumble
apologetically to their gathered friends or family
that they really needed to be there, because
the photo doesnt do it justice? This much-
used and usually entirely accurate statement
results from the mistaken belief that a camera
can see exactly what we see and feel. The
most signicant difference about how a camera
sees the world compared to a person is that
the image it captures is in two dimensions,
while we, of course, see the world in three
dimensions. Beyond that, the camera frame has
straight and clearly dened edges, whereas our
own vision has rounded and soft edges (our
peripheral vision). Also, when we are standing
at a location taking a photograph, we are
taking in the sounds, smells, and the nonvisible
elements of nature, such as the wind, cold,
and heat. These extra factors are then all mixed
together with our emotional response to the
scene to provide us with a dense and complex
view of the landscape before us. It is hardly
surprising that a metal box full of circuitry and
a sensor has trouble replicating the scene as we
recall it!
How cameras see the world
One of the most important skills to nurture as
a landscape photographer is understanding
the limited way in which a camera sees the
world and then constructing an image within
those boundaries in a manner that can hint at
the elements of the scene that lie beyond its
capabilities.
At the forefront of the ways in which
we can overcome the cameras limitations is
composition: the parts of the scene we choose
to include in the frame and the way in which
we order them. There are no nite answers
to how to compose an image; this particular
skill is one that will continue to develop over
your entire life as a photographer. For those
just setting out, there are some really good
fundamental guidelines about how to generally
order the elements of a scene in a photograph,
which, once grasped, will quickly enable you
to improve the impact of your images. More
advanced elements of composition technique
include the use of shapes and patterns to add
depth and direction, and how we can use other
factors, such as color and context, to add a
greater degree of meaning to an image. Inject
some of these into your images and you will be
well on the way to banishing the words you
should have been there to the history books.
Faced with the grand sweep of a dramatic landscape, it is easy to
think that you can simply point the camera at the scene and that it
will magically capture the essence and mood of the vista.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 58 28/7/11 10:21:06
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 59 28/7/11 10:21:06
Landscape Photography 60
Rule of Thirds
One of the most widely recognized rules
of landscape photography, the rule of thirds
refers to the placement of key elements of the
image on or near imaginary lines that divide the
Basic rules of composition
Photography is a subjective art, so technically there are no absolute
rules governing how you go about composing images.
image frame into equal thirds, both horizontally
and vertically. Placing important elements
around these lines, and in particular where they
intersect, rather than in the middle of the frame
helps to add instant visual interest and balance
to an image. The classic interpretation of this
with landscapes is to place the horizon line on
the lower third, then have another important
element, such as a tree, in the middle third zone
However, there are some simple guidelines
that will quickly and effectively elevate
photographs above the masses. As with most
learning processes, if you can practice the basics
enough that they become second nature, then
it opens the doorway to more spontaneous
experimentation and rule bending.
DIVIDE THE FRAME
Place the subjects on the thirds for impact.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 60 28/7/11 10:21:07
The Expanded Guide 61
and placed where the lines intersect, and the
sky lling the top third of the image. If there
are smaller key elements in the scene, such as
a person or animal for example, then it makes
for a strong image if they are placed on or near
one of the hotspots, where the vertical and
horizontal lines intersect. It is not too clear why
the rule of thirds is more appealing to us visually
than simply placing a subject in the center of
the frame, but it does contribute to the viewers
eye having a more denite path to follow
around the photograph.
Straight horizons
Our view of the world is based on our entire
evolution as a species on the planet, so it is far
from simple. Deep within us and our brains,
we like to have order in our lives, and we
become restless when things appear to be not
how they should be. Yet, in our excitement to
capture a glorious landscape photograph, it is
easy to forget that we, as a species, prefer it
if the horizon is straight! It is one of the most
common errors in landscape photography, yet
it is a fairly simple problem to solve, especially if
you routinely use a tripod.
No matter how good you think your eye is
at being able to tell if the horizon is straight
in your image, the purchase of a simple and
inexpensive bubble spirit level (the type that
slots into your cameras ash hotshoe is the
best) will guarantee that you never have wonky
horizons again. Just set up your camera on the
tripod, attach the bubble spirit level, compose
your photograph, check the bubble and adjust
to get it exactly in the middle, and you are
there. Even if your eyes tell you the horizon still
isnt level, it will be.
KEEP IT LEVEL
Straight horizons are critical in landscapes.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 61 28/7/11 10:21:08
Landscape Photography 62
Fill the frame
One of the most critical things to decide
when setting up a photograph is what the
main subject will be. It is easy to have the
subject in mind, but then forget to transfer
that knowledge to the image composition
process. Think carefully before you press
the shutter-release button: what is the main
subject of this image? Once you have that
clearly defined, you need to decide how
to use that main subject in the frame of
the image. An obvious way to ensure that
a viewer knows that it is the main subject
is to fill or nearly fill the entire frame with
it. With little or nothing else to look at
in the composition, there is no room for
ambiguity, and it can add some meaning to
the image. For example, if you are taking
a photograph of one of the towering sand
dunes in Morocco, then filling the frame
with the dune not only makes it a simple and
easily understood composition, but also it
adds the feeling of the dune being massive,
If you zoomed out and had lots of sky and
foreground in the image, the dune would
look far less imposing.
Abstract landscapes
Taken to its extreme, filling the frame with
the subject results in an abstract view of the
landscape, which can be particularly effective
if there are bold patterns. Omitting the sky
FILLING THE FRAME (Right)
By lling the frame with the subject, like this dune in
Namibia, it adds to the feeling of it being large and
imposing. The people gives it added scale.
completely from the image can make the
image slightly claustrophobic, since there is
no exit point for the viewers eye. However,
if the patterns and shapes within the abstract
are strong enough, they can, in themselves,
lead the viewer on a journey through the
image. A good example of this, staying on
the desert theme, is an abstract shot of the
ripples running across a sand dune.
PATTERNS IN NATURE
When shooting abstract landscapes, it is good to
include repetitive patterns.
Minolta Dynax 9, 2470m lens,
Fuji Velvia 50, shutter and
aperture details unrecorded
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 62 28/7/11 10:21:08
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 63 28/7/11 10:21:08
Landscape Photography 64
Triangles
Of all the shapes that you can look to include
in your images, the triangle is both the most
dynamic and powerful, and perhaps the easiest
to incorporate. If there are three elements,
such as trees, rocks, and owers, in the frame,
Shapes & patterns
When you rst cast your eyes over a landscape scene, it is entirely
normal to see trees, hills, rivers, valleys, clouds, etc. However, once
the more human response to the landscape has been assimilated, the
photographer needs to start seeing the view in a different manner:
a way that strips out the familiar forms, and instead seeks simple
geometric shapes and patterns.
It is these design principles rather than the
subject itself that can help turn an ordinary
photo into a great photo. It takes some time to
train the eye to view the world in this slightly
disconnected way, but seeing how more
compelling the resulting images are will help to
drive the hours of practice needed to ne-tune
this skill. Luckily, our brains have evolved in
such a way that they ll in missing information
in what we see, to help us make sense of
the world around us, and this is of crucial
importance to photographers looking to create
shapes and patterns in their images. It means
that you dont literally have to nd triangles,
circles, etc to include in your compositions,
because you can simply imply them through
careful placement of elements of the scene.
then it is relatively simple to organize them in a
way that implies a triangle, even if there are no
connecting lines between the three points.
Circles
Finding circles, literal or implied, in a scene is
a good way to bring cohesion to an image,
although they tend to be harder to come by or
form than triangles. You could, for example,
look for naturally occurring frames, such as a
cave entrance, round pebbles, plants, or ponds.
They dont have to be perfect circles, just
something close to a circular shape.
Squares and rectangles
These shapes are much harder to come by
in nature, but do occur: for example, the
water channels created in limestone plateaux.
There may often be manmade squares and
rectangles in a landscape, such as a barn, a
house doorway, or ranch-style wooden fencing
around a property, which can all be used in the
composition. These shapes suggest a sense of
strength and certainty in the image.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 64 28/7/11 10:21:10
The Expanded Guide 65
Squares and rectangles
Circles
Triangles
It is not crucial to literally have
triangle-shaped subjects in
your images. You can easily
imply the shape by including
three objects that form the
points of the triangle.
Round objects in an image
help to focus the viewers
attention within the circle.
They also add a feeling of
cohesion and completeness.
Squares are harder to nd
occurring naturally in nature,
but there are often man-made
structures that will ll the role.
Square and rectangular shapes
add a sense of solidity and
certainty to an image.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 65 28/7/11 10:21:10
Landscape Photography 66
Diagonal lines
These lines offer the most dynamic graphic
addition to any image. They are particularly
good for creating a sense of three-dimensional
depth to the photo as well as a very strong
directional pull on the viewers eye. With
them being so powerful, it is important to
use diagonal lines with some care, because if
they are included haphazardly, they can easily
distract from the main subject.
There are many forms of diagonal line that
can be found in nature, from coastal shorelines
and rivers to tree branches and mountain ridges,
so you should almost always be able to include
one if your composition requires it. Although
they can enter or leave the image frame at any
point, they are usually more effective when they
are placed near one of the corners. This helps
to maximize their directional effect across the
composition and adds tension to the image by
contrasting more with the straight sides of the
image frame.
It is important to control where the diagonal
lines lead within the composition. If the viewer
follows the line and there is no payoff, in the
form of an important or intriguing subject,
then interest in the image will be quickly lost.
The good thing is that the directions of the
diagonals are heavily inuenced by your own
vantage point, so they can easily be pointed
at the most interesting parts of the image simply
by changing your perspectiveshooting from
down low is often the most effective technique.
Vertical lines
The most obvious manifestations of vertical
lines in the landscape are trees, which can be
used to compose powerful photographs that
give a sense of strength and impenetrable
nature. If you venture into a forest, it is worth
looking for a stand of trees that offers the
opportunity to shoot a relatively abstract
photo. Then much skill and patience is required
to nd the best vantage point to minimize the
overlap of tree trunks, and to decide which
trees to include and which to exclude from
the nal shot. Misty, bright mornings can be
the best for adding some atmosphere to forest
photos and avoiding blown-out highlights in
the sky seen through the trees.
Horizontal lines
The most prevalent line in any landscape
photo, of course, is the horizon line, and
this is one line that you should endeavor to
get straight in all your compositions. We are
genetically programmed to expect the horizon
to be straight, and even the slightest slope in it
can turn a masterpiece into an also-ran image.
There are also many other horizontal lines
that can play a signicant role in your images,
bringing a feeling of layers or barriers to the
composition. A good example of horizontal
layers or lines is a receding range of mountains
when it is backlit by the sun and has haze or
mist between the ridges. When combined with
the use of a long telephoto lens, which helps to
compress the perspective, it is possible to create
an image where the mountain ridges look like
they are stacked one on top of another.
.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 66 2/8/11 17:23:30
The Expanded Guide 67
Horizontal lines
Vertical lines
Diagonal lines
Lines that run from near
one corner of the frame and
go into the image are very
dynamic and powerful. They
add a sense of movement into
the image. When diagonal
lines converge, they give a
strong visual depth cue.
These can give a sense of
strength to an image, but can
also block the viewers journey
through the photograph.
Repetitive vertical lines, such
as stands of trees, often work
well for abstract images.
These can also serve to block
a viewers journey into the
image, so they need to be used
carefully. Using a long lens to
compress the perspective can
provide real impact with some
horizontal line scenes where
you have a high vantage point.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 67 28/7/11 10:21:11
Landscape Photography 68 Landscape Photography 68
Shapes & patterns
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 68 28/7/11 10:21:11
The Expanded Guide 69 The Expanded Guide 69
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 69 2/8/11 09:50:24
Landscape Photography 70
Five layers
Most photographers think about constructing
their landscape images in terms of foreground,
middle ground, and background. While this is
perfectly acceptable and to be applauded, there
is no reason why you cant take this concept
farther by adding even more layers. If you add
to that list near foreground and far background,
and place an important and distinct segment of
the photograph in each layer, then you open
the door to creating images that are full of
visual depth clues.
Third dimension
The fundamental difference in how we see the world compared to
how a camera can record it is the third dimension; we see it, but the
camera cant (well, at least non-3D cameras cant record it).
So, we have to incorporate visual and graphic
elements into our photographs to trick the eye
into perceiving the extra dimension. There are
many ways to accomplish this in landscape
photography, but those described here are
among the most effective.
Converging lines
When two similarly positioned diagonal lines,
such as the two banks of a river or the two sides
of a road or railroad track, run away from the
eye, they appear to converge as they get farther
away from the vantage point. This effect adds
a powerful depth cue to the image and, when
used skilfully, can create an irresistible third
dimension in the image. For maximum effect,
a good idea to take an image from a low
vantage point, which can help the lines nearer
to you to spread further apart in the image. It
can also help you to place the lines so that they
come into the frame from near the bottom
corners, which magnies the depth effect.
It is important with converging lines to have
something of interest at the point the eye is led
to, otherwise the viewer can fell cheated.
Repetition of subject
If we see several similar objects in a photograph
and some seem smaller than others, then the
brain interprets this to mean that the smaller
objects are farther away than the bigger ones.
Now, of course, this may not be true: the
objects could actually be in the same horizontal
plane relative to the camera and be of different
sizes (this is a popular ruse employed by
magicians to trick onlookers!), but the brain is
difcult to convince in this way. It will ght hard
to maintain the assumption that the smaller
object is farther away than the larger one. Some
possible objects that might work in this manner
in a landscape are trees, rocks, boats, cars,
people, and animals, so if you can include these
in the composition, you will be well on the way
to making an image that appears to be three
dimensional.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 70 28/7/11 10:21:14
The Expanded Guide 71
Repetition of subject
Converging lines
Five layers
Rather than just trying to get a
foreground, middle ground and
back ground into an image,
try adding near foreground
and far background, too. This
provides irresistible depth to a
landscape photo.
Our brains are preprogrammed
to interpret converging lines
in a particular way. Where the
lines are further apart is read
by the brain as being nearer
than where the lines are closer
together. This creates the
visual third dimension.
If there are several similar
subjects in the frame and they
vary in size, the ones that
are bigger are perceived to
be closer than ones that are
smaller. Footsteps in the sand
or snow are a good example
of this.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 71 28/7/11 10:21:14
Landscape Photography 72 Landscape Photography 72
Third dimension
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 72 28/7/11 10:21:15
The Expanded Guide 73 The Expanded Guide 73
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 73 2/8/11 17:23:30
Landscape Photography 74 Landscape Photography 74
Adding meaning
Composition isnt only for adding order to a photograph;
used with premeditated intent, composition can also
inuence the meaning a photograph carries to the
viewer. For instance, the classic rule of thirds, as we have
seen, suggests that the horizon line should be placed on
the bottom horizontal third of the image, but this only
implies normality. If you are in a wide open expanse with
a glorious, unimpeded view of the sky, you may want to
enhance the feeling of this in your photos by including
only a sliver of the landscape at the bottom of the frame
and leaving the rest to be taken up by the sky (below).
With some preshoot research and a modicum of luck
on location, you can make images that tell some of the
stories that lie behind the landscape. For instance, on
a shoot in Argentinean Patagonia, in the Los Glaciares
National Park, it was my background reading about how
Mount Fitzroy was known as the re mountain by
local tribes that guided my thinking when a huge cloud
seemed to be billowing like smoke off the top of the
peak. I had initially zoomed in far closer, but this wider
view carries more meaning (right).
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 74 28/7/11 10:21:18
The Expanded Guide 75 The Expanded Guide 75
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 75 28/7/11 10:21:19
Landscape Photography 76 Landscape Photography 76
Cropping and formats
In the days of lm, unless you were very dedicated, you
pretty much had to stick with the original format of the
lm you used in making your nal images, especially
if you were shooting slide lm. The digital revolution
has opened a whole new area of creative composition
control by providing easy ways to change the format of
the nal image, either in-camera or in post-processing on
the computer. Many digital cameras offer various built-in
crop modes so that you can capture scenes with crops that
range from standard 3:2 and 4:3 all the way through to
16:9 panoramic.
Most image editing software offers a crop tool, and
there are several software packages, including Adobe
Photoshop, that make it easy to stitch images together
to make a panoramic image. For cropping, it takes just
seconds to move from a traditional 3:2 format to a square
or even an extended panoramic format, or any other
format that takes your fancy. With the stitching software,
you shoot a series of slightly overlapping frames of the
scene and then simply load them into the software.
Although it is possible to make many renements to the
process, it only takes a minute or so for the software to
magically stitch the series of images together to make a
single panorama. It is incredibly accurate at analyzing the
images and working out exactly how they t together.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 76 28/7/11 10:21:20
The Expanded Guide 77 The Expanded Guide 77
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH4 56-77.indd 77 2/8/11 17:23:31
Landscape Photography 78
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 78 28/7/11 10:25:31
The Expanded Guide 79
CHAPTER 5 LIGHT
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 79 28/7/11 10:25:33
Landscape Photography 80
Light
The late Galen Rowell, one of the modern
masters of landscape and adventure
photography, and a great inuence on my
own journey into photography, knew that it
was possible to take a great photograph of an
ordinary subject if you had stunning light. The
word photography comes from the Greek
words, phos, meaning light, and graphos,
meaning writing. So, if there is one major leap
in the mind that you need to make if you are
going to take powerful landscape images, it is
that rst and foremost you are on the lookout
for great light and not a great subject. The
latter without the former is unlikely to result
in a satisfactory image, but if the two things
coincide, then you really do have a wow
image on your hands!
Quality of light
Great light does not have to be dramatic light;
it only has to be the best light for your chosen
subject. While a solitary shaft of sunlight might
be superb for lighting up a mountain top, far
more subtle and diffused light may be ideal for
capturing the clouds drifting over its summit.
As you spend more time focusing on seeking
out extraordinary light conditions, so your eye
will become more trained at differentiating the
types and varying qualities of light. There are
far more layers to light than simply highlight,
midtones, and shadows, and the more adept
you become at discerning the light levels in
between, the better your images will become.
There are many things that inuence
the quality of light in the outdoors, from its
direction and the time of day to atmospheric
conditions. Light is constantly changing and, on
the whole, fairly unpredictable, which is why
the art of being a landscape photographer is as
much about being a patient and knowledgeable
observer as it is a technical master.
I almost never set out to photograph a landscape, nor do I think
of my camera as a means of recording a mountain or an animal
unless I absolutely need a record shot. My rst thought is always
of light. Galen Rowell

HINT OF LIGHT
Although images with bright and stunning light
have instant impact, more subtle light can often
be even more impressive.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 80 28/7/11 10:25:34
The Expanded Guide 81
Dramatic light
Subtle light
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 81 28/7/11 10:25:35
Landscape Photography 82
The direction in which light falls on the subject
plays a signicant part in the overall look
and mood of a photograph. Although in the
outdoors we often have to take the light that
we are given at any particular point in time, it is
still often possible to manipulate the direction
of light by changing your position relative to the
subject. There are six main types of directional
light that landscape photographers need to be
aware of, and there are specic ways for dealing
with each.
Front lighting
This type of lighting was once championed by
camera manufacturers when they included basic
instructions about how to take a photograph
with their equipment: Stand with your back to
the sun they proclaimed. While this method
does help to stop the sun from shining directly
onto the camera lens and causing are in the
image, it is relatively unexciting as a light source.
Any shadows from subjects within the frame
tend to disappear, leaving the scene looking very
two-dimensional, so it is best avoided in most
circumstances.
Direction of Light
Sidelighting
Far more enthralling as a light source,
sidelighting helps to sculpt a landscape into
three dimensions. The shadows from anything
within the scene are all visible and cut across
the image, adding visual depth clues. It adds
texture to subjects, too, bringing out intricate
patterns in rocks, trees, terrain, etc. This is the
light that you want to seek out most often,
especially at the start and end of the day, when
the colors in the landscape are at their most
saturated, and the shadows are at their longest
and most dynamic. Exposing for this type of
light is slightly more difcult, because the light
goes from bright highlight to dark shadow. It
is usually best to opt for an exposure that sits
somewhere between these two extremes, while
ensuring not to blow the highlights.
SIDELIGHT
Landscapes lit from the side display far more
texture and depth than ones lit from the front.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII, 1635mm
lens, 1/13 sec. at f/16, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 82 2/8/11 17:24:47
The Expanded Guide 83
Backlighting
If you want to add an instant sense of artiness
to your photographs, then try photographing
them with backlighting. It is an extreme and
abstract type of light that is seldom used by
most photographers, so your images will have
more of a unique look if you do use it. There
are several pitfalls to avoid with backlighting,
including incorrect exposureyou really dont
want to be using your camera in automatic
mode for these shotsand distracting sun ares
appearing in the nal image.
There are no hard-and-fast rules for getting
the exposure right with such extreme light, so it
is always worth bracketing your shots (shooting
several different exposures) so that you can
pick the best one later. To avoid are, try to
nd something in the scene, such as a tree, to
block the sunlight from directly hitting the lens.
If you use a small aperture, such as f/16 or f/22,
and carefully place the sun so that it just creeps
around an edge of an object, you can create
an effective and atmospheric sunburst in the
image. Backlighting can also add an attractive
halo of light to the rim of a soft-edged object
and, of course, bring translucent objects, such
as leaves, to life. It can also bring to life mist
and fog lying over the landscape. Be warned,
though: looking directly at the sun can damage
your eyesight, so take precautions.
AVOID SUN FLARE
By letting the sun clip around the edge of an
object, you reduce the chance of sun ares.
DRAMA IN THE FOREST
Backlit leaves add real impact to forest shots.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII, 1635mm
lens, 1/100 sec. at f/18, ISO 100
Canon EOS 1DS MKII, 1635mm
lens, 1/40 sec. at f/11, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 83 2/8/11 17:24:47
Landscape Photography 84
Diffused lighting
You may be forgiven for thinking that overcast
days are not the best friends of landscape
photographers. For big sweeping landscapes
that might well be true, but the soft diffused
light that falls through the clouds can be the
best light for more intimate photographs of the
landscape and the ne detail that makes it up.
The reduced range of light means that digital
camera sensors can record the full range of
tones in the scene, and it also helps to saturate
colors. If the day is bright and overcast, and the
prospects of dramatic light are low, then either
head into the forest, which works particularly
well in diffused light, or turn your eyes
downward and search for more abstract images
of the landscape.
OVERCAST DAYS
Light grey clouds act as a huge lighting softbox,
making overcast days ideal for shooting detail.
UNDER THE CANOPY
Forests with thick canopies also offer excellent diffused lighting
conditions. It is perfect for teasing out subtle hues from subjects.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
70200mm lens, 0.3
sec. at f/5.6, ISO 100
Canon EOS 1DS MKII, 70200mm
lens, 1/5 sec. at f/25, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 84 28/7/11 10:25:36
The Expanded Guide 85
Overhead lighting
When the sun is directly overhead, around
midday, it is more difcult to nd landscape
subjects that work well. The shadows cast are
harsh and the highlights are too bright for most
scenes. Its a good time to avoid, if you can,
but if you are in a situation where you have to
be shooting at this time of day, then it is better
to look for more shaded scenes, such as those
found in dense forest, and try to avoid including
the sky in the frame. It really is an ideal time to
take a break for lunch and to plan your activities
for later in the day once the sun descends in
the sky.
Low light
The advent of digital SLR cameras that can
produce exceptional image quality at high ISO
settings has opened up a whole new period
of the day for shooting photographs. Once
the sun has gone down and until it rises again
the next morning, there is an ethereal and
relatively unexplored realm awaiting landscape
photographers. The best things are that
because it is a fairly new opportunity, there are
relatively few competing images out there and
the viewing public have not had a chance to
become jaded by themall good news if you
intend to try selling your images. Twilight, both
at dusk and dawn, is a particularly magical light
in which to shoot photographs, since the suns
light from below the horizon illuminates the sky,
which in turn reects light onto the landscape.
STAY A WHILE
Once the sun sets, dont rush home. Digital
cameras produce great in results in low light.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII, 2470mm
lens, 1/20 sec. at f/4.5, ISO 200
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 85 28/7/11 10:25:37
Landscape Photography 86
Rise and shine
Despite being such a glorious time to be out,
there is no denying that it can be a struggle
to leave bed in the dark, gather your kit, and
head out the door, but I can genuinely say
that once I have got up, assessed the weather
conditions, and decided to go, I have never
once regretted that decision, even if the
photographic results arent anything to shout
about. It is just a wonderful time to commune
with Mother Nature.
This is, without doubt, my favorite time of day
to be out taking landscape photographs. The
quality of the light and the clarity of the air
can be extraordinary, in part due to the lack
of dust in the atmosphere after everybody
has been sleeping rather than going about
their daily business. Most other people still are
wrapped up snugly in their beds, so there is
an excellent chance that you will be the only
person watching the new day arrive, which is
guaranteed to lift the soul.
Dawn
REFLECTED LIGHT OF DAWN
Before the sun rises, there is a period of up to an hour where the
landscape is lit solely by reected light from the sky.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
2470mm lens, 4 sec.
at f/20, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 86 28/7/11 10:25:38
The Expanded Guide 87
Dawn light
On the whole, dawn light tends to be slightly
cooler than sunset light, again due to the lack of
dust in the air; the dust allows the transmission
of red light, but blocks some of the blue light.
Dawn light is still signicantly warmer than
the light you get around midday, though. The
range of light at this time of day is quite limited,
especially as the rst light of dawn emerges. So,
you should be able to shoot without a neutral-
density graduated lter for a while. As soon as
the sky starts to lighten more, the range of light
will quickly increase, so you will need to use
lters to help balance the light in the scene if
you want to retain some details in the shadow
areas. Your eyes will naturally try to counter the
temperature of the light in any scene, so you may
nd colors showing on your nal image that you
didnt think were there.
If you want to catch the dawn, then you will
need to be in position around one hour before
the sunrise time. Dusk can last for anything up to
an hour or so after sunset.
INCREASING DRAMA
As the sun nears the horizon before rising, the sky can take on a
stunning range of warmer hues if there is mid-level cloud.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
2470mm lens, 3.2
sec. at f/18, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 87 28/7/11 10:25:38
Landscape Photography 88 Landscape Photography 88
Dawn
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 88 2/8/11 09:59:19
The Expanded Guide 89 The Expanded Guide 89
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 89 2/8/11 17:24:48
Landscape Photography 90
Minolta Dynax 9, 2485mm
lens, exposure unrecorded
THINK FAST, ACT FASTER
Once the sun breaks the horizon there is no time to waste.
You need to make rapid nal adjustments to your viewpoint
and composition, then keep shooting as it rises.
Although most photographers skip the dawn
shoot, there will be many who will make the
effort to get out of bed and to a location in time
for sunrise. The rst rays breaking the horizon
have held a fascination for humans dating right
back to our rst presence on the planet, and the
allure of them has not dwindled since. It is the
return of life, and many photographers hope to
capture at least a few stunning sunrise images
in any given year.
Sunrise One of the most exciting challenges about
shooting sunrises for a landscape photographer
is the fact that usually it all happens very
quickly. One moment the sun just peeks above
the horizon, but within minutes it can be high
in the sky, where it rapidly loses its warming
soft light qualities. So, be prepared a while
before the sunrise time, and be ready to react
to the changing light situation. Its not good to
be reaching for your neutral-density graduated
lters and trying to screw in the lter holder
once the sun has broken cover.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 90 28/7/11 10:25:41
The Expanded Guide 91
Whether this makes or breaks the photo is
down to your own subjective interpretation,
but if there is signicant sun are, then the
image will almost certainly fail. If you are using
large neutral-density graduated lters, then it
will be impossible to also use your lens hood,
so you have to improvise to shade your lens
when possible. You can use your hand or a hat,
or invest in one of the commercially available
antiare tools, such as the Flare Buster. You can
also try taking your images as soon as the sun
edges above the horizon, before its full glare
comes into play.
Sunrise light
The light at sunrise tends to be slightly cooler
than that at sunset, due to the lack of dust
in the atmosphere and the often low wind
conditions rst thing in the morning (it is the
sun being up that starts to heat the land and
drive the convection currents). The advantage
of all this is that the air quality is usually better,
too, giving crystal clarity over far-reaching
landscapes. It is usually better if there is some
level of cloud in the sky to get the best results,
since a truly clear sky will give you very little to
work with in the upper parts of your image.
Mid-level clouds are usually the best for
reecting light. Even if, upon rst inspection,
the day appears to be very cloudy, it is still
worth taking a chance on heading out, since
it is amazing how many times there is a small,
clear band of sky right next to the horizon when
the sun rises. The light may only last for a few
brief moments, but if it does break through
in these conditions, then you could be in for
a treat, with ery red and orange clouds to
include in your composition. The light contrast
is extreme as the sun rises, with the sky being
far brighter than the land, so it is a good idea
to seek out any landforms, such as trees,
mountains, rocky pinnacles, etc, that can act as
bold silhouettes against the sky to add interest
to the composition.
Avoiding lens are
One of the technical difculties with shooting
sunrise (or sunset) is that to have the sun in
the frame means that there is a greater risk
of lens are appearing in the nal image.
CRYSTAL CLEAR AIR
With less dust in the air, early light has a crisp
quality that is hard to match later in the day.
It is important to plan your shoot around the
sunrise and sunset time, and the best way to do
this is to use a sunrise/sunset calculator. There
are several available online, including
www.sunrisesunset.com.
SUNRISE/SUNSET CALCULATORS
Canon EOS Minolta Dynax 9,
14mm lens, exposure unrecorded
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 91 28/7/11 10:25:42
Landscape Photography 92 Landscape Photography 92
Sunrise
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 92 28/7/11 10:25:42
The Expanded Guide 93 The Expanded Guide 93
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 93 2/8/11 17:24:50
Landscape Photography 94
The light at midday is the least satisfactory
of all the possible conditions for landscape
photographers, but if you are out in the midday
sun and want or need still to take photographs,
then there are some simple ways by which you
can help ensure that you get the best images
from a relatively bad situation.
Midday
Find great subjects
Great pictures are usually made with great light,
but if the light isnt playing ball, then you need
to really search out some fascinating subjects
to compensate for this as far as possible. With
landscapes, you want to nd something very
interesting to put in the foreground and include
some strong depth cue graphics, such as leading
lines like rivers or twisty country roads. It is also
quite astounding what a good cloud can do
to command attention in an image, so if you
happen to be shooting a landscape with lovely
uffs of cumulus clouds drifting across a blue
sky or the billowing masses of a cumulonimbus
storm cloud brewing over a horizon, then you
might still get some wows when you show
your midday images.
SAVED BY THE CLOUDS (right)
Cumulus clouds can save a midday landscape image.
Their striking shapes distract from the poor light.
STRONG DESIGN
When the light conditions are poor, it is more
important to emphasize design elements.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII, 70200mm
lens, 1/50 sec. at f/20, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 94 2/8/11 17:24:53
The Expanded Guide 95
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 95 28/7/11 10:25:45
Landscape Photography 96
This is the big money shot for many landscape
photographers, whether complete amateur or
consummate professional. It is by far the most
popular landscape subject in the world. So,
what makes it so special? Well, the rst thing
is that it is achievable: there is no unsociable
predawn start to capture the sunset, and it can
be added on at the end of any day, as long as
you dont mind delaying dinner a little at times.
It is also often the most spectacular time of
day for photography, since the accumulated
dust in the atmosphere combines with the
raking, warm low light of the sun to produce
some truly stunning skyscapes and reected
light to include in your image. At some of the
worlds most famous landscape photography
spots, sunset can see an entire legion of
photographers standing shoulder to shoulder
with their tripods vying for space on the
ground. Even if you nd yourself in this sort of
situation, keep your creative thinking hat on
and you may still come up with a fairly original
idea for a photograph of the scene.
Sunset
Sunset light
The time around sunset provides the warmest
light of the entire day, wrapping the land, sea,
and sky in swathes of orange, red, and pink.
Because of the matter in the air, it is rare to
have great clarity of light at this end of the day,
so quite often more intimate scenes work better
than truly grand sweeping vistas.
The magic moment
As the sun progresses toward the horizon, it is
often difcult to determine the optimum time
for shooting your photographs. It is advisable
to carry enough memory cards with you so that
you are not limited in what you capture by the
availability of storage space. If you do have to
ration your shooting, then try to tune your eyes
into the subtly changing light conditions: are the
clouds above your head getting pinker or more
gray, does it look like there is thicker cloud right
on the horizon that may curtail the sunset light?
By really observing closely, you can narrow the
window in which you know the light is at or
near its best.
Often the best sunset light conditions will
occur 1020 minutes prior to the sun getting
to the horizon, where it can start to lose its
intensity, so dont wait until the nal moments
to start taking pictures. As with sunrise, you
need to be aware of the potential problems
caused by the sun aring on your lens, though
when the sun is shining through a thick dust
layer (when it can appear like a giant, red, well-
dened orb), this will signicantly reduce the
chances of your image suffering from are.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 96 28/7/11 10:25:46
The Expanded Guide 97
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
An exciting effect of the sun setting is that it starts to spotlight parts
of the landscape. This can be especially dramatic in the mountains.
Minolta Dynax 9,
100300mm lens,
exposure unrecorded
SUN SHIELD
If there is a band of thin cloud on the horizon, it can make a lovely
diffuser for the red light of the sun.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
70200mm lens, 1/6
sec. at f/22, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 97 23/8/11 13:22:27
Landscape Photography 98 Landscape Photography 98
Sunset
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 98 28/7/11 10:25:47
The Expanded Guide 99 The Expanded Guide 99
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 99 2/8/11 17:24:54
Landscape Photography 100
There are few more startling scenes in landscape
photography than watching the mass exodus
of tripod-toting photographers the moment
the sun sets at a popular location. I recall an
evening I spent at the Grand Canyon, when it
seemed there was barely a spare vantage point
to be had as the sun headed toward the top of
the cliff edge and the clatter of shutters going
off was enough to scare birds from a nearby
tree. Then, within a matter of minutes of the
sun disappearing from view, I was pretty much
alone on the rim of one of the worlds greatest
landscapes.
I wasnt complaining that they had left
me with an almost private viewing of this
stunning place, but I was equally mystied as
to why more didnt stay for longer, especially
as many seemed to be using professional-level
camera gear. As the pale orange sky turned into
a deeper purple, I kept ring off shots until the
camera was starting to record far more detail
than I could discern with my naked eye. It was
enthralling, and the resulting images are among
some of the favorites that I have ever taken, not
least because I know they were fairly unique
from that day at the canyon.
Twilight
Glorious nature
Ask the savviest landscape photographers to
name their favorite light for shooting images,
and most will say twilight. For those with the
patience to wait, the period of 30 minutes to an
hour after the sun sets offers a glorious palette
of saturated colors, more balanced light, and
some of the most extraordinarily subtle light
that Mother Nature can conjure. It is the time
when your neutral-density graduated lters
can help to make a landscape photo explode
into life, with a richness of tones that are often
missing at any other time of the day. The long
exposures needed during twilight also mean
that you can easily turn any moving elements in
the scene, such as leaves on trees, rivers, or the
sea, into a milky, artistic blur.
If you spot abnormally red sunsets, thin
striated clouds, or a deepening of the
purple light in a twilight sky, then there is
a good chance that this is due to volcanic
activity somewhere in the world. So, if you
hear on the news that there has been a
major eruption somewhere, such as that
at the Eyjafjallajkull volcano in Iceland
in 2010, then seize the moment, and head
out with your camera and tripod to capture
the extraordinary light conditions that will
accompany it. The volcanic matter can spread
around the globe, so you dont have to wait
for an eruption close to home.
VOLCANIC OPPORTUNITIES
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 100 28/7/11 10:25:48
The Expanded Guide 101
BEYOND HUMAN VISION
Modern DSLR cameras are capable of recording colour and detail in
low light conditions where even our eyes cant make things out.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
70200mm lens, 1.6
sec. at f/29, ISO 100
TRIPODS RULE
Shooting at twilight needs long exposure times, so shooting without
a tripod is virtually impossible.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
70200mm lens, 20
sec. at f/13, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 101 28/7/11 10:25:48
Landscape Photography 102 Landscape Photography 102
Twilight
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 102 2/8/11 09:59:22
The Expanded Guide 103 The Expanded Guide 103
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 103 2/8/11 17:24:56
Landscape Photography 104
Once all of the suns light has disappeared
from the landscape and the only light on offer
is the ethereal, silvery light of the moon or the
stars, it takes a far more committed approach
to get out there and start taking photographs.
In the days of lm, night photography was very
much the preserve of the few who knew how
to deal with the extended exposures needed (if
you havent come across reciprocity failure,
then look it up on the web to see what you
were missing out on!) and the practicalities of
keeping camera gear working in often testing
temperatures. Now, with digital SLRs providing
astounding low-ight shooting capabilities at
high ISO ratings, the night realm has become a
more inviting place to linger.
From capturing a landscape bathed in the
light of the moon to recording spiralling star
trails, there are many exciting subjects for those
willing to venture out in the dark. You will need
a remote release cord, so that you can trigger
the camera without touching it and lock the
shutter open in the Bulb setting, a very stable
tripod, and a fully charged battery to ensure
that your camera doesnt shut down halfway
though the energy-sapping long exposures
needed at night. Even the best pro digital
cameras will struggle to take an exposure
lasting much more than a couple of hours. You
also need to be careful about your camera gear
suffering from the effects of condensation if
the temperature of the air changes substantially
during the night.
Night
Moonlight
On a clear night at or close to full moon, there
will be ample light for modern DSLR cameras
to work with. With any night exposures, it is
good if you can nd strong foreground subjects
that will silhouette against the sky to add
interest. If you want to try adding another layer
of creativity, then take a powerful ashlight
and paint in the foreground objects in your
composition with its light. If you want to take
photos of the moon itself, then be aware
that exposures that are longer than about six
seconds will suffer from the moon starting to
blur due to its movement across the night sky.
Star trails
As the Earth rotates, the stars appear to rotate
around the night sky, and it is possible, using
a very long exposure, to record this perceived
movement as star trails, or streaks, in an image.
The most dramatic examples of this are often
where the pole star is placed in the frame
and the star trails then create circles in the
photograph. The exposures you need to record
the trails vary, from around 10 minutes for
short trails to several hours for a full circle of
star trails. You need a particularly dark night to
succeed with star trail photos; the light of even
a half moon will wash out the scene in a very
long exposure.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 104 28/7/11 10:25:51
The Expanded Guide 105
Despite the huge technological leaps forward
made by manufacturers of digital cameras,
there is still a valid argument for using slide
lm for night photography. Digital cameras
do work extremely well at high ISO settings,
but the long exposures needed for capturing
images at night can still lead to unacceptable
or undesirable levels of noise in the nal
photograph. This is due to the heat generated
in the image sensor while it is active. Film, of
course, does not suffer from heating up when
it is being exposed, though it does suffer from
increased noise at higher ISO ratings. It is
worth experimenting with both to see which
works best for your own particular type of
night photography.
ADVANTAGE FILM?
LIGHT PAINTING
Use a powerful ashlight to paint in foreground elements in night
photos. Move the ashlight slowly and evenly over the subjects.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
2470mm lens, 30
sec. at f/3.5, ISO 400
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH5 78-105.indd 105 2/8/11 17:24:58
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH6 106-119.indd 106 28/7/11 10:30:41
CHAPTER 6 COLOR
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH6 106-119.indd 107 28/7/11 10:30:42
Landscape Photography 108
Color
Nature is a smorgasbord of colors, and
although the obvious, punchy colors demand
much attention, there is far more to capturing
color skilfully and knowledgeably when it
comes to producing compelling landscape
photographs.
Color theory
Although it is often best to go with your
intuition when deciding what to include and
exclude from a composition, it is well worth
spending some time looking at and getting to
grips with color theory: about how colors work,
how they work together, and how humans
perceive colors and their associated messages
about mood.
One thing about nature is that chaos often
reigns, so although the theory can provide ideal
scenarios for color combinations and quantities
in your images, the reality on the ground is
almost always going to be more complex.
The landscape photographers challenge is to
interpret, decipher, and gather all these colors
together into a composition that works at the
graphic level.
If light is the crucial factor in making a landscape photograph work,
then color is a factor that can help turn it from a good photo into a
powerful image that is capable of eliciting an emotional response.
The color wheel
One of the fundamental building blocks of your
color knowledge is the color wheel, a simple
diagram representing the main colors of the
spectrum and how they relate to each other.
It gives a simple insight into why some photos
that are based on color work and some dont.
Sir Isaac Newton rst created a graphic circle to
illustrate color relationships in 1666, and since
then it has become a heavily debated subject. In
it simplest form, the color circle just shows the
primary colorsred, yellow, and blueas pie
segments of the circle (below). These are not
that helpful for photographers, but once you
start to add the secondary and then the tertiary
colors to the circle, then it starts to become far
more interesting. The color combinations can
either be harmonious (adjacent on the wheel)
or complementary (opposite), and applying this
knowledge to
your landscape
subjects can help
to heighten the
reaction and
engagement that
viewers will have
with your photos.
Y
E
L
L
O
W
B
L
U
E
RED
NATURES BEST (Right)
Nature has an uncanny ability to
produce landscapes with stunning
colors that match color theory!
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH6 106-119.indd 108 18/8/11 09:49:10
The Expanded Guide 109
NEED GENERIC FLASH
IMAGE
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH6 106-119.indd 109 2/8/11 10:02:06
Landscape Photography 110
Human perception of color is based not only on
the physics of how our visual system is hard
wired, but also on the contexts we place on
colors, the causes of which stretch all the way
from the present day back through our entire
existence as a species. For example, red is a
color very much associated with danger, which
stems from our early encounters with dangerous
foods and creatures in our world.
Perceiving color What you see is not what you get
Our brains are wonderfully powerful and will
do their utmost to normalize things for us to
help our understanding of the world, and this
applies to our vision as well. It will trick us into
seeing things that do or dont exist, purely to
make things seem normal. If you have ever
taken a photograph inside your house and then
wondered why the image that comes out of
your camera is all tinged with orange, then your
brain has been tricking you, too.
The tungsten light bulbs that burn in most
homes emit a warm, orange light, but when
we are in the house our visual system modies
this view to make it seem as though we are
seeing the scene under standard, nontainted
light conditions. The same applies to landscape
photos taken when color casts are present in
the light, such as the blue shadow areas that
you nd when taking images around midday,
or the warm light of sunrise and sunset. We
see some of this warmth in reality, but it seems
accentuated in our images of the same scenes.
This phenomenon is known as the issue of
constancy: our visual systems endless campaign
to adjust what we see to make it easier and
faster for the brain to process what is going on
around us, to reduce our confusion.
So, be warned: the colors that we see in
our nal photographs will almost always differ
from what we thought we were seeing live
on location. As with most things, however,
the more you practice, the more chance you
will have of predicting what the differences
will be and then can adjust your photograph
accordingly to take account of them.
RED EQUALS DANGER
The red poppies of the Somme, in France,
reect the danger the soldiers faced there
during the First World War.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH6 106-119.indd 110 2/8/11 17:26:57
The Expanded Guide 111
Correction lters and white balance
There are a couple of tools in the landscape
photographers kit that can help to balance out
the difference between what we see with our
own eyes and what the camera records on the
image. We can attach color correction lters
to the front of the lens to counter whatever
color cast the light conditions are throwing up:
so a warming lter, such as one from the 81
series, to eradicate blue casts in shadow areas
when shooting around midday, or blue lters to
balance the warm light encountered at the start
and end of the day.
For photographers using digital cameras,
there is also the option of changing the white
balance of the image, either in-camera if you are
shooting in JPEG format or in post-processing
software if you are shooting RAW format. It is
good to remember, though, that just because
it is possible to counter color casts caused by
natural light, it may not always be desirable to
do so from an artistic point of view. We have
become very skilled at interpreting photographs
as a subjective representation of reality, so
keeping those saturated warm color casts of
sunrise and sunset, for instance, may actually
help people to interpret the image in a way that
evokes what it was like to actually be there.
WARM IN THE RAW
A major benet of shooting in RAW format is that you can easily
change the colour balance later. This shot had a cool cast that
needed to be warmed up in post-processing.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII, 2470mm
lens, 1/50 sec. at f/11, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH6 106-119.indd 111 28/7/11 10:30:46
Landscape Photography 112
Although there are usually an abundance of
colors in any one landscape scene, it is often
possible to isolate or almost isolate a subject
based on a single color. This is a sure way to
create bold and simple images that command
attention, even if they lack some subsequent
visual depth to keep a viewer engaged with
the image for a long period of time. Because
of this, when single color images are printed,
they are often good background images, useful
for adding a rapidly assimilated mood to an
environment, such as a room in your house,
an ofce, or a caf. You have to search hard
for some colours in nature, but others will be
around you almost everywhere you go. The
important thing is to be alert for them.
Using single color
Red
This is one of the boldest colors to seek out in
a landscape; it may, for example, come in the
form of berries on a tree or poppies swaying
in a eld. It isnt the most prevalent of colors
in nature, but it does exert a great pull on a
viewers eye, so if you can isolate a red subject
for an abstract image, then it will denitely
jump out at you when you look through your
images later. Red is associated with danger,
blood, daring, energy, and boldness, and can
also be used to illustrate power and vitality. It
commands great visual attention, so you need
to be careful how you use it, because if it isnt
the subject of the photograph, it can easily
distract from the true subject.
Warm colors
POPPY FIELDS
There are few things as alluring to landscape photographers as a
eld full of poppies. The red petals complement the green grasses.
Get down low to ll the frame with as much red as possible.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
70200mm lens, 1/500 sec. at
f/5.6, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH6 106-119.indd 112 28/7/11 10:30:46
The Expanded Guide 113
Yellow
Pow! Photographs based on yellow subjects
will simply leap out at you. It is the brightest
of all colors and is representative, among
other things, of health, sunshine, happiness,
and playfulness. It is vibrant and emotionally
stimulating, and thankfully it is relatively easy
to nd occurring in nature. From vast swathes
of sunowers or elds of rape to the gentle
nodding daffodils of spring, or even the sun
itself, there are plenty of inspiring examples of
yellow to focus on. Be aware, though, that the
visual power of yellow will overpower any other
color (except white) in an image, so it needs to
be handled with caution and placed carefully in
the frame.
Orange
You would be hard pressed to be a landscape
photographer and not encounter the color
orange in nature on a regular basis. From the
orange rocks of Utah and the blaze of a wild
bushre to the warm orange glow of the
setting sun, orange is one of the easiest colors
to include in your images. It also happens to
be one of the most comforting, although also
it can be used to add the feel of energy or
serenity, depending on the brightness of the
orange you encounter.
DEMANDING YELLOW
Yellow is so bright that you can have slightly
less of it in the frame and it still dominates.
UTAH ROCKS!
There are few better places on the planet than
Utah, USA, for indulging in shooting orange.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH6 106-119.indd 113 2/8/11 17:26:57
Landscape Photography 114
Cool colors
Blue
This is one of the most prevalent colors in
nature, thanks to the sky, sea, and ice, plus a
host of obliging owers. It is a quiet, peaceful
color that can be used to infer serenity,
soulfulness, or loneliness, for example, but is
also the color most associated with cold. So, it
is useful for communicating winter conditions,
such as when taking photographs of an
icebound lake.
While a strong blue cast is not always what
you want in your images, it can be useful if you
are attempting to show any of the concepts
mentioned above, so think carefully about
the subject matter of the image before trying
to remove a blue cast, either with the use of
warming lters or in post-processing. It is quite
bold when used on its own in an image, but
recedes markedly if combined with the more
dominant red or yellow.
Green
This is the granddaddy of natures colors, and it
is hard to avoid for a landscape photographer.
Green, of course, is directly associated with
the concept of nature (just look at how many
companies employ green in their logos to try to
make them seem more eco friendly!), but it can
also be used to suggest growth, renewal, youth,
health, and wellbeing. It is usually fairly easy to
ABUNDANT GREEN (right)
You would be hard pressed to spend a day outdoors
without seeing green. The elevated vantage point makes
lling the frame with the elds far easier.
Minolta Dynax 9, 14mm lens,
exposure unrecorded
GOT THE BLUES
Glaciers and their crevasses, like this one in
Patagonia, are ideal locations for blue images.
create images dominated by green, especially
if you head into a forest or woodland during
spring and summer when the trees are swathed
in leaves.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH6 106-119.indd 114 2/8/11 17:26:59
The Expanded Guide 115
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH6 106-119.indd 115 28/7/11 10:30:48
Landscape Photography 116
With nature being so complex, it is relatively rare
to nd scenes where just one color dominates.
The challenge with most scenes is to nd
compositions that use the powerful tool that is
color, but combine the various colors present in
an intelligent way that adds to the impact of the
nal image, rather than detracting from it.
Using complementary colors
Opposites attract
Complementary colors are those that sit
opposite each other on the color wheel, so
green lies opposite red, blue lies opposite
orange, and yellow is opposite violet. These
colors readily appear in nature: the red and
green of berries on a leafy tree or poppies in a
grassy eld; blue and orange can be found in
the sky and rocks, or the sky and the sea; while
yellow and violet are to be seen together in
many owers.
The reason that we nd these color
combinations attractive is again partly due to
Y
E
L
L
O
W
B
L
U
E
RED
our brain wanting to bring order to our chaotic
world. If you stare at a red apple for a minute
or two and then look straight at a white piece
of paper, you momentarily see a green apple on
the paper. This illusion is caused by our visual
system trying to balance the red by adding
green to the scene in an attempt to obtain a
mid-gray level of brightness. If you want to
test your vision further with some optical color
illusions, then just do a quick search online for
them; there are many to be found.
BLUE SKY DAY
Complementary colours, such as blue and
orange, are naturally attractive to the eye.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH6 106-119.indd 116 28/7/11 10:30:49
The Expanded Guide 117
Balancing brightness
Although featuring these complementary colors
in roughly equal quantities in an image can be
successful, the German poet J.W. von Goethe
rst expounded the idea that they are likely to
appear more attractive when the quantities of
each are balanced relative to the brightness
of the colors themselves. For this theory to
work in practice, however, it does demand
a high level of purity in the colors, which is
not that common in the natural world, but,
having said that, it is worth bearing in mind the
brightness of the colors when putting together
a composition.
For example, orange is a lot brighter than
blue, so to maintain balance in an image
containing both, it is a good idea to include
around a third orange and two-thirds blue.
Red and green are fairly even in brightness, so
aim to divide the space in the frame equally
between the two. On the other hand, yellow is
far brighter than violet, so the ratio with these
colors needs to be closer to 1:5 to ensure the
yellow doesnt overwhelm the violet.
FINDING VISUAL BALANCE
Once you have found complementary colors to shoot, you need
to consider how much of each color you need to create balance.
Roughly one-third orange and two-thirds blue is just one example.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
70200mm lens, 1/5 sec. at f/25,
ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH6 106-119.indd 117 2/8/11 17:27:01
Landscape Photography 118
Surrounding colors
Being aware of how to balance complementary
colors in an image is important, but the
surrounding colors in the scene can also have a
big impact on how the colors are perceived. This
is quite a complex part of color theory, but it is
well worth exploring in a little more detail.
If red is surrounded by black, then the
red looks bright and punchy, but it appears
somewhat duller when surrounded by white.
When placed among blue-green subjects, red
starts to look more active and dynamic, and
the edges where the colors meet can appear
to vibrate due to the visual tension between
them. However, place something red among a
sea of orange subjects and the red loses much
of its liveliness. Similar effects can be seen with
any color combination, so it pays to be aware
of how the relative saturation and warmth or
coolness of the hues can play a big part in how
much visual attention a color commands in a
landscape photo.
Once you have wrapped your head around the
role that color plays in an image and how to
assess the impact of the combination of colors
included in a composition, the next step is
consciously and carefully to place those colors in
the frame.
The bright colors, yellow and red, draw much
attention, so if any subjects are included that
feature these colors, then you need to decide
whether these bright objects are part of, or are
the main subject of the image. If they are, then
you need to place those bright subjects in the
most prominent parts of the composition, such as
on the horizontal and vertical junctions invoked
by the rule of thirds. If the bright objects are not
the main subject of the image, then you need
to try to minimize their impact by either placing
them in the less interesting parts of the frame,
such as the bottom left-hand corner, or simply
excluding them altogether if no satisfactory
compromise can be found.
If you are including a certain color in the
photo to represent a concept, then you need
to work out how that concept relates to the
main subject and how they can be arranged to
maximize the viewers understanding of that
relationship. For instance, if you are taking a
photograph of a river and surrounding forest to
illustrate the concepts of calm and nature, then
is the main thrust of the photograph the calm
or the nature? Once that question has been
answered, it is easier to decide how much of the
frame will be taken up by the river (calm) and
how much by the forest (nature).
POSITIONING COLORS
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH6 106-119.indd 118 28/7/11 10:30:51
The Expanded Guide 119
Far from the drama of the world of
complementary colors lies the more serene
realm of analogous colorsthose colors that
sit next to each other on a 12-segment color
wheel. The subtly different analogous colors,
such as yellow-green, yellow, and yellow-
orange, blend together easily to create images
that are pleasing to the eye, although you have
to take care not to let that drift into boring!
Because these colors are more subtle, they may
take a fair bit of searching for in a landscape.
They are often within relatively small areas, or
even on the same object, such as a tree trunk or
in the leaves of a plant.
Some other appealing analogous color
combinations that you will be able to nd quite
readily in a landscape are those around red,
Using analogous colors red-orange, and orange, and of course green,
green-yellow, and green-blue.
As with the complementary colors, it is
important to bear in mind the relative brightness
of each of the analogous colors you are
wanting to include, and to ensure that the
balance of the brightness levels is controlled
as much as possible to assist the viewer in
quickly identifying the main subject of the
photograph. For example, if the focus of your
image is the intricate detail on a green leaf, but
there are some green-yellow ower buds in the
background, the buds will naturally command
more attention because of the extra brightness
of the yellow in their color. To get around this,
you might decide to recompose the image so
that the buds are hidden, or perhaps to use
a shallower depth of eld to render the buds
more blurred.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH6 106-119.indd 119 28/7/11 10:30:51
Landscape Photography 120
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH7 120-129.indd 120 2/8/11 10:03:19
The Expanded Guide 121
CHAPTER 7 CREATIVITY
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH7 120-129.indd 121 28/7/11 10:32:49
Landscape Photography 122
Be creative
By opening up your mind to explore the moods
and nuances of the landscape, and tapping into
your own emotional connection and reaction to
it, you can begin to take your images beyond
the literal. There are many ways in which you
can do this, limited only by your imagination,
but this chapter will provide a few techniques to
get you started.
Once you have a good command of landscape photography
fundamentals, you can start to spread your wings by playing with the
rules and the norms of how landscapes are represented. Although
photography seems like a very true to life form of art, in reality it is
no less subjective than painting or drawing.
Slow shutter speeds
Of all the photography genres, landscape
photography can sometimes appear to be
one of the least dynamic. However, there are
many elements in a landscape that will be on
the move, and using slow shutter speeds to
emphasize these can help introduce a feeling of
movement into an image.
PUSHING THE LIMITS
This shot of a sea kayaker in Baja California
used a slow shutter speed to blur the Sea of
Cortez. The kayaker stayed very still!
Minolta Dynax 9, 100300mm
lens, exposure unrecorded
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH7 120-129.indd 122 28/7/11 10:32:51
The Expanded Guide 123
Two of the most common moving elements
in the landscape are rivers and the sea, both of
which provide great opportunities for creating
very arty images. The long exposure time allows
the details of the water to be lost in a soft, milky
blur, which adds a surreal and slightly spiritual
feeling to the image. The key to making the blur
really work is to nely judge the exposure time:
too long, and the blur becomes so ephemeral in
appearance that it loses impact; too short, and
the details of the water become a distraction.
There are no hard-and-fast rules about the
shutter speed to use because it depends very
much on how rapidly the water is moving and
its direction of movement relative to the camera
sensor plane, so take the trouble to experiment
with different speeds to determine which of
them works best.
For best results, it is good to have a
contrasting element in the scene for the
movement of the water, so try to nd a rock
or fallen tree branch, or use the riverbanks
themselves, to provide something still in the
foreground of the composition. If you are
photographing the movement of waves on a
beach, then try to time your exposure so that
it captures the outward ow, rather than the
inward ow, if you want to get interesting
water patterns in the sand. Also, be aware
if you are using your tripod, that the water
washing around the tripod legs can cause it to
become unstable.
Other good moving subjects to consider
including in an image are long grasses or crops
swaying in the wind. Maram grass growing on
sand dunes at the coast can look particularly
effective when there is a breeze blowing
it around. If you happen to be travelling
somewhere that experiences volcanic activity,
then the eruptions of geysers can look very
dramatic when photographed using a slow
shutter speed.
DIRECTION OF TRAVEL
Blur is affected by direction of the moving
elements. Things that travel across the
camera blur more readily.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
70200mm lens, 1/30 sec. at f/9,
ISO 200
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH7 120-129.indd 123 28/7/11 10:32:51
Landscape Photography 124
Classic landscape photography theory
emphasizes how crucial it is to keep the camera
absolutely still, normally by using a heavyweight
tripod. Creative thinkers, though, have started
to play around with the concept of deliberately
moving the camera to create swishing
interpretations of the landscape and its elements.
To try your hand at panning the camera during
an exposure, you can either simply handhold
the camera or, if you want a little more control
over the direction of the pan, you can mount it
on a tripod and release the tripod adjustment
levers so that it is free to move in one plane. Both
techniques are valid, so it is worth trying them
both to see if you prefer one over the other.
You can try panning with just about any
landscape subject matter, though the trees
in a forest, and the sea and sky have become
popular aspects to work with. Again, there
are no hard-and-fast rules about what shutter
speed to use, as it depends on how you want
the image to look and also how quickly you pan
the camera, but try starting out with a shutter
speed of about half to one second. The resulting
images are usually more successful if you can
limit the movement in the panning motion to
just one plane (hence you may nd it easier to
mount the camera on a tripod).
Panning
This is a new kid on the landscape photography
block and very much a child of the digital age.
HDR, as it is known, is a technique where you
take several images of exactly the same scene,
each being exposed to optimize the highlights,
midtones, or shadows. A good sequence for
many scenes is to shoot exposures at 0EV, +2EV,
and -2EV based on the cameras matrix metering
exposure for the scene (the easiest way to do this
is to use aperture priority mode and dial in the
High dynamic range
photography
IMAGE 1 SHADOWS
This image was exposed to bring out the
maximum detail in the shadow areas, in the
foreground grass, and the water.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH7 120-129.indd 124 28/7/11 10:32:51
The Expanded Guide 125
There are several popular stand-alone HDR
software options available, while Adobe
Photoshop can also create them. Stand-alone
software includes:
Photomatixwww.hdrsoft.com
easyHDRwww.easyhdr.com
Adobe Photoshopwww.adobe.com
Artizen HDRwww.
supportingcomputers.net
HDR SOFTWARE
under- and overexposure). These images are then
blended together in HDR software, and the best
exposure for each of the three areas is allowed
to show through, thus expanding the dynamic
range of light that can be seen in the nal image,
over and above what a digital camera is capable
of capturing in a single exposure.
One of the keys to a successful HDR image
is learning to use the software to obtain subtle
results; far too often, the images look garish
and slightly comic book in style, especially when
the range of light shown exceeds even what we
can see with our own eyes.
IMAGE 2 HIGHLIGHTS
The second image was produced to get
the best details out of the sky. The shadow
areas are too dark in this one.
IMAGE 3 FINAL HDR IMAGE
The nal combined HDR image has good
detail in both the shadows and the
highlights, without looking too garish.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH7 120-129.indd 125 28/7/11 10:32:52
Landscape Photography 126
If you have ever taken a photo of a sweeping
vista and rued the fact that you couldnt t it
all into the frame, then the wonderful world of
panorama photography is most denitely for
you. In the days of lm, shooting panoramic
images was really only open to those who could
afford expensive panoramic cameras, but digital
imaging and the powerful software that has
become increasingly affordable now make it
open to the masses. Its not even technically
challenging any more. With some popular digital
cameras now, you can even create panoramas
in-camera by simply switching to panoramic
mode, taking three or more images of the scene
so that they overlap slightly and, hey presto,
the cameras software will miraculously analyze
the images and stitch them together to create a
perfect panorama. It is quite breathtaking to see.
For those photographers who want to do
things at a higher level or who do not own
a camera with the panoramic facility built in,
there are plenty of software options for doing it
Creating panoramas
These are just some of the software packages
available that allow you to stitch your images
together to make panoramic photographs:
Adobe Photoshopwww.adobe.com
PTGuiwww.ptgui.com
PanaVue Image Assemblerwww.
panavue.com
Panorama Makerwww.arcsoft.com
PANORAMA SOFTWARE
yourself. They all follow much the same pattern:
shoot a series of overlapping images, load them
into the software, press a button, and then
wait for the software to do its magic. For those
wanting to take it to extremes, you can shoot
images not just horizontally, but also vertically
too, and then stitch all of them together
to create a massive nal image. With some
software, you can even go full circle, so to
speak, and create 360-degree virtual images.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH7 120-129.indd 126 19/8/11 09:58:32
The Expanded Guide 127
RIGHT-HAND SIDE
This is the nal image in the
sequence. Note the loss of
sky in the nal panorama
due to the need to crop it.
LEFT-HAND SIDE
This is the rst of a series
of ve overlapping images
that went into creating the
stitched panorama.
FINAL PANORAMA
The nal panorama (below)
was stitched together in
Photoshop. It gives a lovely
view of the valley and peaks.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH7 120-129.indd 127 19/8/11 09:58:33
Landscape Photography 128
Landscape photographs are generally composed
to include as much of the big view as can be
tted in, but there is much to be gained from
leaving out a lot of the context of the scene,
too. Zoom in on the details of a landscape to
take some abstract photos, and you will nd
that often less is more when it comes to
making landscape photos with visual impact.
When faced with a big scene, train your mind
to start seeking out potential mini-scenes within
it. These could be the layered ridges of a distant
mountain range, the way the light falls across
a particular part of a eld, or the silhouettes of
trees upon otherwise open moorland.
To discover abstract scenes within big
landscapes often requires you to nd a higher
vantage point, so look around for anything
that may help you climb higher: a nearby hill,
a forest re watchtower, or a cliff overlooking
a coastal bay. Once you reach your vantage
point, mount a telephoto zoom lens, if you have
one, onto your camera and spend some time
scouring the scene with it to see what might
work as an abstract image. You are not looking
for great depth to these images, since they are
often all about simple, graphic patterns, colors,
or details. Once you have spotted something
that works, resist the temptation to quickly re
away a few shots and consider the job done.
Composing an abstract image takes just as
much care and attention as a broader landscape
image. Assess various ways of arranging the
patterns or details in the frame, trying both
horizontal and vertical formats; does including
Abstract landscapes
one more mountain ridge add to or detract
from the power of the photograph? Keep the
framing as tight as possible to avoid distracting
elements creeping into the edges of the image.
Why not try?
Flashlight magic
One of the classic issues of
photographing at night is that the
landscape is generally cloaked in
darkness while the sky retains at least
some of the light reected from the
moon and the stars. An interesting and
highly creative way to get around this
problem is to paint the landscape
into the photograph with a ashlight.
You will need a fairly powerful
ashlight, especially if you are hoping
to paint in elements of the landscape
that are more than a short distance
away. Set the camera exposure time
to match what you need to correctly
render the stars and sky. Once the
shutter is open, carefully play your
ashlight over the elements of the
landscape that you want to reveal in
the photo, such as trees or rocks. Move
the ashlight slowly and methodically
over the subjects, trying not to pause
in any one spot for too long. It takes
a little trial and error to perfect the
technique, but the results can be both
unique and compelling.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH7 120-129.indd 128 2/8/11 17:27:58
The Expanded Guide 129
ADDING MEANING
This shot was taken in Nepal in the early morning. The light was
dramatic on the terraced sloped while the valley walls were
shadowed. By zooming in and omitting the sky, it was possible to
capture the feeling of this being an imposing, isolated location.
Minolta Dynax, 100300mm
lens, exposure unrecorded
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH7 120-129.indd 129 28/7/11 10:32:55
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 130 28/7/11 10:36:45
CHAPTER 8 LOCATIONS & SUBJECTS
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 131 28/7/11 10:36:46
Landscape Photography 132
LocationsMountains & Hills
Light is right
Unless you are a professional and need to
carry your entire arsenal of photo equipment
on every assignment, then the best way to
ensure that you maximize your chances of
having a fun time while photographing in the
mountains is to travel light. One camera body
and, at most, a couple of lensesone wide
and one a medium telephotoshould sufce
for just about any situation.
Tripods are a necessary evil, unfortunately,
and if you make regular excursions into the
hills and mountains, then it will be well worth
investing in a sturdy, lightweight example, such
as those made from carbon ber. This will ease
your burden.
Although there are many good camera
backpacks on the market, I often use a chest
mounted camera bag to ensure that the camera
is always accessible on the move. When your
legs are tired and the weather is challenging,
it is amazing how mentally hard it becomes to
keep stopping and taking a backpack off to get
your camera out.
One of the greatest subjects for landscape photography, mountains
and hills offer a dramatic backdrop to any photograph. Capturing
images of high places involves not only being a good photographer,
but also knowing how to operate and, to some extent, survive in
some of the planets most inhospitable places.
Plan to be there
A difcult thing to get right in the mountains
is simply being in the right place at the right
time. Your speed on foot is far slower than
normal due to the terrain, so you need to allow
plenty of leeway in your schedule to make sure
that you dont miss out on the optimum light.
To catch sunrise, of course, you will need to
set out on your route in the dark, so make sure
you take a headlamp. If you have a denite
vantage point that you want to reach, try not
to be distracted by other photo opportunities
en route, unless you have ample time.
Bold compositions
There is a plethora of mountain images out
there, so if you want to shoot something a
little different, try to visualize some very bold
compositions that use a medium-to-long
telephoto lens to compress the perspective.
Wide-angle lenses tend to make mountains
look smaller, since the ridges are often placed
between the midground and background. By
zooming in on the craggy summits, especially
when dramatic light is falling on them, you can
add drama to the image.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 132 28/7/11 10:36:48
The Expanded Guide 133
Mountain light
The direction and quality of the light is critical
for successfully taking mountain photographs.
They are subjects on a grand scale, and
anything other than dramatic lighting will
usually leave the image looking rather at and
dull. Try to nd a vantage point that allows the
scene before you to be lit by sidelighting, since
this will give the greatest feeling of depth to
the images. When sidelit, the mountains and
valleys between will offer contrasting areas
of light and shadow. If there is some mist in
the valleys, then you may be lucky to see that
mist being lit up by the sun, too, which can
produce awe-inspiring photographs. Mist-
lled valleys and ridges of mountains can also
provide dramatic compositions when they are
backlit. In this situation, they become almost
monochromatic; a telephoto lens can make the
ridgelines appear to be stacked one on top of
the other.
This is a light phenomenon that can often be seen
in the high mountains. As the sun rises or sets, the
peaks opposite the sun, especially if they are covered
in snow, will be ablaze with warm orange light.
However, around 30 minutes before sunrise and
after sunset, the mountains can become bathed in
a striking purple light, known as alpenglow. As the
sky behind the mountains darkens, the purple light
appears to strengthen. It is caused by the mountains
reecting the twilight arch.
ALPENGLOW
BOLD COMPOSITIONS
Zooming in on a mountain can add real drama
to the image and simplify it at the same time.
MOUNTAIN LIGHT
Mountains are great placed to nd subtle light.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 133 28/7/11 10:36:48
Landscape Photography 134 Landscape Photography 134
Mountains and hills
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 134 2/8/11 10:07:36
The Expanded Guides 135 The Expanded Guide 135
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 135 2/8/11 17:28:51
Landscape Photography 136
LocationsCoast
Tide times & weather forecasts
Photographing at the coast can be one of the
wildest encounters with nature you can have,
so you need to be both knowledgeable and
prepared to ensure that you make the most
of the opportunity and dont get into any
unnecessary danger. Knowing the tide times is
crucial, since it allows you to plan to be there
when the sea is at its optimum state for getting
the shots you are after and at a time when it is
safe to get down onto the beach or shoreline.
There are two high tides and two low tides per
24-hour period, so if you want to access an area
of the beach that is covered by the high tide,
then you need to be arriving at your location
when it is close to low tide to give yourself a
few hours to take photographs. Tide times are
available online for many locations.
If you want to make coastal images with
lots of dramatic impact, you should be heading
there when big storms are approaching. As low
pressure systems push toward a coastline, they
can send huge waves crashing against cliffs
and onto beaches. Taking photos of crashing
waves often works best from a slightly elevated
vantage point, so scout the location to see if
there is a rock or clifftop that might give you the
desired perspective. Be wary of getting too close
Where the land meets the sea has always been one of the favorite
locations for landscape photographers. From crashing waves to
sweeping, glorious beaches, the coast offers not only beauty, but also
drama aplenty.
to the waves themselves, though, since rogue
waves, which are bigger than the rest, regularly
occur and can swamp spots that seem way
above the danger line.
Canon EOS 10D, 105mm lens,
1/45 sec. at f/2.8, ISO 400
COASTAL LIGHT
You will often get dramatic light right up to
sunset at the coast. This can add real shape
and depth to an image.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 136 28/7/11 10:36:50
The Expanded Guide 137
Coastal light
There are few scenes more beguiling than
being at the coast at sunrise or sunset. The
lack of physical obstacles out to sea means
the suns rays can be seen right up until the
moment they drop below the horizon, and the
reective qualities of the water add to those
of the sky to produce a very special light that
is much heralded by photographers. If you are
fortunate enough to have some mid-level cloud
overhead, then you could be in for a real treat,
since the clouds pick up the rst or last light of
the day and are often reected in the wet sand
of the beach as the sea ebbs.
Moving water
With the sea being so dynamic, it is worth
trying to capture this movement in your
images by using slow shutter speeds. If you
set up your camera close to the water line, try
using a shutter speed between one and two
seconds to see how lovely the blur of water
can look as it comes and goes through the
frame. If you can, nd a solitary rock to focus
on in the foreground to provide contrast to
the movement of the water. Look out, too,
for ripples in the sand that can add attractive
patterns to your image.
Why not try?
Beachcombing
Beaches are superb places for shooting
abstract photos of the stones, shells, and
even the detritus that is washed up by
the tide. If you are photographing stones,
try to nd or gather together a collection
with similar colors, then add one that has
a strongly contrasting color to make the
focal point of your image.
MOVING WATER
More subtle movement in the sea can be recorded by using a
shutter speed of around 1/50 sec.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII, 2470mm
lens, 1/50 sec. at f/18, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 137 28/7/11 10:36:51
Landscape Photography 138 Landscape Photography 138
Coastal light
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 138 28/7/11 10:36:51
The Expanded Guides 139 The Expanded Guide 139
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 139 2/8/11 17:28:52
Landscape Photography 140
LocationsDesert
The classic deserts with huge dunes, such
as those in Namibia or around the Sahara
region, are a dream destination for many
photographers, but getting great photos from
them can be more challenging than it rst
appears.
Sand trap
One of the most important things to do when
you are in a desert environment is to protect
both yourself and your camera gear from the
harshness of the elements. In the heat of the
midday sun, even the shortest of hikes into
the dunes can turn into a struggle if you dont
cover exposed skin with lightweight clothing
and wear a good hat. You should always carry
water with you, even if you think you are only
venturing off for a few minutes. It is easy to
underestimate the brutal nature of the dry, hot
air, and how quickly it can sap your energy and
any moisture in your mouth.
There are few environments that endanger
your camera gear more than a desert. The
slightest of winds can whip the sand into every
nook and cranny of your camera and lenses,
and you will nd yourself listening to the
resulting grind for many months or even years
Its hard not to conjure up images of Lawrence of Arabia when you
are photographing in a desert, and there is nothing wrong with
heading down the slightly romantic route with your images of these
riveting sandy landscapes.
after you leave. First and foremost, you need to
protect the camera in the same way as if you
were taking it out in a rainstorm. Ideally, put
your camera into a completely sealed bag, such
as those made for underwater photography,
but a good camera raincover will also do the
trick in all but the most ferocious of sandstorms.
Whatever you do, dont be tempted to change
lenses with the camera out in the open: ne
grains of sand will almost certainly get into the
camera body.
Going to extremes
One of the other great challenges of
photographing in the desert is the extreme
and rapidly changing temperatures that occur
there. Within an hour of the sun coming up,
the temperatures can be unbearably hot, yet
within half an hour of the sun going down,
you could be forgiven for thinking that you
have been transported to the Arctic! You
have to be very wary of condensation forming
with the changes in temperature, so carry a
resealable plastic bag with you to pop your
camera into around sunrise and sunset to
give it a chance to adjust more slowly to the
ambient temperature.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 140 28/7/11 10:36:53
The Expanded Guide 141
Desert light
Given how hot things get, you will be glad to
know that it is fairly futile to try to get great
photographs of the desert in the middle of
the day, because the light is way too harsh.
The prime times to be shooting images are
for about half an hour before and after
sunrise and sunset, when the low sun sends
spectacular rays of light dancing across the
desertscape, illuminating all the ripples and
indentations in the sand. Again, sidelight
is the type you want to seek out, since this
gives maximum relief to the scene. Look out
for dunes with sharp ridgelines, since the
low sun will often illuminate one side of the
dune completely while leaving the other side
Why not try?
Patterns in the sand
By getting down low and using the
endless ripples in the sand as leading
lines for your foreground, you can create
very bold and dynamic images, especially
if you can use the leading lines to direct
the viewers eye to a major subject in
the composition, such as a large dune, a
camel, or an oasis.
RIPPLES IN THE SAND
Restricting your composition to colors that are
low in saturation can have a harmonious effect.
in shadow, which can produce very dramatic
images of the ridge itself.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 141 2/8/11 17:28:56
Landscape Photography 142 Landscape Photography 142
Desert light
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 142 28/7/11 10:36:54
The Expanded Guides 143 The Expanded Guide 143
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 143 2/8/11 17:28:58
Landscape Photography 144
LocationsJungle & Forest
Jungles and forests harbor some of the least known plants and
creatures on our planet, so offer a real wealth of photo opportunities
for those photographers dedicated enough to venture into them.
They are far from easy environments to work in, though, since the
darkness, the complexity of the scene, and, quite often, high levels of
humidity provide substantial creative and logistical challenges.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
70200mm lens, 0.4 sec. at f/22,
ISO 100
ORDER FROM CHAOS
Bringing simplicity to forest and jungle shots requires a lot of
hard work in seeking out simple elements. Dramatic light and
some mist can help to separate the many layers in a scene.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 144 28/7/11 10:36:56
The Expanded Guide 145
Dark and dank
Through a heavy tree canopy, very little light
manages to penetrate all the way to the
forest oor. While this creates an ideal habitat
for a plethora of fascinating creatures and
plants, it can make life extremely difcult for
the landscape photographer. Shutter speeds
will drop alarmingly, and the use of a tripod
becomes almost mandatory if you are going
to produce images that have any degree of
technical quality.
The best photos in the forest also tend to
be detail ones, because the overall scene is a
jumbled mess of tree trunks, branches, and
leaves. So, not only will you nd yourself with
hardly any light to work with, but you are highly
likely to be scrabbling around on the ground,
trying to nd good subjects, too.
If your chosen location is a rainforest or in
any of the worlds humid regions, then you
will also have to battle the insidious creep of
moisture into all your kit. I have only ever lost
two camera bodies to the elements, and both
of those were on one trip into a Canadian
rainforest, where a week of high humidity and
relentless rainfall left the cameras in a fatal state
of dampness. Even if it isnt raining, you need
to look after your equipment as if that were
the case. Keeping the cameras in sealed plastic
bags with plenty of sachets of silica gel inside
is a must. If you have one, then a completely
Canon EOS 1DS MKII, 1635mm
lens, 1/160 sec. at f/3.5, ISO 100
DETAILED STUDIES
With a forest being so
visually busy, it is often
best to nd close-up details
that can help represent the
overall feel of the scene.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 145 28/7/11 10:36:57
Landscape Photography 146
Why not try?
Underexpose
The dominance of dark tree trunks and
generally dark green leaves means that
you will need to slightly underexpose
your images (either in the eld or in post-
processing) in a forest to capture the rich
tones within. A setting of about -2/3 to -1
stop usually works for most situations.
waterproof camera bag is also worth utilizing.
When you have nished shooting for the day,
take all your camera gear out of the bag, wipe
it down with a cloth, and allow to air dry in a
warm, dry environment. Also, avoid changing
lenses, if possible, when out in the eld.
Order from chaos
The biggest challenge in any jungle or forest is
being able to see the trees from the wood,
so to speak. The scene is so complex that you
need to train your eye to see beyond the chaos,
to nd simple graphic patterns and shapes that
hint at the expanse of the forest around, but
dont literally show it. The mind is very powerful
at adding the missing information to an image,
so if you show a few trees and include subtle
hints that there are more (such as ensuring the
branches of your chosen trees extend beyond
the frame), then your brain will calculate that
there are probably more trees beyond those
included in the photograph.
There are no harder creative environments to
work in than jungles and forests, so take your
time over composing each image and assess
the importance, or not, of every element that
you include. General snapshots of forests are
doomed to fail. Abstract images, such as backlit
leaves or bark patterns on the trees, on the
other hand, are likely to prove to be winners, as
are close-up images of broadleaf plants with the
forest receding into softness in the background.
Forests are the perfect place to use large
apertures to achieve a shallow depth of eld,
since this starts to simplify the image and the
main subject itself.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII, 2470mm
lens, 1/200 sec. at f/5, ISO 100
BACKLIT DRAMA
Light diffusing through the forest canopy can
provide dramatic backlit shots of the leaves.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 146 2/8/11 17:29:01
The Expanded Guide 147
QUIRKY FEATURES
Always keep your eyes open for unusual elements in a forest. This
bowed tree trunk contrasted nicely with the straight lines around it .
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
70200mm lens, 1/80
sec. at f/4.5, ISO 100
UNUSUAL ANGLES
Look for creative angles to shoot from in forests and jungles. It can
help to both simplify the image and add visual impact.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
1635mm lens, 1/40
sec. at f/10, ISO 100
THIS ONES NOT SUPPOSED TO
BE HERE... BUT IT DOES FIT IN
SO WELL LEAVE IT
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 147 28/7/11 10:36:58
Landscape Photography 148
Freeze or ow?
One of the most critical artistic decisions you
need to make about shooting lakes and rivers
is whether you want the water to be blurred or
sharp. Personally, I prefer to retain some detail
in the water, so usually opt for faster shutter
speeds to freeze the motion, but the blurry,
soft water approach has become increasingly
popular, too. The key to success with the latter
is to make sure that the exposure isnt so long
that the water loses all of its form. Try an
LocationsRivers & Lakes
Ever since Ansel Adams and his contemporaries began shooting the
landscapes of the Yosemite Valley and the Merced River, lakes and
rivers have been a central focus for landscape photographers. They
offer dynamic subject matter, with fast owing rivers bringing real
drama to an image, and some of the most striking visual attractions in
nature, almost pure reections in mirror-still lakes.
exposure of between and 1 second to start
with and work from there.
If you want to use extended exposure times
during the day, then the only way to achieve
them is to use a heavy neutral-density lter,
such as the Big Stopper (a 10-stop ND lter)
from Lee Filters. If you are photographing
reections in a very still lake, a long exposure
time will likely blur the reection, because
although it looks still, there will probably be
some currents moving the water in the lake.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
1635mm lens, 1/40 sec. at
f/18, ISO 100
STEAMING LAKES
This volcanic lake in
Dominica is very active and
very hot, so a high vantage
point was essential!
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 148 28/7/11 10:36:59
The Expanded Guide 149
Dark reections
One of the most common errors when
using neutral-density graduated lters for
photographing reections in lakes is to make
the reection as bright as, or even brighter
than the scene being reected. Our natural
vision is geared to expect reections in water
to be darker than the scene being reected, so
if you apply too much of a lter effect, the end
result will look instantly unnatural. The quality
of the reection in the water will also improve
the farther away it is from your vantage point,
because of your viewing angle of the surface of
the lake. So, if you are tempted to wade into
the lake to get closer to the good reection,
then forget it; the reection quality will recede
as you walk in.
Early birds
If you want to maximize your chances of
catching a lake when its surface is perfectly
still, then you need to get out early in the
morning. More often than not, the convection
air currents that are generated once the sun
rises and begins heating the ground will create
enough breezes and winds to disturb the
surface of a lake.
Depth of the river
Rivers are one of the best possible depth cues
that a landscape photographer can include
in an image. When shot looking up or down
the river, the banks converge to the vanishing
point in the distance, adding an irresistible
third dimension to the photo.
The visual pull of a river is so powerful that
you need to be careful that it doesnt draw the
viewers eye away from the main subject of
the photograph. The river will lead the viewer
on a journey through the photograph, and it
is important that when they get to the end of
that journey that there is something of note
for them to see. It doesnt matter if the river
leads them to a castle, a mountain peak, or a
dramatic cloud formation; it just needs to lead
somewhere interesting.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
2470mm lens, 1/125 sec. at
f/16, ISO 100
FOLLOW THE RIVER
Rivers provide the perfect
leading lines into an
image, providing a strong
feel of a third dimension.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 149 28/7/11 10:37:00
Landscape Photography 150 Landscape Photography 150
Reections
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 150 28/7/11 10:37:00
The Expanded Guides 151 The Expanded Guide 151
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 151 2/8/11 17:29:01
Landscape Photography 152
Canon EOS 1DS MKII, 2470mm
lens, 1/8 sec. at f/20, ISO 100
A BALANCED FALL
Shooting a waterfall in
landscape format allows
more of the surrounding
landscape to be included.
A balanced fall
Because waterfalls tend to be made up of
white or near-white foaming water and their
surroundings are often dark green forest or
jungle, it can be difcult to balance these two
SubjectsWaterfalls
Few elements of a landscape can rival waterfalls for sheer
romanticism and drama. Whether they tumble just a few feet or tens
of feet, the dynamism they bring will take anyones breath away.
extremes in a composition. The far brighter
waterfall tends to drag all the attention to it,
so it needs some clever thinking to avoid it
completely overwhelming everything else in the
frame. Depending on the shape and extent of
the waterfall, the rst choice to make is whether
to shoot it in a landscape or portrait format.
High, thin waterfalls tend to look good
when shot in portrait format, since this helps
to emphasize the sense of the water falling
from the sky, but this can restrict the amount
of surrounding scene that can be included to
Although they are beautiful to behold,
waterfalls do present a number of challenges
to photographers, ranging from framing them
in a meaningful and balanced way to simply
protecting the camera gear from the inevitable
spray that drenches everything within reach.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 152 28/7/11 10:37:02
The Expanded Guide 153
balance the image. Try offsetting this type of
waterfall to either side of the center of the
framejust a little will sufcebecause this
adds interest to the composition in itself. Avoid
placing high waterfalls too near the edge of
the frame, since this makes it almost impossible
to counter the resulting heavily one-sided look
with the dark green forest in the rest of the
frame. Placing the waterfall nearer to the middle
of the frame also helps to give the sense that it
is buried deep in the forest or jungle.
Broad falls can be shot more easily in
landscape format and you can stick more closely
to classical composition techniques. Find a good
subject, such as a fallen tree branch or large
boulder in the water below the fall, to add
foreground interest, and try to avoid showing
too much sky, since it is likely to be overexposed
compared to the fall and forest. Include just a
sliver of sky to give the fall both context and a
Waterfalls are one of the subjects that work
particularly well with slow shutter speeds,
which turn the fall into a milky smooth
tumble. Try using a shutter speed of around
1/6 of a second or slower to get the best
effects. If you are in really close to the fall
and shooting a wide-angle view of it, then
try going to the opposite extreme of shutter
speed. A very fast one, such as 1/4000 of
a second, will freeze all the tiny droplets
exploding out of the fall, revealing detail and
drama that is not visible to the naked eye.
BLUR THE WATER
sense of scaleit is far easier for the mind to
work out a rough size when the sky is included
in the composition.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
70200mm lens, 1/100 sec.
at f/4.5, ISO 100
SENSE OF SCALE
It is hard to know how
high a waterfall is. A
person in the frame helps
to give an easy reference.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 153 28/7/11 10:37:02
Landscape Photography 154
Stay ahead of the game
Clouds form and dissipate at an alarming rate,
so if you happen upon some that compel you to
take your camera out, then you need to act and
think fast to capture the moment. As you move
through the landscape, it pays to keep one eye
on the sky, to give yourself as much notice as
possible of potential cloud formations heading
your way. I often nd myself imagining scenes
on the ground and how they might look with
SubjectsClouds
There are few things that get me as excited about taking landscape
photographs as some billowing or distinctive clouds! They can turn
even the most mundane terrain into a powerful image and are
mesmerizing to watch as they scoot across the sky. Indeed, if the
land isnt providing anything of note to include in a photograph, then
clouds can form a great subject in themselves.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
1635mm lens, 1/320 sec. at
f/7.1, ISO 100
HEAD IN THE
CLOUDS
It is worth keeping an eye
on the sky for impressive
clouds as you travel
through a landscape.
dramatic clouds added to the equation, so if the
clouds do come along, then at least I am a little
mentally prepared to react effectively.
One of the most interesting clouds to look
for is a lone cumulus or stratocumulus that can
be isolated above your chosen ground subject.
These uffy, low-level clouds are some of the
most well dened to be seen and make a strong
addition to a photograph, especially when
caught against a clear blue sky.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 154 28/7/11 10:37:03
The Expanded Guide 155
Starting from the highest clouds, these are
the main types to attempt to include in your
landscape photos:
Cirrus (up to 45,000 feet/13,716 meters)
Looking like a herd of unruly white horse manes
swishing across the upper sky, cirrus clouds are
made up of ice crystals.
Cumulonimbus (up to 45,000 feet/13,716
meters)
Hold onto your hats. This is the most dramatic
cloud in the sky, and often is known as the
thunder cloud or anvil cloud, because of its
shape. At times, it appears to be billowing
upward at great speed, as if it were a volcanic
eruption. Its base is usually at low level, around
2,000 feet (610 meters), but the top can be up
to 45,000 feet high, and it can look particularly
stunning if photographed rising above a clean
ridgeline dotted with a few trees or other
subjects that add a sense of scale.
KNOW YOUR CLOUDS
Altocumulus (up to 23,000 feet/7,000 meters)
This mid-level type of cloud is a landscape
photographers best friend. They often look like a
vast layer of cotton wool balls lling the sky and,
given the right conditions as the sun rises or sets,
can ignite with spectacular reds and oranges.
Cumulus (up to 6,500 feet/1,981 meters)
Looking like giant bundles of cotton wool barreling
across the landscape, these are some of the most
eyecatching and frequently occurring clouds. They
form from around midmorning until late afternoon,
and can rescue a midday photograph from being
sent to the trashcan if they are distinct enough.
Stratocumulus (up to 6,500 feet/1,981 meters)
These ll the sky to a greater extent than cumulus
clouds and are often dark enough to suggest that
a storm is on its way. They can add real drama
to a landscape, especially when witnessed in the
mountains, and can have enough tiny breaks in
their cover to allow occasional shafts of sunlight to
break through.
If you enjoy watching and photographing clouds
as much as I do, then you will be fascinated to
know that there is Cloud Appreciation Society for
likeminded cloud lovers, formed by English writer
Gavin Pretor-Pinney, the author of the international
bestseller The Cloudspotters Guide. You can
nd out more and join, for a small fee, by going to
www.cloudappreciationsociety.org.
CLOUD APPRECIATION SOCIETY
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 155 28/7/11 10:37:03
Landscape Photography 156 Landscape Photography 156
Clouds
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 156 28/7/11 10:37:03
The Expanded Guides 157 The Expanded Guide 157
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 157 2/8/11 17:29:05
Landscape Photography 158
Near or far?
Faced with a swathe of blossoming owers
in an attractive landscape, the rst choice to
make is whether you want the owers to be
the main act or just to play a supporting role in
the image. If the owers are to be the main act,
then swap to a medium telephoto lensaround
the 100mm mark should sufceor a macro
lens if you want to get really close, and set
about hunting out strong abstract or close-up
compositions. If you are shooting macro or
close-up images, then you need to be acutely
aware of any wind, or even gentle breeze,
that is blowing, because the owers will be
constantly on the move.
In anything other than a light wind, taking
an image that shows the owers frozen still
may well prove to be impossible. If so, then
consider channeling your creative thoughts into
how you can make a more surreal photograph
SubjectsFlowers & Plants
As winter turns into spring, landscapes around the world explode
into life as colorful owers and other plants emerge. Previously
bare patches of land suddenly become appealing foregrounds for
photographs, and the owers and plants, in themselves, offer up a
plethora of striking image making opportunities, with more abstract
and macro shots becoming possible.
The best thing about this time of year is that
even if you dont live in an ordinarily stunning
location, the owers and plants can bring great
photography closer to your doorstep.
by incorporating the movement into the look
of the image. Using a slow shutter speed
of around one second or more will melt the
owers into a lovely blur, although it is hard to
predict what the nal image will look like, so
shoot plenty of frames to increase the chance
of success.
If the owers will form a vibrant foreground
to a grander landscape image, then it is still
important to decide how the combination of
elements will be represented in the image.
Will all the parts of the scene be given equal
weighting? If so, you want to use small
apertures of f/16 or smaller to ensure everything
in the image is sharply focused. If the owers
will still be the main focus of attention, try using
a wide-angle lens and getting in close enough
have one or two owers sharp and prominent
in the near foreground, and ll the rest of the
frame with the other owers and the landscape
beyond. Using a large aperture to throw the
middle ground and background out of focus
will help the viewer to easily decipher what you
want them to look at, while the blurred scene
beyond the owers will still add context.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 158 2/8/11 17:29:08
The Expanded Guide 159
SOFT FOCUS
Using shallow depth of eld adds a touch of
atmosphere to images of plants and owers. Focusing
on owers in the mid distance can enhance the effect.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII,
70200mm lens, 1/800
sec. at f/7.1, ISO 100
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 159 28/7/11 10:37:05
Landscape Photography 160
Tree techniques
Whether you shoot images of them as part of
a forest, isolate single trees to show their shape
and form, or get in really close to show off the
intricate patterns and details in their leaves or
bark, you need a range of photography skills
to make the images work. We have already
covered some of the techniques and creative
approaches of shooting trees as part of a forest
or jungle (see pages 1447), so here we will
focus on taking more intimate portraits of trees.
One of the key factors in capturing
successful images of trees does not involve the
camera at all; it just involves your eyes. Trees,
whether solitary or part of a forest, are very
complex, and nding the picture to take in the
rst place is a real challenge. Put your camera
down for a while and spend some minutes
walking around the tree, not just observing it as
a whole, but also peering into the details of its
SubjectsTrees
Given that you can nd trees pretty much everywhere, even in the
most extreme regions on the planet, it is no surprise that they play a
part in a majority of landscape photographs. They are great subjects at
any time of the year, from their bleak, leaess looks in winter to being
verdant in spring and summer, but it is autumn when photographers
nd trees truly hard to resist.
The onset of autumn in many parts of the world
leads to a procession of red, yellow, and orange
marching across the treetops in one of Mother
Natures greatest spectacles.
structure: clusters of leaves or even an individual
leaf, the shapes of its branches or its trunk,
how the light falls on the tree and, perhaps,
backlights the leaves.
When you have found something with
potential, retrieve the camera and start to
explore in even more detail through the
viewnder. Analyze how changing your
viewpoint changes the clarity and simplicity
of the image, and how changing the aperture
settings to achieve a shallower depth of eld
inuences how the main subject stands out
from the background. Try to prevent competing
elements overlapping too much in the image.
For backlit leaves, take a spot meter reading
off the leaf itself and add a little exposure
compensation depending on the color of the
leafyou will need to add more for yellow
leaves and less, or none at all, for green leaves.
Even though you are shooting close-ups, dont
forget to apply the basic rules of composition:
place the subject on one of the thirds in the
frame and try to lead the viewers eye into the
image by having part of the subject come into
the frame from one of the corners.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 160 2/8/11 17:29:08
The Expanded Guide 161
CANT SEE THE WOOD FOR THE TREES?
One of the classic problems with photographing trees
is trying to simplify the composition. One way around
this is to nd a nearby hill to climb for an aerial view.
Minolta Dynax 9,
100300mm lens,
exposure unrecorded
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 161 28/7/11 10:37:06
Landscape Photography 162
Visual balance
An important creative aspect to take into
account revolves around how much we like
to look at other people. Its probably a quite
primordial reaction in us, but the power a
SubjectsPeople in the Landscape
I know some of you will be wondering why the word people is
appearing in a book about landscape photographybut every
now and again the addition of a person to a scene can make a
substantially better photograph.
One of the biggest issues that a viewer can have
with interpreting an image is deciding how
big or small something is. So, one of the best
ways to quickly solve this dilemma for them,
and remove the obstacle to them enjoying the
image, is to add something into the image that
gives it a sense of scale. Some things give that
scale more readily than others, depending on
how well we know the average size of whatever
you include. A tree, for example, could be a
fairly good subject to add a sense of scale, but
there are very large trees (giant redwoods spring
to mind) and very small trees (bonsai trees if
you want an extreme example!). So, although
they may give some idea of how large the
main landscape subject is, it is not crystal clear.
However, we humans dont vary so greatly in
size at all. Include one of us in the landscape,
and any viewer would be able to immediately
discern the scale of everything else in the
photograph.
person has on our attention far outweighs
the space that person takes up in our vision;
the same applies in photos. If the person
you include in the frame is too big in the
composition, or has other attention-grabbing
elements about them, such as they are wearing
a red or yellow jacket, then not only will they
be the rst thing a viewer looks at, but also very
hard to ignore as the viewer attempts to explore
the rest of the image. Aim to make the person
in the landscape no bigger than they have to be
to be clearly visible, and place them out of the
center of the image, preferably on or around
one of the thirds.
The viewer in the picture
Another useful role a person can play in a
landscape image is to serve as the photo
viewers eyes, allowing the viewer to put
themselves in that place looking at that view. To
do this, you may need an obliging friend with
you who can pose looking into the scene. Dont
forget about visual balance, though, so avoid
getting any of the persons face in the image
show the back of their head insteadsince the
face and eyes hold the strongest attraction of all
our features.

LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 162 28/7/11 10:37:07
The Expanded Guide 163
A SENSE OF SCALE
This shot a rock arch in Arches National Park, in the
USA, would not work at all without the silhouetted
person in it. There would be no sense of scale.
Minolta Dynax 9,
100300mm lens,
exposure unrecorded
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH8 130-163.indd 163 28/7/11 10:37:07
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH9 164-175.indd 164 28/7/11 10:39:29
CHAPTER 9 DIGITAL WORKFLOW
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH9 164-175.indd 165 28/7/11 10:39:31
Landscape Photography 166
Workowin the eld
Although it feels like the physical process of
photography in the eld hasnt changed a
great deal between lm and digital cameras
you point the camera and take a photothe
process of handling all the data that comes
with digital images has changed a lot. These
new demands start on location; well they do
if you want to stay on top of your collection
of images.
To be able to deal effectively with the huge number of digital
images you create, it is essential to have a robust set of processes, or
workow, for taking each image from capture to an end output.
Back up, back up, back up
When photographers talk about backing up
their work, it is easy to assume that this is
part of the workow when you return home
with all your images. However, consider this
situation: you have been on the trip of a
lifetime to Antarctica and have shot over a
thousand images of the icebergs, glaciers, and
snowtopped peaks. The precious memory cards
have been carefully placed in bombproof wallets
GET STARTED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Even if you are camping, you can still carry a small laptop
computer with you to start working on your workow.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII, 2470mm
lens, 73 sec. at f/14, ISO 200
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH9 164-175.indd 166 28/7/11 10:39:33
The Expanded Guide 167
and are safely ensconced in your carry-on bag
for the long ight home (putting them in your
checked baggage is akin to handing them over
to a stranger). During the ight, you open your
bag to retrieve that novel you were reading, but
forget to zip up the bag again. A memory card
wallet slides out during all the shaking caused
by turbulenceyou get the drift. It is never
possible for your one set of images to be totally
safe, no matter how careful you are.
The need to back up starts the moment you
begin shooting in the eld. There are several
ways that you can achieve this, some more
robust than others.
Duplicate memory cards
Some DSLR cameras come with dual memory
card slots, and you can usually congure these
in-camera to record every image you take
onto two separate memory cards, one in each
slot. Memory cards are relatively cheap these
days and this system gives you an immediate
backup without having to do anything else. One
potential downside, for example, is that if your
camera were to be dropped in water, then both
sets of images would go with it.
Portable download drive
There are several portable download hard drives
on the market that allow you to slot in a card
and transfer all the images directly to the drive.
Some of these drives are quite basic, but others
have large, high-quality LCD screens so that
you can view your images on them, tooa real
ON LOCATION BACK UP SYSTEMS
benet if you can otherwise only get to see them
on your cameras LCD display. So, as soon as you
ll a card, or even if you just feel that there are
important images on it, you can download them
on the spot. Be sure to keep the portable hard
drive separate from your camera (just in case
the water dunking event occurs!). You dont get
immediate back up with this method, so you
could still lose your images if the memory card
corrupts in-camera (very rare), but it is pretty
close to being immediate.
Laptop computer
If the location allows you to take your
laptop with you, at least to the overnight
accommodation, then you can easily use that to
back up your images when you return to base
each evening. Make sure you leave it in a secure
place while you are out shooting during the
day. There are many advantages to having your
laptop with you in the eld, however, and we
will go on to look at these in the next section
about workow on location.
Tip
Whichever system you opt for, it is
crucial that you have two copies of your
images at any point in time, but if you
want to be really sure (or some may say
paranoid) about keeping your images
safe, then three copies is more secure.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH9 164-175.indd 167 28/7/11 10:39:33
Landscape Photography 168
Feet up time?
Okay, so now you have multiple copies of your
images on location, does that mean you can
switch off the workow until you get home?
Well, that depends. If you dont have your
laptop with you, then you can take it slightly
easier. It is important, though, that you have
access to precise information about where you
took your pictures. So, in this situation, you
need to use some of your spare time each day
to make comprehensive notes about the places
you have been shooting: geographical names,
any technical aspects you want to include in the
keywords later, and any additional information
about the place that you have been able to
glean from books or tour guides.
Steal a march
Smart photographers who happen to have their
laptops on location can really steal a march on
their rivals by spending spare time breaking
the back of some of the workow tasks that
otherwise await you on your return home.
Renaming the images, selecting the keepers
and discarding the denite rejects, and even the
dreaded keywording can all be done while you
are away. One of the big advantages of doing
these tasks on location is that you are still full of
enthusiasm for the place, whereas several weeks
later at home, you might not be quite as red
up about each image.
Renaming images
Digital cameras are set up with only rudimentary
le naming capabilities, and it wont take you
long to reach the outer boundaries of them.
Most can only count up to 9999 and then
return to 0001 again. So when you shoot
your 10,000th image, it will have the same
lename as the rst image you took, making it a
nightmare to track those images in your library.
There are many other naming conventions
KEYWORDING
You can easily add specic
keywords to images
with software like Adobe
Lightroom.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH9 164-175.indd 168 28/7/11 10:39:33
The Expanded Guide 169
that you can adopt, but the fundamental factor
about whatever strategy you choose is that it
should create absolutely unique le names, not
only for the images you are taking now, but also
for all the images you will take in the future.
This is not something to take lightly if you want
to manage your image library effectively.
Although many photographers will shoot
more than 10,000 images in their lifetime,
not many will get anywhere near shooting
that many in a single day. The date, therefore,
becomes a powerful tool in creating unique
le names that stand the test of time. If the
camera assigns a le name of, say, img_1234
to an image, then simply replacing the img
with the date on which the image was taken
works well as a unique identier; it could
become 20120423_1234 for an image taken
on April 23, 2012. Note: the date should always
be written yyyy/mm/dd rather than the other
way around, since this ensures your images are
always listed sequentially on the computer.
Most image management software,
including Adobe Lightroom, Apple Aperture,
Photo Mechanic, and ACDSee, offers an image
renaming facility upon import. You just set up
the naming strategy template once, and the
software handles the renaming for all your
images as they are downloaded by the software.
This is far and away the best way to do it.
Adding metadata
You may well know exactly who took all your
photographs, but when the images are sent
to other people, such as magazines, web sites,
etc, then there is nothing in the image itself
to identify the owner. What you need to do is
embed all your relevant contact details into the
image, so that they move around with it. This
is a very easy task with good RAW processing
software, since you can simply set up a template
with all the details included, and that template
can be embedded into every image during the
import process when you are rst downloading
your images. Within the template, there are
elds for your name, address, phone numbers,
web site, etc.
WHO TOOK THIS IMAGE?
Dont forget to add crucial identity, contact
and copyright data for the image, so that
people know who took it.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH9 164-175.indd 169 28/7/11 10:39:33
Landscape Photography 170
Kick out the rejects
With it being so easy to shoot and keep
shooting digital images, it is safe to assume
that these days most photographers will be
swimming in images. Some of those images,
for sure, will be looked at again and again, but
a signicant number will never again see the
light of a computer screen once they have been
downloaded.
At this stage in your workow, in the eld,
it is wise to be cautious about deleting large
numbers of images that might not have the
instant wow factor. Some of these may become
more useful or more appealing with the passage
of a little time. So, rather than getting rid of
lots of images based on their creative merits,
you can simply clean out all the images that
absolutely didnt workgo on, admit it, there
are some that fall into that category arent
there? Images that are unintentionally blurred,
those where the composition is all wrong, the
ones that were taken when you accidentally
pressed the shutter button while cleaning the
lter on the lens you know the ones. Cleaning
them out at this stage reduces the clutter in
your mind as well as the clutter on your hard
drive. In this way, you will know that when you
get home, you will be dealing only with the
reasonably good or better images.
If you have time on location, then you could
do some initial rating of the images, giving the
ones that stand out one more star than the rest
of the pack. Avoid using your top star ratings
at this point, since those decisions usually need
more time and a better, larger screen than you
will have available in the eld.
Top-level keywording
If there is one bane of a digital photographers
life, then keywording images is probably it.
Having to record all the details about an image
and where it was taken in order to quickly
relocate that image later in a database just isnt
what gets photographers out of bed in the
morning. The solution to doing it, therefore, is
to reduce the pain factor to the lowest point
possible. Partial keywording on location is one
of the best ways to achieve this.
Now, we have to keep this realistic, because
nobody will have a lot of spare time on their
hands when they are out shooting somewhere,
especially if that somewhere is supremely
photogenic. We landscape photographers are
well known for being antisocial beasts who
like to roam the wilderness while others eat
breakfast or dinner. We would much prefer
to be out hunting photographs. So, dont put
yourself under a lot of extra pressure to go
through all the images you are shooting to
keyword them in as much detail as you would
apply if you were back home faced with far
fewer distractions.
Image processing software will often give
you quick ways of adding batches of keywords
that apply to a number of images. Adobe
Lightroom, among others, allows you to do this
during import, saving you even more time and
tedium. So, the keywords that you can apply on
import are of the highest level, the generic titles
that apply to all of the images being imported
in that session. These may be the following:
continent; country; region of country; name
of specic place (such as a national park or a
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH9 164-175.indd 170 28/7/11 10:39:34
The Expanded Guide 171
desert, etc.); name of exact location (the lake or
valley, etc.); plus any other generic words that
apply to all (sun, snow, etc.).
If you are short of time, then this may be
as far as you get with it, but if you have some
spare moments, you can easily start adding
more image-specic keywords. The real skill
with keywording is to nd the balance between
the time you spend doing it and the usefulness
MULTI-LEVEL KEYWORDS
Top level and more specic keywords for this image of
Kilidonya Lighthouse, in Turkey, were added in the eld.
Canon EOS 1DS MKII, 2470mm
lens, 1/10 sec. at f/18, ISO 100
of the words selected. If you want some
guidance on the sorts of keywords associated
with landscape photographs, then do a search
on any of the online stock image libraries. Dont
copy them, though, since they are copyrighted!
There is little point in going overboard, either.
Pick words that are completely relevant to what
is actually in the photograph, not what is going
on outside of the frame.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH9 164-175.indd 171 28/7/11 10:39:34
Landscape Photography 172
Workowin the eld
Transfer your images
First up, you need to transfer the images from
your location storage systems onto your fulltime
storage systems. Some software, such as
Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture, makes
this relatively easy, ensuring that all the work
you put into your images is mirrored on your
home system. The next important thing to do
is to ensure that you make backups within
your permanent storage solution. Of course,
if catastrophe strikes right now, you still have
the location backups to call on. (You did make
those, didnt you?) Make sure you create at least
one and preferably two permanent backups
at home before you wipe clean your location
storage.
Shoot for the stars
Digital workows are intensely personal, so you
can play with the order of things here, as long
as you dont skip the crucial bits. My preference
at this stage is to do a full-blown rating session
on all the images from the shoot, rather than
keywording. This is because keywording has a
nasty habit of overrunning the time you have
available for it, so if you rate your images rst,
you can begin by keywording the very best. If
you run out of time or steam, then at least the
most critical images from the shoot are done.
I nd it easier to go through the images in
several stages, as opposed to trying to nail a
nal rating on every image I view. So, instead
of trying to decide whether every image is one
of my best ever or just pretty good, I simply rate
it as pretty good or better and add a star to its
rating. On the next pass through the higher
rating set, I simply decide if the image is very
good or better. On the nal pass through (by
which time, I know the images well), I am simply
STARS WILL SHINE
In order to keep control of a collection of
images, it is crucial to rate the images.
Only have a handful of ve star ones.
Youve nished your session in the eld and now nd yourself back
at home staring at the computer screen. This is where much of the
unsung work of photographers goes on. Being out in the eld is like
scoring a touch down; being sat in front of the computer is where the
hard yards are gained.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH9 164-175.indd 172 28/7/11 10:39:34
The Expanded Guide 173
looking to highlight the outstanding images
from that shoot. This may only be a handful,
which makes it fairly easy to see if any of those
deserve the highest rating, as one of my best
ever shots, those that I would show in my
portfolio (this happens relatively rarely!).
Processing
If you are bored with keywording stillit does
take a while to recover your sanityyou may
nd it easier to get on with processing the
outstanding images. Forget about the rest for
now; if you have a use for something from the
very good or good pile, you can process it
then. Spend your valuable time on perfecting
the outstanding images.
There are no hard-and-fast rules about how
to process an image; it is every bit as subjective
as photography is in the rst place. If you are
shooting in RAW format, then every image will
need some work done to it, unless you like your
GO WITH THE FLOW
In Adobe Lightroom, there
is a fairly intuitive ow to
the image processing tools.
images to look at and lifeless that is. If you
are shooting JPEGS, the camera will do some
processing to the image as you capture it. There
is usually an array of effects modes that you
can also employ with JPEGS to obtain unusual
or improved looks straight out of the camera.
Assuming that you are shooting RAW,
though, there are some basic things that you
need to do (these examples are based on Adobe
Lightroom, but there are similar features in most
RAW processing software)
1. Set the black and white points
To get the best possible range of tones out
of an image, you need to set the black and
white points of the image as close to the start
and nish of the histogram curve as you can,
while maintaining a realistic look to the image.
2. Add contrast
Tweak the histogram to form a very slight
S-shape, which will help to increase contrast in
the image.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH9 164-175.indd 173 3/8/11 09:12:18
Landscape Photography 174
3. Saturate colors
Add a little saturation to the colors in the
image. In Lightroom, this is best done via the
Vibrance tool, which intelligently saturates
colors that need it, while leaving already
saturated colors alone.
4. Remove dust spots
Zoom into the image at 100% and
systematically go through the entire image
looking for any dust spots. Depending on the
aperture you have used, they may be quite well
dened (f/16 or higher) or they may look like
very soft, barely distinguishable blobs (f/5.6
and below). Either way, use the Heal tool to
remove the spots, paying careful attention to
the resulting x; at times, the Heal tool can
select inappropriate areas of the photograph
to use for the source material for the x. In
Lightroom, you can simply grab the source
circle and move it to a more appropriate spot on
the image.
5. Sharpen the image
By default, Lightroom adds a little
sharpening to an image. You may well need
more sharpening at this stage, although the
main sharpening should be tailored to the
output for your image. You will need different
amounts of sharpening for an image destined
for the web than you would for one being
output from your home printer. There are
default options available in Lightroom for many
of the popular outputs.
Back to keywording
You might have been hoping to escape this
bit, but it is important to keyword at least the
outstanding and the very good images in more
detail than you did in the eld. Go through
every image carefully and add as many specic
keywords that you can, as long as they are very
relevant to the image. If you plan to send your
images to a stock image library, then they may
well have specic ways that they want their
images keyworded, so check with them rst.
Although the obvious nouns are important
to include, you should also try to think of
conceptual keywords if you want other people
to nd the images. Not many image researchers
will look for XYZ glacier, Antarctica, but more
will look for Freezing weather.
If you want to speed up the process of
keywording your images (and who wouldnt
want to do that?), then it may be worth
investing in some keywording software. There
are a few options on the market, and they
vary greatly in how they operate. They all offer
free trials, though, so use that facility to test
them out to see which one suits you best.
Some of the most popular are:
Image Keyworder
www.imagekeyworder.com
FotoKeyword Harvester
www cradocfotosoftware.com
A2Z Keywording
www.a2zkeywording.com
KEYWORDING SOFTWARE
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH9 164-175.indd 174 3/8/11 09:12:19
The Expanded Guide 175
NOT TOO SHARP
It is easy to overdo image sharpening. It may look
good on the screen but it can have jagged edges if
you printed. Lees is usually more with adjustments.
Minolta Dynax 9, 2485mm lens,
exposure unrecorded
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH9 164-175.indd 175 28/7/11 10:39:35
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 166185.inx 176 28/7/11 10:41:46
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 176-185.indd 176 2/8/11 10:16:33
CHAPTER 10 USING YOUR IMAGES
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 166185.inx 177 28/7/11 10:41:47
CHAPTER 10 USING YOUR IMAGES
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 176-185.indd 177 2/8/11 10:16:35
Landscape Photography 178
Printing at home
The development of inkjet printers that can deliver exceptional quality
at affordable prices means there has never been a more exciting time
to be producing prints of your own work
Buying an inkjet printer
It seems there is a new inkjet printer being
launched every week, so you would be excused
for feeling a little overwhelmed with the choice.
There are some fairly easy questions to answer,
though, to get you started on the decision
making process:
What size prints?
The most fundamental decision is about the
maximum size of the prints that you want to
produce. Most photo printers are designed to
go up to A4, but there are increasing number,
which are still relatively affordable, that can
print up to A3. If you want to make larger prints
than that then you are beginning to get into
the serious investment end of the market. If you
only want to make prints that are smaller than
A4, then there are some printers available to do
this; although, of course, you can print smaller
than A4 on an A4 printer, too, so it is probably
worth getting a bigger format one just in case
the urge to go large strikes you.
Cheap printer or cheap inks?
Any day of the week you can open a national
newspaper and nd an advert for an incredibly
cheap photo printer. But, as the saying goes,
you dont get anything for nothing in this
world. Some of the manufacturers that sell their
printers at discount prices charge a premium
price for their replacement ink cartridges. If
you print a lot of images the extra cost for the
cartridges will soon wipe out any savings you
made in the printer purchase price.
Research the ink cartridge prices and consult
the printer manufacturers guidelines on how
much ink the printer will typically use. If you
can, avoid buying a printer where all of the
colors are contained within one cartridge. The
inks will get used at very different rates, so if
they are all in one cartridge you will end up
throwing a lot of ink away every time any one
of the colors runs out. Ideally, you want every
color ink to be in its own separate cartridge so
that you can replace each one as it runs out, not
before.
What types of inks?
There are basically two types of inks that are
used in inkjet printers; dye-based inks and
pigment-based inks. Dye-based inks are fairly
inexpensive but tend to have a shorter archival
lifespan than dye-based inks. These cost
more but often offer museum grade archival
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 166185.inx 178 28/7/11 10:41:49
Landscape Photography 178
Printing at home
The development of inkjet printers that can deliver exceptional quality
at affordable prices means there has never been a more exciting time
to be producing prints of your own work
Buying an inkjet printer
It seems there is a new inkjet printer being
launched every week, so you would be excused
for feeling a little overwhelmed with the choice.
There are some fairly easy questions to answer,
though, to get you started on the decision
making process:
What size prints?
The most fundamental decision is about the
maximum size of the prints that you want to
produce. Most photo printers are designed to
go up to A4, but there are increasing numbers,
which are still relatively affordable, that can
print up to A3. If you want to make larger prints
than that, then you are beginning to get into
the serious investment end of the market. If you
only want to make prints that are smaller than
A4, then there are some printers available to do
this; although, of course, you can print smaller
than A4 on an A4 printer, too, so it is probably
worth getting a bigger-format one just in case
the urge to go large strikes you.
Cheap printer or cheap inks?
Any day of the week you can open a newspaper
and nd an advert for an incredibly cheap photo
printer. But, as the saying goes, you dont get
anything for nothing in this world. Some of
the manufacturers that sell their printers at
discount prices charge a premium price for
their replacement ink cartridges. If you print a
lot of images, the extra cost for the cartridges
will soon wipe out any savings you made in the
printer purchase price.
Research the ink cartridge prices and consult
the printer manufacturers guidelines on how
much ink the printer will typically use. If you
can, avoid buying a printer where all of the
colors are contained within one cartridge. The
inks will get used at very different rates, so if
they are all in one cartridge you will end up
throwing a lot of ink away every time any one
of the colors runs out. Ideally, you want every
color ink to be in its own separate cartridge so
that you can replace each of them as it runs
out, not before.
What types of ink?
There are basically two types of ink that are
used in inkjet printers; dye-based ink and
pigment-based ink. Dye-based inks are fairly
inexpensive, but tend to have a shorter archival
lifespan than dye-based inks. These cost
more, but often offer museum-grade archival
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 176-185.indd 178 3/8/11 09:13:11
The Expanded Guide 179
properties. It used to be that dye-based inks
gave a more vibrant nal print, but the gap
between the two has narrowed signicantly
over the past few years. Unless, you are looking
to sell your prints to the public as ne-art then
the dye-based ink printers are probably the best
way to go.
Inkjet printers use four basic colors to
produce the printed photograph; cyan,
magenta, yellow, and black. However, in
order to achieve ever ner degrees of subtlety
the manufacturers have started to add in
additional variations on these colors, such as
light magenta, light cyan, and light yellow.
Some also offer different variations of black
to further enhance the ability to produce the
subtle nuances in a photograph. Although these
additional inks do lend themselves to better
quality prints, they also add a signicant amount
to the overall running costs of the printer.
What print speed?
If you only print off the occasional photograph
then the speed of the printer probably wont
have much bearing on your buying decision.
However, if you do more than that then a
fast average print time can save you tearing
your hair out as you watch the print emerge
millimeter by millimeter onto the printing tray.
Beware though that speed isnt everything.
The faster a printer works the more likely it is
that the nal print quality will suffer a little. Its
a good idea to ask for a demonstration of the
printer instore before you buy.
What resolution?
The maximum resolution of the printer
(expressed in dots per inch, or dpi) dictates the
ultimate quality that the printer is capable of
producing. Higher dpi means that you will get
prints with more subtle tone gradations through
the colors. The downside of higher dpi is that it
puts down more ink on the paper, eating into
your ink supplies more rapidly, and print times
can increase signicantly.
Which printer?
Once you have assessed the features
above, then it is well worth getting to
see your shortlisted printers in action.
Although big electronic goods stores are
less likely to offer the opportunity to do
this, a smaller chain or an independent
photographic store will probably be set
up to do just that. In the end, it is how the
nal print appears to your eye that will clarify
the last parts of the decision making process.
PROCESSING PICTURES
In order for your pictures to reach their full
potential you need
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 166185.inx 179 28/7/11 10:41:49
The Expanded Guide 179
properties. It used to be that dye-based inks
gave a more vibrant nal print, but the gap
between the two has narrowed signicantly
over the past few years. Unless, you are looking
to sell your prints to the public as ne art, then
the dye-based ink printers are probably the best
way to go.
Inkjet printers use four basic colors to
produce the printed photograph: cyan,
magenta, yellow, and black. However, in order
to achieve ever ner degrees of subtlety, the
manufacturers have started to add additional
variations of these colors, such as light magenta,
light cyan, and light yellow. Some also offer
different variations of black to further enhance
the ability to produce the subtle nuances in a
photograph. Although these additional inks do
lend themselves to better-quality prints, they
also add a signicant amount to the overall
running costs of the printer.
What print speed?
If you only print off the occasional photograph,
then the speed of the printer probably wont
have much bearing on your buying decision.
However, if you do more than that, then a
fast average print time can save you tearing
your hair out as you watch the print emerge
millimeter by millimeter onto the printing tray.
Beware though that speed isnt everything.
The faster a printer works, the more likely it is
that the nal print quality will suffer a little. Its
a good idea to ask for a demonstration of the
printer instore before you buy.
What resolution?
The maximum resolution of the printer
(expressed in dots per inch, or dpi) dictates the
ultimate quality that the printer is capable of
producing. Higher dpi means that you will get
prints with more subtle tone gradations through
the colors. The downside of higher dpi is that it
puts down more ink on the paper, eating into
your ink supplies more rapidly, and print times
can increase signicantly.
Which printer?
Once you have assessed the features
above, then it is well worth getting to
see your shortlisted printers in action.
Although big electronics stores are less
likely to offer the opportunity to do
this, a smaller chain or an independent
photographic store will probably be set
up to do just that. In the end, it is how the
nal print appears to your eye that will clarify
the last parts of the decision making process.
PUNCHY PICTURES
Modern inkjet printers can bring vivid life
to the colors in an image.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 176-185.indd 179 3/8/11 09:13:11
Landscape Photography 180
Print on demand books
This is possibly the best thing to happen to
photography since the digital revolution began.
Prior to print on demand books becoming
available the only way to get your work
published in a book was to either pitch an idea
to a publisher, where the rejection rate was
frighteningly high, or to invest a great deal of
money and time in publishing a book yourself
via the traditional channels, where large print
runs were needed. Both of these routes offered
little cheer to any photographers other than
already successful professionals or the incredibly
wealthy.
Print on demand pretty much does what it
says on the tin. You can upload your photos to
a web site, lay out the book using easy to use
Print on demand products
One of the most exciting developments in photography has been
the explosion in opportunities to turn your photographs into cool,
professional standard products, such as books and calendars
software interfaces and then print off just one
copy or as many copies as you like. The price
per copy comes down signicantly the more
copies you order. A few days later, or a week
or so at most, a professionally produced book
arrives in the post. Voila, you are a published
photographer! They are a brilliant way for you
to make your favorite images more accessible
to other people, friends and family for instance.
There are few things as gratifying for a
photographer as seeing your images in a book,
so you can use it to as a motivator to get out
there shooting more landscape images.
To ensure you get the best possible quality
of book back, it is vital that you spend the
time processing your images. If you send poor
quality images to the publisher, dont expect
stunning photos to miraculously appear in the
book. Ask the print on demand publisher if they
have specic printer proles available that you
can use to view your images as close to how
they will print as possible (assuming you have
a properly calibrated monitor). Dont add too
much contrast to the images and boost color
saturation. Make sure you sharpen your images
too. It is pretty much impossible to exactly
match the printed images with what you see on
your computer screen, so be prepared to accept
some variance in their appearance.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 166185.inx 180 28/7/11 10:41:49
Landscape Photography 180
Print-on-demand books
This is possibly the best thing to happen to
photography since the digital revolution began.
Prior to print-on-demand books becoming
available, the only way to get your work
published in a book was to either pitch an idea
to a publisher, where the rejection rate was
frighteningly high, or to invest a great deal of
money and time in publishing a book yourself
via the traditional channels, where large print
runs were needed. Both of these routes offered
little cheer to any photographers other than
already successful professionals or the incredibly
wealthy.
Print-on-demand pretty much does what it
says on the can. You can upload your photos to
a web site, lay out the book using easy-to-use
software interfaces, and then print off just one
copy or as many copies as you like. The price
per copy comes down signicantly the more
copies you order. A few days later, or a week
or so at most, a professionally produced book
arrives in the mail. Voila, you are a published
Print-on-demand products
One of the most exciting developments in photography has been
the explosion in opportunities to turn your photographs into cool,
professional-standard products, such as books and calendars
photographer! They are a brilliant way for you
to make your favorite images more accessible
to other people, friends and family for instance.
There are few things as gratifying for a
photographer as seeing your images in a book,
so you can use it as a motivator to get out there
shooting more landscape images.
To ensure you get the best possible quality
of book back, it is vital that you spend the time
processing your images. If you send poor-quality
images to the publisher, dont expect stunning
photos to miraculously appear in the book.
Ask the print-on-demand publisher if they
have specic printer proles available that you
can use to view your images as close to how
they will print as possible (assuming you have
a properly calibrated monitor). Dont add too
much contrast to the images and boost color
saturation. Make sure you sharpen your images,
too. It is pretty much impossible to exactly
match the printed images with what you see on
your computer screen, so be prepared to accept
some variance in their appearance.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 176-185.indd 180 3/8/11 09:13:11
The Expanded Guide 181
Calendars
There is a huge number of printers offering
calendar publishing. It is a great and very
personal way to present your photography as a
gift for friends, family, or clients. Some of the
book publishers listed above also offer calendar
products. Producing a calendar each year can
be an effective way to focus your photography
efforts; how about trying to shoot something
each month to go into the calendar, which
would make it reect the seasons. Another idea
may be to shoot the same landscape location
throughout the year to capture the different
moods of it. Designing the calendar works
in the same way as the book design systems,
where you can upload your images online
and then choose the format and layout of the
calendar pages.
Other products
There are many other personalized products
available that can carry your landscape images.
From mugs and mouse mats to jigsaw puzzles
and T-shirts the ways to show off your work and
rescue them from your hard drives are limited
only by your imagination.
PRINT ON DEMAND PUBLISHERS
Blurb www.blurb.com
A highly popular print on demand publisher, Blurb
offers a range of photography book printing
options, and they have a successful online store
where you can put your book up for sale.
Lulu www.lulu.com
One of the top photography book publishers. There
are many options for the type of book you want to
produce, including hardback and paperback. Lulu
also offers the ability to sell your book via their
website store.
Print on Demand-Worldwide www.
printondemand-worldwide.com
Offers a range of photographic book publishing
options at very affordable prices, especially if you
order around 100 or more copies. The quality is
excellent and they print for trade publishers, too.
Photobox www.photobox.com
They have a range of photographic book options
and very affordable prices. There are often special
offers on photo books, such as 3 for 2. Very
quick turnaround time.
Bob Books www.bobbooks.com
Offer both hardback and paperback photographic
books, with up to 154 pages in the hardback and
130 pages in the paperback versions. They also
offer books printed on photographic paper for
ultimate quality.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 166185.inx 181 28/7/11 10:41:49
The Expanded Guide 181
Calendars
There is a huge number of printers offering
calendar publishing. It is a great and very
personal way to present your photography as
a gift for friends, family, or clients. Some of the
book publishers listed here also offer calendar
products. Producing a calendar each year can
be an effective way to focus your photography
efforts: how about trying to shoot something
each month to go into the calendar, which
would make it reect the seasons. Another idea
may be to shoot the same landscape location
throughout the year to capture the different
moods of it. Designing the calendar works
in the same way as the book design systems,
where you can upload your images online,
and then choose the format and layout of the
calendar pages.
Other products
There are many other personalized products
available that can carry your landscape images.
From mugs and mouse mats to jigsaw puzzles
and T-shirts, the ways to show off your images
and rescue them from your hard drives are
limited only by your imagination.
PRINT-ON-DEMAND PUBLISHERS
Blurb www.blurb.com
A highly popular print-on-demand publisher,
Blurb offers a range of photography book printing
options, and they have a successful online store
where you can put your book up for sale.
Lulu www.lulu.com
One of the top photography book publishers. There
are many options for the type of book you want to
produce, including hardback and paperback. Lulu
also offer the ability to sell your book via their web
site store.
Print on Demand-Worldwide www.
printondemand-worldwide.com
Offer a range of photographic book publishing
options at very affordable prices, especially if you
order around 100 or more copies. The quality is
excellent and they print for trade publishers, too.
Photobox www.photobox.com
They have a range of photographic book options
at very affordable prices. There are often special
offers on photo books, such as 3 for 2. Very
quick turnaround time.
Bob Books www.bobbooks.com
Offer both hardback and paperback photographic
books, with up to 154 pages in the hardback and
130 pages in the paperback versions. They also
offer books printed on photographic paper for
ultimate quality.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 176-185.indd 181 3/8/11 09:13:11
Landscape Photography 182
Create your own web site
This is so easy and affordable to do these
days that there really is no reason why every
photographer shouldnt have a web site. If
you happen to be conversant with html coding
then you can set about building your site from
scratch. However, it is far more likely that
your skills are in photography and the idea of
designing and coding your own web site lls
you with dread. Dont worry; there are plenty
of easier ways to get your web site up and
running.
Some companies, such as Clikpic, offer
simple template-based photography sites for a
monthly fee. With these you can basically tweak
the template to some degree to personalize the
look of the site and then you can upload your
images to the gallery pages on it, write the text
needed for the various pages and include your
contact details. The site can often be upscaled
for a higher fee, if you nd that you need more
pages as your photography develops.
Other companies are aimed more closely
at the serious amateur and professional
photographers. Sites such as Photoshelter
offer comprehensive packages for a monthly
or annual fee that allow you to not only
fully customize your site but also provide a
mechanism for you to sell your images direct to
clients. The basic costs of sites like these are still
affordable, though, so even if you dont intend
to sell images it is still worth checking out what
they have to offer.
There are also several independent software
packages available that sit between the two
examples above. Software such as that offered
by Pixaria is very customizable and gives
you the tools within the software to be able
to sell your images and other image-based
products, including prints. They do require
more knowledge about coding though (or a
willingness to pay for someone to do it for you).
Still, Pixaria is a very professional product that
is worth looking at if you dont mind engaging
more with the technical aspects of creating a
web site.
Web sites and social media
The potential for photographers to share their work with others took a
quantum leap with the advent of the internet. It is now possible to take
an image and moments later upload it for the whole world to see
Clikpicwww.clikpic.com
Photoshelterwww.photoshelter.
com
Pixariawww.pixaria.com
Moonfruitwww.moonfruit.com
Photobizwww.photobiz.com
PHOTO WEB SITE COMPANIES
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 166185.inx 182 28/7/11 10:41:49
Landscape Photography 182
Create your own web site
This is so easy and affordable to do these
days that there really is no reason why every
photographer shouldnt have a web site. If you
happen to be conversant with html coding,
then you can set about building your site from
scratch. However, it is far more likely that your
skills will be in photography, and the idea of
designing and coding your own web site may
ll you with dread. Dont worry; there are plenty
of easier ways to get your web site up and
running.
Some companies, such as Clikpic, offer
simple template-based photography sites for
a monthly fee. With these, you can tweak the
template to some degree to personalize the look
of the site and then you can upload your images
to the gallery pages on it, write the text needed
for the various pages, and include your contact
details. The site can often be upscaled for a
higher fee, if you nd that you need more pages
as your photography develops.
Other companies are aimed more closely
at the serious amateur and professional
photographers. Sites such as Photoshelter
offer comprehensive packages for a monthly
or annual fee that allow you to not only
fully customize your site, but also provide a
mechanism for you to sell your images direct to
clients. The basic costs of sites like these are still
affordable, though, so even if you dont intend
to sell images, it is still worth checking out what
they have to offer.
There are also several independent software
packages available that sit between the two
previous examples. Software such as that
offered by Pixaria is very customizable, and
gives you the tools within the software to be
able to sell your images and other image-based
products, including prints. They do require
more knowledge about coding, though (or a
willingness to pay for someone to do it for you).
Still, Pixaria is a very professional product that
is worth looking at if you dont mind engaging
more with the technical aspects of creating a
web site.
Web sites and social media
The potential for photographers to share their work with others took a
quantum leap with the advent of the internet. It is now possible to take
an image and moments later upload it for the whole world to see
Clikpicwww.clikpic.com
Photoshelterwww.photoshelter.
com
Pixariawww.pixaria.com
Moonfruitwww.moonfruit.com
Photobizwww.photobiz.com
PHOTO WEB SITE COMPANIES
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 176-185.indd 182 3/8/11 09:13:11
The Expanded Guide 183
The easiest way to get a web presence
without creating your own web site is to
upload your images to one of the popular
photo sharing web sites, such as Flickr (www.
ickr.com) and SmugMug (www.smugmug.
com). Both allow you to create your own
online photo galleries and then share them
with whoever you want to share them with.
They can be viewable by the entire online
community or you can limit the access to close
friends and family, for example. They interface
seamlessly with other social media web sites,
such as Facebook and Twitter, so you can
easily publish your images to those sites too.
to make global adjustments:
SmugMug
This company offers a host of integrated
features more suitable for the professional
or semiprofessional photographer, including
being able to sell your images online as prints
and other products. You can upload unlimited
numbers of images and on the higher level
categories of membership you get access to
slick professional sales tools. You can geotag
your images so that they can be displayed on
Google Maps, add photos directly from many
of the most popular image processing software
packages, and upload video. Prices start from
just US$5 per month for the basic package.
Facebook and Twitter
If you havent heard of these two social media
web sites then you must have been living on
another planet! Both are free to use and allow
you to show your photos to friends, family,
and the entire online community if you wish.
Facebook is more useful for photographers, as
you can upload images and then create galleries
of images for people to view. Click on an image
to see it bigger and it is easy to scroll through
large galleries. There arent any great image
management features on Facebook, but that is
not the intention of the site. You can tag people
with their names and they will automatically
be alerted about the image being available, so
its a great way to share images if, for example,
you were out with your local camera club for a
dawn shoot or on a photography workshop.
Photo sharing web sites and
social media
Flickr
The big difference with Flickr is that it is free
to use, which has helped to make it popular
with photographers (over 5,000 images were
uploaded to the site per minute at the time of
writing!). There are numerous ways for you to
upload your photos to the site, including from
your mobile phone and directly out of image
processing software, such as Adobe Lightroom
and Apple Aperture. You can organize your
images and even geotag them so that they can
be plotted on a map. Flickr has signed a deal
with the giant Getty Images stock library so that
images from Flickr can be made available for
purchase via the Getty Images web portal; an
exciting opportunity for many photographers
who might have thought that Getty was beyond
their reacheven if the royalty percentage paid
to the photographer is not that great.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 166185.inx 183 28/7/11 10:41:49
The Expanded Guide 183
The easiest way to get a web presence
without creating your own web site is to
upload your images to one of the popular
photo sharing web sites, such as Flickr (www.
ickr.com) and SmugMug (www.smugmug.
com). Both allow you to create your own
online photo galleries and then share them
with whomever you want to share them with.
They can be viewable by the entire online
community or you can limit the access to close
friends and family, for example. They interface
seamlessly with other social media web sites,
such as Facebook and Twitter, so you can
easily publish your images to those sites, too.
SmugMug
This company offers a host of integrated
features more suitable for the professional
or semiprofessional photographer, including
being able to sell your images online as prints
and other products. You can upload unlimited
numbers of images, and on the higher level
categories of membership, you get access to
slick professional sales tools. You can geotag
your images so that they can be displayed on
Google Maps, add photos directly from many
of the most popular image processing software
packages, and upload video. Prices are very
affordable for the basic package.
Facebook and Twitter
If you havent heard of these two social media
web sites, then you must have been living on
another planet! Both are free to use and allow
you to show your photos to friends, family,
and the entire online community if you wish.
Facebook is more useful for photographers,
since you can upload images and then create
galleries of images for people to view. Click on
an image to see it bigger, and it is easy to scroll
through large galleries. There arent any great
image management features on Facebook,
but that is not the intention of the site. You
can tag people with their names and they
will automatically be alerted about the image
being available, so its a great way to share
images if, for example, you were out with your
local camera club for a dawn shoot or on a
photography workshop.
Photo sharing web sites and social media
Flickr
The big difference with Flickr is that it is
free, which has helped make it popular with
photographers (over 5,000 images were
uploaded to the site per minute at the time of
writing!). There are numerous ways for you
to upload your photos to the site, including
from your cell phone and directly from image
processing software. You can organize your
images and even geotag them so that they can
be plotted on a map. Flickr has signed a deal
with the giant Getty Images stock library so that
images from Flickr can be made available for
purchase via the Getty Images web portal; an
exciting opportunity for many photographers
who might have thought that Getty was beyond
their reacheven if the royalty percentage paid
to the photographer is not that great.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 176-185.indd 183 3/8/11 09:13:11
Landscape Photography 184
Digital projectors
If you want to project your slideshow onto a
screen, rather than view it on the computer
monitor or television, then you will need a
digital projector. There is a plethora available,
and a huge range in prices, too.
LCD or DLP
There is one basic decision to make; whether
you want one that projects using an LCD (Liquid
Crystal Display) system or one that has a DLP
(Digital Light Processing) system. LCD projectors
are relatively inexpensive, but they lack the
subtlety of some DLP projectors. So, you need
to decide whether you are willing to forego a
little image quality to save money.
Brightness
If you are projecting the slideshow in a dark
room then you dont need a bright projector
(the brightness is measured in ANSI lumens),
around 1800 lumens will sufce. If you are
planning to project in a room that isnt dark
and has natural or articial light falling on the
screen then you will need something north of
3,000 lumens to make it show up well. It is
always preferable to darken the room rst and
foremost though.
Resolution
The resolution of the projector is also an
important consideration. There are three
common resolutions on the market; SVGA
800x600 pixels); XGA (1024x768 pixels); and
SXGA+ (1400x1050 pixels). Ideally, you want to
match the resolution to that of your computer
screen, because if you buy a higher resolution
projector than your computer is capable of
supporting then the projector will simply
compress the images to t so there is no benet
to spending extra for the higher resolution
projector. SVGA is starting to become outdated,
though, so even if you have a computer with
this resolution, then it might be worth buying
an XGA projector to cover you for when you
upgrade your computer. SXGA+ projectors
are expensive, so you will need to be sure that
you require the extra image quality they deliver
before investing in one.
Preparing your images
Once you have processed your images after
a shoot, it is quite straightforward to prepare
them for inclusion in a slideshow. Depending
on what software you are using to create the
show, you may need to resize the images to
make them smaller, so that they dont take
too long to load during the slideshow. The
general practice is to make the images no
Making slideshows
When we were all shooting slide lm there was
nothing more pleasing than to organize a slide
night and get all your fellow photographers
around for an evening of oohing and
ahhing over stunning landscape images
projected beautifully on a screen. Well, those
days have not gone away at all; in fact, things
have got even better in many ways.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 166185.inx 184 28/7/11 10:41:49
Landscape Photography 184
Digital projectors
If you want to project your slideshow onto a
screen, rather than view it on the computer
monitor or television, then you will need a
digital projector. There is a plethora available,
and a huge range in prices, too.
LCD or DLP
There is one basic decision to make: whether
you want one that projects using an LCD (Liquid
Crystal Display) system or one that has a DLP
(Digital Light Processing) system. LCD projectors
are relatively inexpensive, but they lack the
subtlety of some DLP projectors. So, you need to
decide whether you are willing to forego a little
image quality to save money.
Brightness
If you are projecting the slideshow in a dark
room, then you dont need a bright projector
(the brightness is measured in ANSI lumens):
around 1800 lumens will sufce. If you are
planning to project in a room that isnt dark
and has natural or articial light falling on the
screen, then you will need something north
of 3,000 lumens to make it show up well. It is
always preferable to darken the room rst and
foremost though.
Resolution
The resolution of the projector is also an
important consideration. There are three
common resolutions on the market: SVGA
800 x 600 pixels); XGA (1024 x 768 pixels);
and SXGA+ (1400 x 1050 pixels). Ideally,
you want to match the resolution to that of
your computer screen, because if you buy a
higher-resolution projector than your computer
is capable of supporting, then the projector
will simply compress the images to t, so
there is no benet to spending extra for the
higher-resolution projector. SVGA is starting to
become outdated, though, so even if you have
a computer with this resolution, then it might
be worth buying an XGA projector to cover you
for when you upgrade your computer. SXGA+
projectors are expensive, so you will need to be
sure that you require the extra image quality
they deliver before investing in one.
Preparing your images
Once you have processed your images after
a shoot, it is quite straightforward to prepare
them for inclusion in a slideshow. Depending on
what software you are using to create the show,
you may need to resize the images to make
them smaller, so that they dont take too long to
load during the slideshow. The general practice
is to make the images no bigger than the
Making slideshows
When we were all shooting slide lm, there was
nothing more pleasing than to organize a slide
night and get all your fellow photographers
around for an evening of oohing and
ahhing over stunning landscape images
projected beautifully on a screen. Well, those
days have not gone away at all; in fact, things
have got even better in many ways.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 176-185.indd 184 3/8/11 09:13:11
The Expanded Guide 185
bigger than the maximum resolution of your
projector/computer. So, if you are using an
XGA projector and computer then you want to
size your images to t 1024x768 pixels (that is
for landscape format; for portrait format the
images need be no bigger than 768 pixels high).
The resolution of your images needs to be only
around 100dpi for XGA projection (higher,
around 150dpi if you are using SXGA+) and
save them as maximum quality JPEGs.
Decide the running order
If you want to keep your audience enthralled
throughout your slideshow then you need to
think carefully about the order you show the
images and the narrative that they tell. A good
general rule is to think a little like a Hollywood
lm director; start with a big scenesetting
opener and then move in for more intimate
photos of the landscape. Try not to duplicate
the types of image shown. If you have six good
ProShow Gold www.photodex.com
Apple Aperture www.apple.com
Adobe Lightroom www.adobe.com
Microsoft PowerPoint www.
microsoft.com
Magix PhotoStory on CD & DVD www.
magix.com
SLIDESHOW SOFTWARE
shots of a particular desert landscape, for
example, then you only need to show one or
two to communicate with the audience. If you
are struggling to decide which ones to leave out
ask a friend or colleague to pick the one they
like best. You can wrap the show up with a run
of a dozen of your most impressive landscapes
to leave the audience wowed.
Adding music/soundtrack
Almost all slideshow software now has the
ability to add music and sound to the show. If
you are adding music, then choose carefully;
your personal favorite choice tunes may
not be a big hit with the audience. Opt for
something middle of the road that has a sense
of movement or journey to it. Be aware also
that you may need to get copyright clearance
to use commercial music. If you happened to
record some ambient sounds on location, then
these adding these to the show can be a great
way to enhance the audiences connection with
the place. An image of a cloud swirling over a
mountaintop really comes alive when the sound
of a galeforce wind is added to it.
PROCESSING PICTURES
In order for your pictures to reach their full
potential you need to organize and edit them.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 166185.inx 185 28/7/11 10:41:49
The Expanded Guide 185
maximum resolution of your projector/computer.
So, if you are using an XGA projector and
computer, then you want to size your images
to t 1024 x 768 pixels (that is for landscape
format; for portrait format, the images need be
no bigger than 768 pixels high). The resolution
of your images needs to be only around 100dpi
for XGA projection (higher, around 150dpi,
if you are using SXGA+), and save them as
maximum-quality JPEGs.
Decide the running order
If you want to keep your audience enthralled
throughout your slideshow, then you need to
think carefully about the order you show the
images and the narrative that they tell. A good
general rule is to think a little like a Hollywood
lm director: start with a big scene setting
opener and then move in for more intimate
photos of the landscape. Try not to duplicate
the types of image shown. If you have six
ProShow Goldwww.photodex.com
Apple Aperturewww.apple.com
Adobe Lightroomwww.adobe.com
Microsoft PowerPointwww.
microsoft.com
Magix PhotoStory on CD & DVD
www.magix.com
SLIDESHOW SOFTWARE
good shots of a particular desert landscape,
for example, then you only need to show one
or two to communicate with the audience.
If you are struggling to decide which ones to
leave out, ask a friend or colleague to pick the
one they like best. You can wrap the show up
with a run of a dozen of your most impressive
landscapes to leave the audience wowed.
Adding music/soundtrack
Almost all slideshow software now has the
ability to add music and sound to the show. If
you are adding music, then choose carefully;
your personal favorite tunes may not be a
big hit with the audience. Opt for something
middle-of-the-road that has a sense of
movement or journey to it. Be aware also that
you may need to get copyright clearance to
use commercial music. If you happened to
record some ambient sounds on location, then
adding these to the show can be a great way
to enhance the audiences connection with
the place. An image of a cloud swirling over a
mountaintop really comes alive when the sound
of a galeforce wind is added to it.
PROCESSING PICTURES
For your pictures to reach their full potential,
you need to organize and edit them.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY CH 10 176-185.indd 185 3/8/11 09:13:11
Landscape Photography 186
Glossary
Aberration An imperfection in the image
caused by the optics of a lens.
AE (autoexposure) lock A camera control that
locks in the exposure value, allowing an image to be
recomposed.
Angle of view The area of a scene that a lens
takes in, measured in degrees.
Aperture The opening in a camera lens through
which light passes to expose the sensor or lm. The
relative size of the aperture is denoted by f/stops.
Autofocus (AF) A reliable through-the-lens
focusing system allowing accurate focus without the
user manually turning the lens.
Bracketing Taking a series of identical pictures,
changing only the exposure, usually in half or one f/
stop (+/-) differences.
Buffer The in-camera memory of a digital
camera that temporarily holds image data before
writing to the memory card.
Burst size The maximum number of frames
that a digital camera can shoot before its buffer
becomes full.
Cable release A device used to trigger the
shutter of a tripod-mounted camera to avoid
camera shake.
Center-weighted metering A way of
determining the exposure of a photograph placing
importance on the meter reading at the center of
the frame.
Chromatic aberration The inability of a lens to
bring spectrum colors into focus at one point.
Color temperature The color of a light source
expressed in degrees Kelvin (K).
Compression The process by which digital les
are reduced in size.
Depth of eld (DOF) The amount of an image
that appears acceptably sharp. The range of this
sharpness depends on four factors: the aperture
of the lens, the chosen focal point, the subject-to-
camera distance, and the focal length of the lens.
Differential focus The practice of teaming wide
apertures (resulting in shallow depth of eld) with a
small, precisely controlled area of focus.
dpi (dots per inch) Measure of the resolution
of a printer or scanner. The more dots per inch, the
higher the resolution.
Dynamic range The ability of the cameras
sensor to capture a full range of shadows and
highlights.
Evaluative metering A metering system
whereby light reected from several subject areas is
calculated based on algorithms.
Exposure The amount of light allowed to hit the
camera sensor, controlled by aperture, shutter speed,
and ISO. Also the act of taking a photograph, as in
making an exposure.
Exposure compensation A control that allows
intentional overexposure or underexposure.
Extension tubes Hollow spacers that t
between the camera body and lens, typically used for
close-up work. The tubes increase the focal length of
the lens.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY END MATTER 186-192.indd 186 3/8/11 09:13:52
The Expanded Guide 187
Fill-in ash Flash combined with daylight in
an exposure. Used with naturally backlit or harshly
side-lit or top-lit subjects to prevent silhouettes
forming, or to add extra light to the shadow areas of
a well-lit scene.
Filter A piece of colored, or coated, glass or
plastic placed in front of the lens.
F-stop Number assigned to a particular lens
aperture. Wide apertures are denoted by small
numbers such as f/2, and small apertures by large
numbers such as f/22.
Focal length The distance, usually in
millimeters, from the optical center point of a lens
element to its focal point.
Focusing distance Term used to describe the
distance between the focal plane (the sensor/lm)
and the subject.
fps (frames per second) The ability of a digital
camera to process one image and be ready to shoot
the next.
Histogram A graph used to represent the
distribution of tones in an image.
Hotshoe An accessory shoe with electrical
contacts that allows synchronization between the
camera and a ashgun.
Hotspot A light area with a loss of detail in
the highlights. This is a common problem in ash
photography.
Incident-light reading Meter reading based on
the light falling on the subject.
Interpolation A way of increasing the le size
of a digital image by adding pixels, thereby increasing
its resolution.
ISO The sensitivity of an image sensor to light,
measured in terms equivalent to the ISO rating of
lm. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive the sensor
is to light.
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
A universal image format supported by virtually all
relevant software applications. JPEG compression can
reduce le sizes to about 5% of their original size
with little visible loss in image quality.
LCD (liquid crystal display) The large screen
on a digital camera that allows the user to preview
images.
Megapixel One million pixels are equal to one
megapixel.
Memory card A removable storage device for
cameras.
Mirror lockup A function that allows the reex
mirror of an SLR to be raised and held in the up
position, before the exposure is made to reduce
vibration.
Pixel Short for picture elementthe smallest
bits of information in a digital image.
Predictive autofocus An autofocus system that
can continually track a moving subject.
Noise Colored image interference caused by
stray electrical signals.
Partial metering A metering system that
places importance on a relatively small area at the
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY END MATTER 186-192.indd 187 3/8/11 09:13:52
Landscape Photography 188
center of the frame to calculate the exposure of the
photograph.
PictBridge The industry standard for sending
information directly from a camera to a printer,
without having to connect to a computer.
RAW The format in which the raw data from
the sensor is stored without permanent alterations
being made.
Reproduction ratio A term used to describe
the relationship between the size of your subject in
real life, and the size it is recorded on the sensor/
lm. For example, a reproduction ratio of 1:2 means
that the subject will appear half its actual size on the
sensor or lm.
Resolution The number of pixels used to capture
or display an image. The higher the resolution, the
ner the detail.
RGB (red, green, blue) Computers and other
digital devices understand color information as a
combination of red, green, and blue.
Rule of thirds A rule of thumb that places the
key elements of a picture at points along imagined
lines that divide the frame into thirds.
Selective focusing (see differential focus).
Shading The effect of light striking a photo
sensor at anything other than right angles incurring a
loss of resolution.
Shutter The mechanism that controls the amount
of light reaching the sensor by opening and closing.
SLR (single lens reex) A type of camera that
allows the user to view the scene through the lens,
using a reex mirror.
Spot metering A metering system that places
importance on the intensity of light reected by a very
small portion of the scene.
Teleconverter A lens that is inserted between
the camera body and main lens, increasing the
effective focal length.
Telephoto lens A lens with a large focal length
and a narrow angle of view.
TTL (through-the-lens) metering A metering
system built into the camera that measures light
passing through the lens at the time of shooting.
TIFF (Tagged-Image File Format) A universal
image le format that can be compressed without
loss of information.
USB (universal serial bus) A data transfer
standard, used by the EOS 60D when connecting to
a computer.
Viewnder The cameras small window used to
compose the picture, giving an approximate view of
what will be captured.
White balance A function that allows the
correct color balance to be recorded for any given
lighting situation.
Working distance The space between the front
surface of the lens, and the point on the subject
where the lens is focused.
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY END MATTER 186-192.indd 188 3/8/11 09:13:52
The Expanded Guide 189
Useful web sites
General
Ammonite Press
Photography books and Expanded Camera Guides
www.ammonitepress.com
Equipment
Adobe
Photographic editing software such as Photoshop
and Lightroom
www.adobe.com
Apple
Creators of photo editing software, including
Aperture, plus notebook and desktop computers
www.apple.com/uk
Canon
Camera & lens manufacturer
www. canon.com
Nikon
Camera & lens manufacturer
www.nikon.com
Pentax
www.pentax.com
Sony
Camera & lens manufacturer
www.sony.com
Olympus
Camera & lens manufacturer
www.olympus-global.com
Panasonic
Camera & lens manufacturer
www.panasonic.com
Sigma
Camera & third-party lens manufacturer
www.sigmaphoto.com
Photography Publications
Black & white Photography magazine
Outdoor Photography magazine
Inspiration and information for monochrome
enthusiasts
www.thegmcgroup.com
Digital Photography Review
Independent digital camera reviews and news
www.dpreview.com
ePHOTOzine
Photographic news, reviews, techniques, and tips
www.ephotozine.co.uk
Luminous Landscape
Features, insight and forums all about landscape
photography
www.luminous-landscape.com
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY END MATTER 186-192.indd 189 3/8/11 09:13:52
Landscape Photography 190
Index
A
abstract landscapes 62, 128
accessories 19
Adobe
Lightroom 52
RGB 22
Advanced Photo System type C
(APS-C) sensor 15
Alpenglow 133
aperture 28, 30
settings 30
Apple Aperture 52
B
backpacks 132
backup 166, 167
balance 117, 162
beachcombing 137
boots, sturdy 20
brightness 117
C
calendars 181
camera
bag, chest mounted 132
bag, waterproof 146
choosing 13
compact 15
DSLR 13
how it sees 58
setting up 21
circles 64
Clikpic 182
Cloud Appreciation Society 155
clouds 154, 156
identifying 155
coast 136
coastal light 136, 137, 138
color 106119
casts 110
perceiving 110
single, using 112
space 22
theory 108
wheel 108
colors
analogous 119
complementary 116
cool 114
positioning 118
primary 108
saturating 174
secondary 108
tertiary 108
warm 112
compact camera 15
complementary colors 116
composition 5677
basic rules 60
converging lines 70
correction filters 111
creativity 120129
crop factor 15
cropping and formats 76
D
dawn 86
depth of field 32
big 36, 37
controlling 34
shallow 38, 39
desert 140
light 141, 142
diagonal lines 66
digital
camera sensor 50
projector 184
workflow 164175
dust spots, removing 174
E
equipment 1025
choosing 12
outdoor 20
expose to the right 50
exposure 2655
understanding 28
F
Facebook 183
film, advantage 105
filters
correction 111
neutral-density (ND) 18, 54
neutral-density graduated
18, 52
ND grad 52
software 52
polarizer 18, 52
five layers 70
flare, avoiding 91
flashlight, using 128
Flickr 183
flowers and plants 158
focus, soft 159
footwear 20
format
large 15
medium 15
frame, filling the 62
f-stops 30
full frame 14
G
gloves, thermal 20
Google
Images 23
Maps 23
golden hour 24
Gore-Tex 20
grain 49
H
headlamp 20
high dynamic range (HDR) 124
software 125
horizons, straight 61
horizontal lines 66
hotshoe spirit level 19
humidity, exposure to 145
hyperfocal distance 32
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY END MATTER 186-192.indd 190 3/8/11 09:13:52
The Expanded Guide 191
I
image format 21
image management software
169
images
keywording 170
online 23
printing 178179
processing 173, 174
rating 172
rejecting 170
removing dust spots 174
renaming 168
sharpening 174
transferring 172
using 176185
iPhone/iPod Touch 32
ISO rating 28, 48
J
jacket, waterproof/windproof
20
JPEG 21
jungles and forests 144
K
keywording 170, 174
software 174
kit (equipment) 12
L
landscape, people in 162
landscapes
abstract 62, 128
laptop computer 167, 168
large format 15
lens
choice 32
flare, avoiding 91
Lensbaby 16
lenses
extreme telephoto 16
standard 16
telephoto 16
tilt-shift 17
ultra-wide-angle 16
wide-angle 16
light 78105
back 83
dawn 85, 86, 88
desert 141, 142
diffused 84
direction 82
front 82
low 85
manipulating 82
midday 94
mountain 133
overhead 85
painting with 128
quality of 80
side 82
sunrise 91
sunset 96
lines
converging 70
diagonal 66
horizontal 66
vertical 66
locations & subjects 130 165
M
magic moment 96
maps and books 23
meaning, adding 75
medium format 15
memory cards 167
metadata, adding 169
Micro Four Thirds 15
midday 94
moonlight 104
moon, photographing 45
mountain light 133
mountains and hills 132, 134
music/soundtrack, adding 185
N
night 104
noise 49, 105
O
outdoor accessories 20
overexpose 50
P
painting with light 128
panning 124
panoramas, creating 126
panorama software 126
patterns in nature 62
people in the landscape 162
photography forums 23
Photoshelter 182
Pixaria 182
plants 158
portable download drive 167
primary colors 108
printer
inks 178
inkjet 178
resolution 179
speed 179
print on demand 180181
R
RAW 21, 50
reflections 149, 150
repetition of subject 70
researching locations 23
rivers and lakes 148
Rowell, Galen 80
Rule of Thirds 60
S
sand
exposure to 140
patterns 141
scale, sense of 153, 163
secondary colors 108
shapes and patterns 64, 68
sharpness, ultimate 34
shutter speed 28, 40, 46, 47
equation 42
fast 42
slow 44, 122
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY END MATTER 186-192.indd 191 3/8/11 09:13:52
Landscape Photography 192
social media 182183
slideshows, making 184
SmugMug 183
spirit level, hotshoe 19
squares and rectangles 64
standard lens 16
Super Red Green Blue (sRGB)
22
star trails 104
sunny 16 rule 41
sunrise 90, 92
sunrise/sunset
calculator 91
times 24
sunset 96, 98
T
telephoto lens 16
extreme 16
temperatures, extreme 140
tertiary colors 108
third dimension 70, 72, 149
tide times 24, 136
tilt-shift lens 17
trees 160
triangles 64
tripod 132
ball head 17
carbon fiber 17
heads 17
leg lock mechanism 17
maximum working height
17
weight and rigidity 17
tripods 17
twilight 100, 102
Twitter 183
U
ultra-wide-angle lens 16
underexposure 146
V
vertical lines 66
visual balance 117, 162
W
Watkins, Carleton 8
water
blurring 153
moving 137
photographing 148
reflections 149
shapes 152, 153
waterfall 42, 152
web site, creating 182
web sites 182183
weather 24
forecasts 136
white balance 111
wide-angle lens 16
workflow
at home 172
digital 164175
in the field 166
Y
Ying and Yang 41
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY END MATTER 186-192.indd 192 3/8/11 09:13:52