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  Photographing Landscapes  


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  • Before shooting any landscape photographs, take a few minutes to look around and see your environment.  See what’s there.  What are the different angles and vantage points can I shoot from?  If you don’t do this first, you may miss something later because you’re focused on what you see thru the lens.  Stop every so often and look around again.
  • Use a tripod and shutter release cable.  Using both will keep the camera steady when taking the shot.  You won’t get as many photographs as you would by just hand-holding it, but they will be more sharp & clear.
  • Early morning and late afternoon & evening are the best times for shooting landscapes.  During these times the sun brings out the shadows and reveals different textures in the landscape.
  • Place something of interest in the foreground.  This will give you a sense of depth to the photograph.
  • Use a small aperture of f/11 or f/16.  With a small aperture everything will come into focus.
  • A good landscape shot is probably not going to be taken by just stepping outside of your vehicle.  I’ve done my share of hiking in the early morning hours up in the mountains and even down in Death Valley to get the shot that I want.  I’ve gotten up at 3 & 4 in the morning and driven several hours to get the early morning photograph that I wanted.
  • Use a wide-angle lens whenever possible.  This will allow you to include more in the photograph and open up the perspective.
  • If you don’t have a wide-angle lens, consider taking several overlapping photographs of the landscape so you can ‘stitch’ them together later in Photoshop.  If you use this method, allow a  20-25% overlap on each photograph.  This will make it easier to align them up later.
  • Use your polarizing filter.  If you have a graduated neutral density filter, try that one also.  These two filters will enhance your landscape photographs.
  • Most amateurs place the ‘horizon line’ in the middle of the photograph.  Normally you will get a more dramatic photograph by placing the horizon either 1/3 of the way down from the top of the frame or 1/3 of the way up the bottom, depending on whether you want the center of focus to be on the ground or the sky.  This however is not a set rule.  There may be times that by placing the horizon on the center of the photograph will produce more dramatic results than the rule of thirds.
  • The camera that I use has a setting that places grid lines along the rule of thirds.  The lines can be seen thru eyepiece, but does not show up in the final photograph.  This is an excellent way to line up your shot, and it also helps keep your camera level with the horizon.
  • Use your imagination and develop your own style.  Take lots of photographs.  The more you take the better you will become.  Keep in mind that of all the shots you take you may only 5-10% may really stand out.

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