Landscape photography. The very thought makes even hardened photographers I know throw their hands up in the air. “I can’t do it”, they say, “my photos look simply NOTHING like the scene in front of me”. Landscapes are a love and a passion of mine. I live on the stunning Isle of Skye, one of the most favoured world wide destinations for landscape photographers and daily I photograph families and weddings out in our great big beautiful landscapes. Top tips for landscapes.
Composition and light are key. Aim to shoot in the golden hours of the day – those around sunrise and sunset when the light hits the land at just the angle to bring out the structure and shape of the scenery and the light itself makes you gasp as you watch it chase across the countryside. Shots taken at midday will often feel dull and flat by comparison. Compositionally, take your time – really look at the view you want to photograph. Foreground interest is so helpful to making your image interesting so don’t just gaze at the far horizon – look for something close to you that you can incorporate into your final composition. A flower, a rock, a gate. Fill the foreground of your image, compress the mid ground and lead the eye to the horizon of your scene.
Technically, use a tripod , select an aperture of around f8 – f13 for a crisp focus and depth of field throughout the frame, and perhaps a slower shutter speed to capture the less intense but beautiful light of the golden hour. If you have them neutral density filters to hold back the light in the sky and balance the light across the image will really take your landscape photographs to the next level. Most of all get out there, give it a go and enjoy our land and seascapes.
This image is of Bla Bheinn on the Isle of Skye. Taken at the location of an open air wedding ceremony when I like to record the scenery for the bride and groom to add to the story of their day. My foreground interest are the sheep! I have shot at a lowish angle to cut out the rather boring mid ground and focussed sharply on the detail of the mountain which is beautiful light as sunlight chases across it’s screes.
I am one of those that throws their hands up in despair. Put a person or animal in a picture and I am fine, but trying to capture the magic and feelings of a place somehow elude me. Here is my best effort for a trip to one of the most magical places I know that is just a mile or two down the road. I have used the clumps of rushes at the front as foreground interest and the lines lead across the water to the little wooden fishing platform on the river Whitewater at Greywell in Hampshire. I took it at F8 to keep as much in focus as possible.
OK, my landscape is a bit of a cheat this week. I took this a couple of years ago – but I simply love it. Taken on a holiday to New York City, here is the cityscape whilst on the Staten Island Ferry. Keep my aperture wide, I snapped the scene – however, I love this image as the sky looks so big compared to the sky scrapers.
Wow – this was a tough one as sometimes it’s so hard to find the right combination of light, interest of subjects and then composition. This image I’m sharing from a trip to Bali last year. It captures for me the essence of the physical landscape during our tour around Ubud with it’s endless rice fields stretching out to the horizon. I used the uncut rice as a leading line at the front of the image and wanted to capture some of the drama with the dark storm clouds approaching so show from low down.
No surprises. Mine is a beachscape. I took this on the Lizard Peninsula, where arguably it’s impossible to take a bad picture. The light was perfect and the colours were beautiful.
I love looking at Landscape images, especially Rosie’s spectacular Skye shots but although I may be able to great shots of other subjects my landscapes just don’t have the wow factor that us photographers crave for. Having said all that this image is a favourite of mine, cheating somewhat with the addition of the 4 kids (Nat’s & mine, not together ;), this was taken on Southport beach in the middle of winter. It was freezing, windy and downright soggy but we all managed to laugh.