Monday, August 16, 2010

A Learning Process: Landscape Photos

    During my last camping trip I learned a lot about landscape photography, which has always been something I've struggled with. Getting over my old habits of just pointing and shooting while taking landscape photos is hard to overcome. As part of that processes a few months ago I purchased an e-book on landscape photography. By reading that book and reading several sites on the web I feel that I'm taking some baby steps in the right direction. Those steps have helped me to approach composition of landscape photos differently than before. Just like anything other area of photography, landscape images takes a lot of work, and practice. Learning how to use filters and different methods of editing said photos can make a difference in how your final image turns out.
A Quiet Crossing

    This photo was taken shortly after the photos of the Chasm, which I posted in my last entry. In the past I would take most of my landscape photos while standing, or on a tripod that was raised to full height (center column down), but doing that isn't always going to give your photos the feel that you want them to have. One of he most important lessons I learned from experience, the web and Jason Odell's E-Book "The Photographer's Guide To Digital Landscapes" is that getting closer to the ground can help improve your landscape photos. Today's photo was taken while I was down on my knees. Getting too low to the ground in this situation would not have been a good idea, but being any higher would have led to a totally different perspective.

    Any important thing to consider is the location of the horizon, try not putting the horizon in the middle of the frame and see what happens to the quality of your images, it changes how you frame your photos entirely. Not to say that you cannot put the horizon in the middle of the frame, but having it elsewhere can help improve the quality of your images and make them stand out from the average snap shot. On a clear day I now try to keep as little of the sky in the photo as possible, because a clear empty sky can be boring to look at. A cloudy sky on the other hand can be very interesting, but could distract from the primary subject matter, so keep that in mind as well.

    I'm going to continue posting my thoughts and lessons learned about landscape photography all week long, as I go over photos taken during my recent trip.