Landscapes are one of those rare kinds of subject – they can be easy enough to photograph with encouraging results for the beginner to try his hand in; they can also be challenging enough for the experienced photographer to keep him interested. There’s something about how quiet and how magnificent nature can be that can put you in touch with what photography is all about. No matter how much you analyze a scene, there’s always more to do. Landscape photography is one of those rare kinds of subject – lets see what Janie Barclay – a leading Scottish photographer has to say on the subject.
Wide-open angles are the norm in landscape photography – even if you might sometimes use long focal lengths or a narrow depth of field to experiment with. For the most depth of field, choose the largest number for your aperture setting possible. A large number means less light. So you need to crank up your ISO or slow down your shutter.
A tripod is almost required for landscape photography. This is because you often need a slow shutter speed for it, and you don’t want to risk even a little bit of camera movement. Some photographers find that even when they do have a tripod, the mere act of depressing the shutter button introduces an element of shake. For this reason, they also invest in a wireless shutter release mechanism.
When you have a huge dramatic wide-open landscape in front of you, it can be easy to forget that you’re supposed to have something that your picture is supposed to converge on – a kind of psychological focus. You’ve probably seen lots of amateur landscape photography just look empty for no known reason. It can be this way if the photographer never thought about finding something for everything in the picture to converge on. Your focal point could be a beautiful tree or a rock or something.
If you don’t really have any particular thing to focus your composition on, doing a foreground-rear-ground composition can help. For instance, if you have a wide-open field of flowers to capture, bringing the camera really close to the flowers next to you can’t give a dramatic sense of perspective and placement.
It’s a given that any landscape photography has to include a lot of the sky. You can’t afford to have the sky in your picture be boring though. You need to make it interesting. If there is nothing at all interesting in the sky though, you can try to hide the fact by making the scenery before you the main part of it. Or else, you could use a polarizing filter to dramatically color things up.