Well, now that the new look website and blog are up-and-running I can put down some new musings for you guys.
First off, well done to the folks in the office who put in long hours to make this new website a reality – I think it’s really slick and well thought out!
Last year I wrote a series of blog posts on bird photography which proved to be quite popular (you can read them HERE). This time around, I am going to write another series of short posts on the basics of landscape photography. Landscape photography is a hugely popular genre of modern photography, I think in most part because most people living in the world can appreciate a stunning vista, a splendid sunrise and a scene that shows the power, grandeur and tranquility of the natural world. I know very few wildlife photographers who won’t try once in a while to capture some decent landscape images, so I thought this post might be apt for many of the regular Wild Eye followers who travel to various locations in the world to pursue their photographic passions.
There are a couple of reasons why I would espouse every wildlife photographer to have a good grasp of basic principles of landscape photography:
1. It improves your photographic vision for composition and visual mass.
The one thing I see in the plethora of nature photos posted online that can be improved upon (besides post-processing!) is composition. Spending time improving my landscape photography is the one thing that really helped me appreciate the overall composition of a scene, and the effect that each element you include or exclude has on the overall balance and visual mass of the composition
2. It improves your understanding of the physical properties of light – how light touches, affects and visually sculpts the earth and everything on it.
Photography is all about light. You all know that – photography means “painting with light” after all. Light and shadow help define and sculpt the elements in the landscape and knowing how to use light and capture the light as best as possible is something that can improve all aspects of your photography. Shooting landscapes helps you learn to “read” the fall of light, to be patient and anticipate the moment that the light will peak.
3. It expands your photographic portfolio and opportunities, especially in times when you are not able to pursue your main photographic interest.
Not only will you be able to dust off those wide angle lenses and your tripod, but you will find yourself having an open mind for new opportunities that may arise on a road or business trip, on a walk in the park close to home, or even on your travels to photograph exotic wildlife all over the world. Landscape photography helps attune your senses to the natural rhythm of the course of the day (or night) – you will find yourself eagerly awaiting that coming sunset as you scan above for high clouds, or eagerly awaiting the moon to set so you can capture the magnificence of the Milky Way under dark skies.
4. It helps you get out of the house and car more!
Let’s face it – those of us who enjoy wildlife photography spend a lot of time doing it from vehicles or even enclosed hides…but few things beat walking up a mountain ridge in the crisp dawn air, experiencing the awakening day with all your senses. We need to get out more – especially in this day and age where getting off the beaten track is getting harder and harder to do! We often tout the holistic experience of nature photography here on the Wild Eye blog – and landscape photography helps immerse you in nature better than any other genre in my humble opinion. Much like our favourite wildlife photos instantly transport us to a specific safari with specific memories, my favourite landscape photos take me right back to those moments when I was out of breath after reaching the peak I had to climb, watching the light and the landscape transform by the minute as I capture the shots.
What do you need?
– A love for nature, for the beauty of Creation.
– A camera body, it can be entry level or pro grade, anything will do.
– A wide angle lens, and if you can afford it, a medium zoom lens (think 14-24mm and 24-120mm or the like).
– A sturdy tripod.
– A moderate to high level of fitness (depending on the locations you intend traversing).
I hope this primer has wet your appetite to learn some more about being a better landscape photographer!
Next time I will start delving into some practical tips to help you discover and develop this genre in your own photographic journey.
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