How do you capture them on your camera?
Basically as the subject really, I get moderate results but as yet not got that killer landscape photo yet.
I know about exposure, aperture, lighting etc but are there any other tips out there that might me get that perfect landscape picture?
Shall I carry around my tripod and use for every picture, get up at the crack of dawn or stay out until sunset?
Any thoughts tips etc which will help me on my way and get my faith back into photography or shall I just continue to cheat and adjust my results with photo-shop?
Go to the top gear website and watch some older videos. Whoever their camerman is knows all about dramatic landscapes. He often uses a movie camera more like a still camera making a stunning background with graduated colour filters (and some composition) letting the merely car pass through it.
Tripod can be handy if you want long exposure and small F stop to ensure depth of field - I usually use a 10mm lens which doesn't really need focussing and shake/depth of field aren't a problem either. You do however sometimes have to do some walking to get close to things.
Watching the Top gear stuff you'll often see a very low shooting angle which includes something trivial in the foreground which the eye sees first, it then expands it's view to the full picture - sort of animates a static view.
Best tool I've got is a polarising filter - instant drama there !!
You can severly enhance skies, see through water or glass, remove glare & reflections - fabulous.
I bought a very large one and use it on many lenses with step up/down rings - you can hand hold it in front of mini digitals too.
Another gimmick I'm equiped for but haven't exploited so far is extremely long exposures during daylight using neutral density filters - they severly cut down the light the camera sees and so extend the exposure time.
Uses are landscape with flowing river, waves lapping shore, trees waving in the wind - anything in motion will be extremely blurred and the effect is often very pleasing.
get up at the crack of dawn or stay out until sunset?
Yes! Absolutely. Mind you, the next few months are great for photography with the light and colours so much more interesting, even at the crack of noon!
Grey Grad filter - makes skies bluer (if such word)? and retains detail in clouds. Reduces contrast between sky and land resulting in a more even exposure.
Keep the camera with you on crappy weather days - breaks in the cloud and rainbows can be spectacular.
Under-expose slightly - Seems to make colours more vibrant.
Compose - Think about what you are doing and how you want it to look. No amount of photoshop can compensate for poor composition.
ASK! - Loads of tips can be picked up from others if you do this.
"I know about exposure, aperture, lighting etc but are there any other tips out there that might me get that perfect landscape picture?"
There is no such thing as a perfect landscape image. You either get crap, good or lucky images because you cannot control everything. You can improve your chances of good and lucky images by watching the weather forecasts and planning ahead and being in the right place at the optimum time. Decide whether the photography is more important than the walk. If so, research your location in advance. Look at sunrise at sunset angles according to season. Use a camera that gives as much user control as possible and work on your composition.
"Shall I carry around my tripod and use for every picture, get up at the crack of dawn or stay out until sunset?"
Yes, yes and yes if you are being serious about your photography. Be prepared for disapointment.
"Any thoughts tips etc which will help me on my way and get my faith back into photography or shall I just continue to cheat and adjust my results with photo-shop?"
Who said adjustments in PS is cheating? Every worthwhile published image you have ever seen has been adjusted. However, PS will not make a bad image a good image. The main thing is to enjoy being outdoors. Good images are a bonus.
what camera do you have dorian?
early morning and evening are great times of the day. as marcus syas, this time if year is fantastic early in the morning with mists, light and colours galore. go out on a take photos day carrying all the gubbins and have a damn good practice.
if you are to stich photos together for a landscape, take the pics with the camera turned sideways to get a wider long picture rather than a narrow wide picture and lock the exposure for all shots - i usually start with exposing the sky at the mid point i.e. between the sun and the darkest part of the sky, and locking (remembering) those settings.
nothing wrong with photoshop. i find i can blend two pictures quicker than i can get a filter out and set it up.
may be because i want it to be so, but i think a long exposure seems to increase the colour depth and contrast or, i hope, i'm just getting better at taking pics.
by the way, does anyone know how a digital camera exposure compensates? does it do it electronically within the camera or does it adjust a setting?
It depends how the camera is set up, if in Aperture priority, it will adjust the shutter. If in Shutter Priority it will adjust the aperture.
I dont think it works on Auto or manual. (not on my Nikon anyway)
Chris is right - Polariser is the most useful piece of kit I ever bought. Get a circular polariser (available from all camera shops for about £25) so that you can adjust how much of an effect it has.
The obvious affect is the blueness of the skies but it's also worth trying out on hazy or overcast days as it can clarify the image and cut through some of the humidity in the air. Also good for foliage and it reduced the reflection and so you get the true colours of the leaves.
If you've got a film camera (which few people have nowadays) - buy a decent film, not just whats on offer in Boots, you'll see the difference instantly.
If you're on digital, don't be afraid to play around with the brightness and contrast on the computer. Your camera will try and meter the image so that everything is balanced but it may be more dramatic to have large amounts of dark areas to convey a forboding feel etc
Thanks all for the info and tips so far.
To answer a couple of questions I use two cameras my SLR Canon D400 and also an Olympus SP-400.
On the SLR I use a UV filter and a circular polariser - like the idea of the neutral density filter, thanks Chris
I've carried my tripod on one walking trip, but I found it too big heavy and not robust enough, I'm looking to get another tripod which is lighter and more robust, open to suggestions here (reasonable prices please).
I normally use aperture priority when taking landscapes to get the depth of field on a tripod the exposure time will not matter. I don't bracket, maybe I should so that I can see the results from under and over exposure.
Lighting, see what you mean on this one at midday the overhead sun does nothing but flatten a landscape, either side you get shadows which bring the landscape back into perspective.
What about angles, I tend to take my photos at or near to head height (6ft odd) should i be getting down on my belly etc?
richard, sorry, didn't explain it properly.
when you manually set the camera to over/under exposure by a stop setting on top of the what the camera says. like bracketing.
e.g. i have my d80 permanently set to 1/3 stop over exposed. and i use it almost exclusively in manual mode.
I may be wrong, but I don't think exposure compensation works in Manual mode. - you wouldn't need it. I usually keep mine set 1/3 stop under exposed but have compensated by up to 2 stops recently. (today). This was in Shutter priority, and looking back at the data stored it seems to have adjusted the Aperture. I just fired off a couple of shots at my wall onAperture priority and set the camera up to compensate by +- 2 stops and it did it by adjusting the shutter.
Shutter priority = 1/8thshutter f5.6 aperture then, after exposure compensation was set on camera, the same shot was recorded at 1/8th shutter f8 aperture. I set compensation in Full fstops to avoid confusion!
ah, thanks. that explains it. the camera adjusts the speed to fix it.
bracketing is good to get the feel of what you think it's going to come out like. i use a manfrotto 190XPROB tripod. a trade off between price and weight and find it more than stable enough. that and the camera still isn't "light" though.
try pics from various heights - pick one view and do all your experiments on that one view. then see what comes out and what you prefer. after all the only good picture is the one you think is good.
matt, i guess that it just adjusts the metering to take it into account - which bit of the metering (aperture or speed) or a combination.
i do feel an experiment coming on though.
"So, just for completeness, what happens to the aperture/shutter combination if you dial in exposure compensation or auto-bracketing when shooting in program(auto) mode?"
In Programme mode, your +/- compensated exposures will change both shutter and aperture settings by .5 stop each for each 1 stop adjustment. This is a reciprocal adjustment and will modify each setting (aperture & shutter) according to the amount of compensation set, ie .5 stop compensation will add or take .25 stop from both shutter & aperture, etc.
In aperture priority mode, the shutter speed will be adjusted according to the amount of compensation set, in shutter priority mode the aperture setting will be adjusted. For a more considered approach to your landscape photography, you need to be working in manual mode with a hand-held spot meter or using you camera as a lightmeter in spot metering mode and bracketing your exposures accordingly. Knowing where to take your meter readings from comes with experience. For my landscape work I use manual cameras and a hand-held spot meter and take three readings to work out an exposure for a given aperture (usually f22 or f32 depending on which camera I'm using) and then bracket around that by adjusting the shutter speed (not the aperture as this will affect dof).
"...if I'm out with others or involved in some other activity, so the photography is a bit more of an incidental, then it still helps to understand which flavours of a less-than-ideal approach are likely to deliver better results."
Exactly, which is why I made the point earlier about deciding what is more important - the walk or the images. This is why I've found the Ricoh GRD to be such a great little camera for those times when I'm out walking with Julie or my mates and on OM meets etc. It can be used manually for creative control or as a simple point and shoot. I prefer always work alone, but no-one would like to be around me when I'm working anyway, unless they were extremely patient and not easily offended.
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