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Landscape Photography


The best landscape photographs:

• Are made by photographers who have some sort of passion for the landscape in front of their cameras.

My approach to photography is based on my belief in the vigor and values of the world in nature—in the aspects of grandeur and of the minutiae all about us.

I believe in growing things, and in things which have grown and died magnificently.

I believe in people and in the simple aspects of human life, and in the relation of man to nature.

I believe that man must be free, both in spirit and society, that he must build strength into himself, affirming the "enormous beauty of the world" and acquiring the confidence to see and to express his vision.

And I believe in photography as one means of expressing this affirmation, and of achieving an ultimate happiness and faith.

Ansel Adams

• Are made by photographers who know their subject.

For example, a photographer with some knowledge of the geology, wildlife, and history of the Grand Canyon, will make better landscapes.

• Have the light (season, weather, and time-of-day), color, composition, vantage point, etc.—make the above passion more clear in the viewer's mind and heart.

• Have gesture.

There's human gesture, that's evocative of the person and situation.

Here, gesture is the extra 5% added to/in the landscape that helps the photograph to transmit the photographer's passion.

• Are part of a body of work that's related in some way.

The landscapes could be related by:

1) Subject

2) Narrative

3) Theme/mood

4) Style, such as abstraction (color, shapes)

• Are made by photographers who are able to recognize when the light is too contrasty to "fit" on a photograph.

They reduce the contrast by:

1) Photographing on overcast days.

2) Cropping out the too-bright sky.

3) Using a graduated neutral density filter.

4) Saving photographs as raw files.

5) Using software to combine several exposures of the same scene.



A tripod:

• Slows you down.

• Allows you to use slow shutter speeds.

Slows You Down

When you're slowed down, you can better examine what's in the frame.

The more elements in the frame, the harder it is to make a landscape photograph.

By fixing your camera's vantage point, you can see better.

Slow Shutter Speeds

Slow shutter speeds allow you to:

• Blur movement, such as grasses.

• Use small lens opening for increased depth-of-field.

Two Filters

You must have a:

• Polarizing filter.

• Graduated neutral density filter.

Go to Two Filters.

Software Tools

You can reduce the contrast in a scene by taking several different exposures, and then using software to combine the files into a single photograph.

Go to High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography.


Most landscape photographs falter without something in the foreground to block boring expanses of grass or pavement.

Besides blocking the above, foreground can:

• Frame the scene.

Photograph a lake in the Adirondacks with the curve of the top of an Adirondacks chair in the foreground.

• Add local color.

Photograph New York City through a pretzel with mustard.

Less Sky

You may not need a lot of sky in the photograph.

Shoot Raw

There are three advantages.

Advantage #1

Raw files have far more information available for editing in the shadows than do JPEG files.

Go to Raw v. JPEG.

Advantage #2

You can set the white balance when you process the raw file.

Advantage #3

You can process the raw file twice:

1) Develop for the bright areas

2) Develop a second time for the darker areas

3) Then, combine the two JPEGS with Photoshop Elements or other software.

Go to Raw Process, Twice, to Reduce Contrast.

Wake Up Early




Contrast Remedies

Moon Photography

Night Photography

Sunrises & Sunsets


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