Monthly Archives: April 2015

Landscape and Nature Photography Tips – Part Two

 

(Part 2 of a two-part Post. Part 2 deals with the Gear side of things, whereas, Part 1 deals with Technique.)

11. Gear Check List

Have a gear check list. Carefully check all your gear to ensure you do not leave something behind. Have everything packed, and ready-to-go, in the car, before you go to bed.

12. Clean Your Lenses and Filters

Make sure to gently clean your lenses and filters with a blower and a micro-fiber cloth suitable for lenses and filters. I do not use any liquids or anything else. Always cap your lenses when not in use.

13. Use a Tripod

Use a tripod to help obtain the sharpest images possible. Camera shake can ruin an otherwise fantastic shot. If you are serious about photography, do not take the lazy way out.

14. Use Smaller Capacity Memory Cards

Use 4 – 4GB cards instead of one 16GB card. Do not put all your eggs in one basket. If the one large card fails, you will have lost all of your images.

15. Filters & Step-Up Rings

If you have lenses with different diameter screw mounts, instead of purchasing a different size filter to accommodate each different lens diameter, purchase a step-up ring for each lens that will fit one filter size. For instance, if you have a lens with a 67mm screw mount and another with 72mm screw mount, you can purchase a 67-77 step-up ring and a 72-77mm step-up ring. Then, you can purchase just one filter to fit both lenses. Buying the two step-up rings is far less expensive than purchasing 2 filters.

16. Use a Cable or Remote Shutter-Release or Timer

Pressing the shutter release button with your finger can introduce camera vibration, thereby resulting in a less than perfectly sharp image. Using a cable or remote shutter release, with your camera mounted on a sturdy tripod, will help ensure sharp images.

17. Buy the Best Lens You Can Afford
If you buy a $5,000.00 camera and a $500.00 lens, you could get fairly decent results. However, if you spend $500.00 on the camera and pair it with a $5,000.00 lens, it is virtually assured you will obtain far superior results. Buy the best lens you can afford!

18. Polarizer Filter

A polarizer filter is an indispensable tool that should be in every nature photographer’s bag. It cuts down on glare and reflections from water, glass and metal. It turns a light blue sky darker, which, in turn, makes puffy clouds stand out even more. For best results, you want the sun at 90 degrees to either your right or left. Be wary of using a polarizer on a wide-angle lens. Doing so can result in an image in which part of the sky is a considerably lighter shade of blue than the rest of the sky.

19. Proper Clothing / Footwear

Always check the weather forecast for the location in which you will be shooting. I often shoot in the Rocky Mountains. It can be 70 degrees where I live, in the Denver, CO area, and, at that same moment, 35 degrees and very windy at 14,000 feet. Consider whether you need to bring a winter coat, hat, gloves, etc. Also, remember the hiking boots!

20. Food / Drink

Remember to pack food & drink, especially if you plan on being in a remote location for any length of time. It’s extremely difficult to concentrate on capturing some great images when you’re hungry and thirsty.

*** Please Comment with your Landscape and Nature Photography Tips

Till next time!……..Tom

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Landscape and Nature Photography Tips– Part One

 

(Part 1 of a two-part Post. Part 1 deals with technique, while Part 2 deals with gear. Part 2 will be posted one week from today.)

1. Shoot Verticals & Horizontals

What does it take to turn your camera 90 degrees – not much, right? When you take a horizontal shot, take a vertical as well. You may be surprised how often both orientations work – or how a vertical works better than a horizontal.

2. Study Your Scene From Multiple Angles

Don’t show up at a location and start snapping away. Rather, study your scene. Walk around. Shoot from various angles. Get down low, get up high. Lie on your back & on your belly. Get on your knees. Look behind you and look up and down. Study your scene from all of these perspectives. Experiment and be creative. You’ll be amazed at the images you capture with a just bit of effort. Remember to shoot both verticals and horizontals, and to use your tripod! Exploring every possibility can sometimes turn an ordinary image into an extraordinary one!

3. Use The Mirror-Up Setting To Lessen Vibration

There is a mirror in DSLR cameras that moves up, and out of the way, when you press the shutter release. The vibration of the mirror’s movement can cause a loss in sharpness, especially at slow shutter speeds. Most DSLRs allow you to lock the mirror in the up position, prior to releasing the shutter, thereby eliminating the vibration. Check your camera’s manual if you are unfamiliar with this setting. I highly recommend you employ this technique.

4. Shoot During the Golden Hour

This so called “Golden Hour” produces softer, more colorful light with longer shadows that will give your landscape shots extra depth and dimension. This is about 1 hour after sunrise and 1 hour before sunset. I prefer to be on location, all ready to shoot, 90 minutes after and 90 minutes before.

5. Shoot RAW

JPEG files are compressed, having tossed out some of the original information. RAW files retain all the information you captured on your camera’s sensor. Shooting in RAW allows you to process your images more in-depth, thereby giving you more creative control. RAW files are much larger than JPEGs, so they will take up a lot more space on your memory cards.

6. Use Hyperfocal Distance To Obtain The Sharpest Landscape Images

“This is the closest point at which you can focus the lens at this focal length and aperture settings, and still keep everything from the focusing point to infinity in focus.”
The above quote was taken from an online article. Hyperfocal Distance can be a confusing concept. I am by no means an expert on the subject. The best way I can explain it is to refer you to this excellent article.

7. Create Your Own Fog

Came upon a clump of trees you thought would look eerie in a photo if only they were enveloped in fog? Easy solution: Breathe, open-mouthed, on your lens. Quickly, take a number of shots as the “fog” dissipates! Trust me, it works!

8. Shooting Snow To Ensure It Appears White

One way to get your snow images to appear white, is to increase your exposure by 2 stops. Check the resulting images in your LCD and adjust accordingly. Alternatively, you can use a Gray Card, or meter off a blue sky.

9. Zoom in on Camera’s LCD to Check for Sharpness

This is good insurance to make certain your images are as sharp as possible. If they are not, ensure you are using your tripod and the mirror-up setting, and that your ISO and shutter speed are properly set.
Remember to pack food & drink, especially if you plan on being in a remote location for any length of time. It’s extremely difficult to concentrate on capturing some great images when you’re hungry and thirsty.

10. Practice & Never give Up

Practice, practice, practice – and never give up! One surefire way to not be a good landscape, nature photographer, is to give up. Practice, learn from your mistakes, learn new things – and have fun!!

 

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