(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!!