Light is one of the key factors in landscape photography and plays an important part in making a successful image. The way the scene is lit and from which direction, determines its mood and appearance and although goodcomposition is needed to hold the picturetogether, the light can make or break the final picture.
The classic time for the perfect landscapephotograph is the one hour after sunrise or before sunset. This is when the light is at its best and only a great view is needed to make the most of it. The time of day at which this magical light appears obviously varies throughout the year. During winter this will be around 8am in the morning and 4pm in the afternoon. Whereas in summer, it can be as early as 6am in the morning and around 8pm in the evening. Despite these time differences, the premise is the same and the quality of the light is at its best in these two windows of time. That is not to say however, that the rest of the day should be seen as time-out to put your feet up and relax. Oh, no! You can still make use of every hour in the day to make great images, you just have to change your style and approach to make the use of each hour.
Ennerdale Water, Lake District. Canon 5D, 17-40mm, taken at 12.30pm
This is usually the time that the landscape photographer can take a break and get something to eat or catch up on some sleep after the early rise. But, if you keep changing your approach, then you can still take some excellent photographs. As the sun is now at its highest point in the sky, colour saturation is reduced, so look for strong colours to compensate. A polariser will have little effect now, so you are relying on the strong colours of nature to make up for this. The landscape will look flat and have little definition, so look for strong shapes as well. You could use the suns glare to shoot silhouettes and shimmering highlights across views of lakes and rivers. Fluffy cumulus clouds appear in the sky, which will help break up the almost whitening of the sky at this time and these can convey that typical summers day look to an image.
You can read more about shooting landscapes at different times of the day in my eGuide ‘All Day Landscapes’, available as part of an e6 subscription or to purchase separately. www.e6subscription.co.uk
I’ve recently sold all my Canon full-frame camera gear and so now I only shoot with one system, Micro Four-Thirds. This is the first time in a long while that this has been the case. When shooting with medium format, I also had 35mm kit. When I switched to digital, I also used a Fuji 617 panoramic camera. For the last few years, I’ve been using both digital full-frame and M43, so it’s quite a change to have just one system now. However, it does consist of both a zoom and prime lens set-up, to suit different shooting situations, so I’m still sort of keeping that multi-combination aspect even now! Continue reading
The fourth and final part of this feature on well-known photography quotes…
“A good photograph is knowing where to stand”– Ansel Adams (Landscape photographer)
Another thought provoking quote from Adams and this one points at the art of composition. Having a great subject and light for that matter too, is no good if you don’t know how to use it within the frame of the picture to maximum effect. Even with a glorious landscape view in front of you, standing in the right place to capture it, can be the difference between a good picture and an amazing one. A landscape image should be divided into foreground, midground and background and each is used to take the viewer on a ‘journey’ through the image. Continue reading
Some more famous quotes to inspire your photography…
“If you are out there shooting, things will happen for you. If you’re not out there, you’ll only hear about it”. – Jay Maisel (American photographer famous for his images of Miles Davis and Marylin Monroe)
A warm, comfy bed is a place we all enjoy and leaving one on a cold, winters morning to head out into the landscape, is one of life’s hardest tasks. In photography, you can only take an image if you make the effort to get out there. It’s no good seeing an inspiring sunrise from the bedroom window and whilst on some days the weather doesn’t turn out as forecast, the experience and potential for images while being out there, will enrich your photography. Continue reading
My own creative work seems to be taking priority at the moment and its been a while since I was out in the landscape shooting with my Canon digital SLR. My camera of choice of late has been the fantastic Olympus OMD. This miniature marvel is a joy to use (and easily breaks too if you drop in on concrete, which I did within three months of purchase!) and the lenses available for it are both superb and pin sharp. My kit bag for it is tiny and featherweight compared to my Lowepro for the Canon gear, though with the amount of lenses I keep buying for the Olympus, I may need a standard large rucksack to keep them all in! Continue reading