Quick and Easy Way to Taking Better Landscapes


Many of you have recently expressed (well not many of you, one to be exact) that my last posting, the one about lenses, was a bit wikipedieshly boring. This leads me to conclusion that technical "mumbo jumbo" might not be your forte and that you might enjoy yet another "quick and easy" sort of lesson.  This of course doesn't mean I won't write about technical complexities of today's digital imaging environment in the future. It just means that this lesson will provide the most simple advice that can be simply executed.  So all of you out there brace yourself and here we go.

In order to take better landscape shots, set your camera on Aperture Priority (turn your dial mode to A).  Set your aperture to f/11 or f/16 (smaller aperture might be needed). Keep you tripod handy. As you narrow the aperture opening, smaller amount of light will be able to enter therefore the shutter will have to stay open longer. In order to preserve sharpness of the image, you will have to stabilize it on a tripod. If you don't have a tripod, you can use a rock or some sort of object where you can place your camera. You can always try your luck by pressing your arms against your body, holding your breath and keeping camera as steady as possible.
For landscape shots it is best to use wide angle lens.  This will allow you to focus on a close object (if needed) and still capture much of the background.  Use these close objects/subjects as composition tools for your landscape image.  Remember don't place any object from the foreground in dead center.  Also, keep horizon line below or above the middle.
Ideally, you would want to shoot during the so-called magic hours near sunrise or sunset.  This particular timing will allow for directional lighting. Directional lighting adds shadows to the images, creating texture and separation between elements.
Pay attention to the sky. Clouds can add drama and great compositional value to your image.
Don't forget to set your ISO according to available light. Keep it as low as you can in order to avoid noise.

Depending on the light in your scene (or if there is a waterfall you want to photograph) you might have to go entirely manual.  Again, this is for the quick and easy lesson and in no way do I consider myself to be an expert on the subject.  In lessons to come I will try to go into detail about shooting 100% in Manual mode.
Thanks for reading.