Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mastering Landscape Photography

  When nature’s breath-taking landscape captivates us, our eyes could not get enough of it. The grandeur finds its niche in our brain and it triggers our imagination to re-live the magnificent view over and over again.
   In most cases our biological projector can play it back more vibrant and panoramic than the photos from our camera. Then the frustrating question pops up: Is it really possible to shoot landscape that is just as beautiful as you see it? The answer is a definite yes. And if you find it hard to believe, it will surprise you even more to know, that it is also possible to improve your landscape photos by simply playing with shadows and angles in your composition.
   When shooting a beautiful landscape, you must remember that the resulting photo will be viewed by your family and friends. (Some call it bragging, I call it sharing.) Imagine that you are getting paid millions of dollars for the shot by a hard-to-please client. This thought will evoke challenge. It will accelerate creativity and will awaken the sleeping artist in you. All of the compelling pictures of landscapes that you have seen in the past will flash before your eyes. These images in your head will work wonders in your photography. They are your inspirations and the driving forces in mastering Landscape Photography.
   Allow me to take you to a place on earth that has majestic mountains, rolling hills, lakes, waterfalls, rugged rocks and colorful flowers. This place has all the elements of a captivating landscape. Together, we will capture it in frame the way it captures our eyes.
   From where we stand, we begin by scanning the horizon in 360 degrees from left to right. By doing so, we get to envision the horizontal frame that isolates the winning shot. If you want to put a three dimensional feel to your landscape, a good foreground with exciting details like the rugged rocks, positioned on the side of the frame would be an eye-grabbing idea.
   To spice up the foreground, include a few of the colorful wild flowers. And for the main subject, the waterfalls or the hills would certainly fit the bill. The blue sky and the patches of white clouds in the background would most definitely accentuate the shot.
   Once the landscape we want has been established, we concentrate on it. We will keep in mind that the best way to present any landscape is in a horizontal frame, so we try to avoid vertical shots. We will set the lens in the widest angle available and the narrowest aperture that the metered light would allow in hand-held shots. Then, we emulate the artistic wisdom of the photographers who photographed the beautiful landscapes that we admire.
   Landscape photographers observe the Rule of Thirds, which means the main subject is not on dead center of the frame. This also means positioning the horizon on the lower third or the upper third of the frame, depending on the background or the foreground that is shown in the photo. These photographers pay close attention to details. They all have selective vision, eliminating distracting elements that ruin the view. Contrast and lighting are also their top priorities
   Just like them ,we are all capable of achieving postcard-quality shots. The only things that can possibly make it difficult are the weather conditions and the time of the day. Being at the right place but at the wrong time can cause grief to any serious photographer. And it is in this situation where patience, can be your greatest asset. Will you wait till the sun is out? And stay until it is in the right direction? Or will you come back another day for the perfect shot? What if you are a tourist who is just visiting from the other end of the globe? Today is the only chance you have and the tour bus is leaving in an hour. If you are like me, you will shoot it anyway and artistically manipulate it later with photo editing software. Who knows, maybe the photograph you so admired is also a product of computer magic.
   So, my friends, on your next trip whether it is local, across the border or overseas; dazzle us with your amazing landscape photographs.

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