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We’re lucky enough to have some of the most beautiful scenery in the world in the UK, but taking great landscape shots that capture the beauty of a location isn’t often easy: as with most things in life, practice makes perfect.
Make sure you’ve got a camera with a decent wideangle lens. Although some compacts do offer wide-angle attachments, your best bet is to go with a DSLR and a good lens, as that also enables you to use filters to enhance your shots. One of the single most important pieces of equipment a landscape photographer can have (aside from a tripod of course) is a circular polariser. These
filters only allow rays of light through that are vibrating on a particular plane, meaning that, with a quick twist of your filter, you can rid your shots of unwanted glare and reflections on water, glass and other non-metallic surfaces, as well as deepening blue skies and making fluffy white clouds really ‘pop’. Circular polarisers also saturate colours, livening up foliage and adding to the overall impact of your image. Keep your aperture small (by selecting a number of f/8 or larger) to increase your depth of field, so you keep foreground and background detail in focus. Also ensure that you set your white balance according to lighting conditions; if it’s lovely and bright like this shot, set it to Sunny, but if it’s dull and grey, setting your white balance to Shade or Cloudy will help to warm things up a bit.
Use this type of filter to deepen blue skies, make fluffy white clouds really stand out and to reduce unwanted reflections on water and glass surfaces. Be sure to choose a circular polariser, as a linear one can disrupt the metering and AF systems in DSLRs
If shooting manually or in Aperture Priority mode, set your camera to use a small aperture (a bigger number) in order to increase your depth of field. When shooting landscapes, it’s best to use a smaller aperture, to keep a greater number of elements in focus in your photograph
Look for lines created by objects that help to lead the observer’s eye into the frame. In this shot, the path leads the viewer’s eye right up to the main point of interest in the frame: the lighthouse. When shooting your own landscapes, look for the same effect created by walls, paths and natural arrangements of rocks and shrubs
Although a crystal-clear blue sky looks fantastic when you’re out enjoying the sunshine, it can end up looking rather dull and flat in photographs. Using filters to liven things up a bit can help, but you’d be amazed what a difference the odd fluffy cloud can
make. Clouds add interest to skies, and are worth looking out for when composing your shots
Rule of Thirds
Keep your shot nicely balanced by sticking to the Rule of Thirds. Use your camera’s in-built grid system to help you, or use your imagination to draw lines that divide your composition up into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. By placing elements in your
shot on the points where these lines intersect, you’ll produce a well-balanced shot that the human eye can ‘read’ very easily
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Debbis passionate about all things photographic: from the latest digital kit to the greatest techniques to capture a scene. Shes been at the helm of the photography portfolio of magazines, websites and more for three years.
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