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Taking Great Landscape Shots
Author: _Peter Horner

Copyright © 2006 Peter Horner

Whether captured on canvas with paint or on film with a camera, landscapes have always been a great artistic theme. We will always be inspired by the colour and infinite variety of nature and the landscapes around us. This article gives you useful tips for creating impressive landscape photographs, and you’ll learn how to make your pictures more striking.

Capturing the moment

Photography is about freezing a moment in time. You must make the most of the time that you have whilst you are out taking photos. If the weather is not right, use the time to explore the area, assess good viewpoints and work out what time of day will work best for the shot. Using a compass is invaluable in determining where the sun sets or rises, but remember that this changes with the seasons. Preparation and planning will help you to capture a successful photograph.

Composition

Keeping it simple and not cluttering the shot with too many elements is a good rule. By removing distractions from your photographs will help bring more prominence to your subject. It is also important to include some form of foreground interest, which may be your subject or it could be used to draw the eye towards the subject.

There is also a rule that will aid you in creating good composition, which is called the Rule Of Thirds. In photography, using this The Rule of Thirds keeps the main subject off centre, away from the middle of the frame. As a result, a photo looks more dynamic and interesting. Imagine your image divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines. Placing your subject where any of the lines intersect will help in producing a well-balanced image. But sometimes rules are there to be broken as well!

Focal Point

Without focal point the eye can sometimes wander around the frame unsure of where to look. The focal point is what drew your attention to the shot. It could be a tree, hill, building or boat but should hold the whole composition together. By giving your photograph a point of interest it will also help create a sense of scale.

Time of Day

The quality of light changes considerably during the day. At sunrise there are weak shadows and pastel colours. Atmospheric haze and pollution are also at their lowest.

After shooting sunrise the light becomes harsher and more contrasting. Colours are fully saturated and can be enhanced further by using a polarizing filter. Shooting with the sun behind you or to one side will usually work best for maximum colour.

By late afternoon or sunset the sunlight will create much warmer colours and subjects will benefit from strong side lighting. Shooting into the sun as it moves towards the horizon can also create stunning silhouettes. Making a silhouette with a sunset couldn’t be easier. Your foreground subject will usually automatically come out black in these conditions because the camera’s meter will underexpose when you are shooting towards a bright light source. Silhouettes can produce very strong eye catching images that will look great when blown up big and hanging on your wall.

Once the sun has set the dusk or twilight colours can still glow with warmth. After the sun has disappeared carry on taking pictures using long exposures and you will see the sky take on a dark blue tint.

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Peter Horner is an experienced landscape photographer who co-created the large format printing company DesignerPrint. Using digital printing technology DesignerPrint create canvas prints, block mounts, and poster prints. www.designerprint.co.uk



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