Landscape Photography is what I like the most, you can find a good picture anywhere if you go to the country side. This is where a tripod is a piece of equipment you are going to need the most. I have heard that for a good landscape you need something at the bottom of the picture, the middle, and the top, but I also heard if you like the picture in the view finder then take the shot. I found that photographing a lake usually makes a good picture when you have some of the hillside or mountains with it.
Another piece of equipment you need on a sunny day is a polarizing filter. This filter will get rid of the reflections on the water, in the pictures above you can see that I did not use the filter, and you can see a lot of reflections. The filter will only work if the sun is at the side of you, it will not work when the sun is facing you. You can also use an N.D filter[ Neutral Density filter ] to flatten the water. The polarizing filter is not only for use on water it can also get rid of reflections on glass windows, metal, and basically any surface giving of reflections from the sun. Next time you are out on a sunny day put your sunglasses on and off, and see the difference.
Another good thing about landscape photography is it can give you a lot of exercise, and fresh air. The lens best suited for landscape is a wide angle lens, this is so you can get as much as you can in your pictures. A prime lens is a lens that you cannot zoom in with, it has a fixed aperture which means that you will have to do the walking to get the image that you want. A zoom lens however is a great help, no need for all that walking, but with the zoom lens you will have to set the aperture yourself. I usually set mine to 16, and if you have an lcd screen then you can check that all the picture is in focus, but do not forget the higher aperture setting the longer the exposure setting must be.
Landscapes are not just pictures of lakes, and fields you also have buildings. To the left is a stone built bridge, and a stone built Dam that also make good pictures. You also have things like castles, and stone buildings, but be carefull what you post to the Internet, I was told that if nobody is living in the property then it is probably ok. I bet a lot of us would not like our homes on the Internet pages.
When you find a nice view that you want to capture setup your tripod and get what you want to capture in the view finder. Then either use auto mode on your camera or select manual mode, I think the manual mode is the one to use because this is the only way you will get the best picture you want, plus this is the way you will learn about the settings on your camera. Now set your camera aperture. The lower the aperture setting the more the background of your picture will be out of focus, this is called the Bokeh. The higher the number to more of the image will be in focus. Every lens has a sweet spot, you can find this in the manual that came with the lens or google it to find out. My lens has a sweet spot at f8 so this is where I take the first shot, then I will use the camera view screen to view the photo, and zoom in the corners and see if they are in focus, if not the I will up the f8 setting to about f10 then try again then check again by zooming in to the picture, and if I have to I will chang the setting again until I am happy.
Everything in focus
There are 2 types of lenses you can use for landscapes and they are Zoom lenses and Prime lenses. When you use a prime lens you loose the ability to get closer by zooming in with the lens, the prime lens cannot zoom it is fixed, this means leg work is needed so you will have to keep looking through the view finder, and walk until you see the image you want. The zoom lens gets rid of most of the walking because we can just zoom in to get the picture we want. The prime lens will give a nice crisp image from all the corners and centre of the picture. You can achieve this with a zoom lens but you do need a decent lens to get the picture you want. I use a Canon zoom L lens 24:105mm for nearly all my photography. Remember to always use your tripod when you can even if you think your arms are steady enough for the camera, you will be surprised how much movement there will be. Please see the filters page to see what the best filters you can use.
What Lens to use
The image to the right was taken on a fast running river. The day was nice and sunny, and the wind was low. I used a 6 second shutter speed at f8 And was able to make the water look Smokey by using the exposure times, I used a 6 second exposure. You can experiment with different exposures, a lower exposure will give a more realistic water flow, and a higher exposure will make it a bit more Smokey. Don’t forget if you use a longer exposure then you will have to raise the aperture setting, and use a lower setting for taking faster exposure. If you look closely to the leaves in the top left corner, you can see they are a bit blurry, this is because I should have used a faster shutter speed.
Make water Smokey
You can flatten the surface of water by using long exposure settings. First try a setting of about 6 seconds on f16 and see what picture you get. You might get away with not having to use an ND Filter if the water is fairly calm. But if you want to flatten the waves on the sea like the picture on the right then you will need the Nd filter. You need a lot of patients, the time it takes to take the shot and saving it to the memory card takes a minute. Then if you are not happy with the shot then you have to try again with different settings.
When changing the aperture you have to take into account the amount of light that will enter the camera sensor. If you use a low aperture setting for example ( f4 ) you will let a lot of light onto the sensor,and if you use a higher setting of f10 you will be letting a smaller amount to the sensor. When using the higher setting you may have to have a longer shutter speed.