Are you dreaming about shooting those magic landscapes that you see on the internet. If so, then please have a read here as I share some tips in planning your next landscape photography outing.
Shooting the best landscape images is more than just being in the right place at the right time, there is lots of planning involved. sometimes this begins months in advance to make sure you are there at the right time, of course this could mean that the so called right time is not the perfect time and you need to wait another year or month to get the right conditions for the image you have in mind. If you battle with patience, the I highly recommend that you teach yourself to be more patient , because if you can not be patient you will battle with perfecting the shooting of landscapes. In many cases the same spot needs to be shot a couple of times before you finally get that one cracker image we all chase and dream about.
Where to start?
Well that is a good question. It will depend on the subject you want to shoot. If you know you are going to visit a particular holiday destination and would like to go out and capture something nice, i would recommend you start with google. I would google the attractions of a specific town or place. This will give you a good idea of where to start. Some places has many attractions, so it will all boil down to how much time you have, how many of the things do you actually want to shoot, how many of the items are actually worth shooting and then off course the weather. The same would go for if you are planning a trip around shooting landscapes. I am currently planning a trip to Namibia and when choosing locations it is vital that you know where you want to go and what you want to shoot.
How to get there and shooting time
Getting to the location that you want to shoot is vital. You must know what to prepare for. No point in just putting on slipslops and shorts and when you get there you must hike up a steep embankment to get to the location with the view you have in mind. Doing that will result in your excursion not being too much fun and you probably wouldn’t give your best effort for the best shot. When its possible, i would highly recommend you to take a day and scout the area you want to shoot. Its much easier to look for a path or trail in the day than it is to look for it after dark or before the sun has risen. Once you have found your way to the location that you want to shoot from, take a couple of cellphone pictures. My iPhone gets used for this all the time. This will also give you a good idea of the final image and the point of view you will have.
With this app you can work out the exact direction of your sunrise and sunset, also the exact time the sun will peek over the horizon or dip below it…. So, once you have your location where you are going to shoot from, now comes the use for this app. Its based on google maps and here you can drop a pin on the location you choose and it will give you the directions of the sunrise and sunset for that point! Pretty awesome! You can also save locations that you might discover via google earth and then once you plan your trip you can just go back to those markers and view the data. Another thing is that you can look ahead to a date and see what the sunset time etc will be, also the direction of the sun and everything. It really is a vital part of a good landscape photographers planning.
Next is checking the weather, and you will need to know your weather to predict the right conditions to get the best light and create your best image possible. There is a magnitude of mobile apps for the weather out there, but i don’t trust many of them. The most reliable site for weather is www.yr.no It is a norwegian website that is the most accurate i have seen. As with all weather sites, your best bet is the 3 day forecast, but the 7 day forecast will help you get an idea of what might be coming. The other site i use to have a look at the cloud cover is windguru, there you will get a good idea of what level the clouds will be at. Cloud levels all have different effects on the light, so best is get to know them and what they could possibly yield while out shooting.
Gear and clothing
Your gear is probably the most important part of shooting landscapes. I am not going to argue about Canon vs Nikon, both systems are equally great and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. I shoot Canon and its a system i enjoy using and so far it has given me excellent service in the field.
I usually don’t like to travel to heavy. I will keep the amount of stuff i carry with me to a minimum. Travel light and fast, you don’t want to miss that crucial few seconds of golden light. Normally i would carry with me my Canon 6D, 17-40 wide angle lens, 70-200 f4 zoom lens, my tripod and my LEE Filters. If i have that i can go shoot. Other vitals is also a cable release, extra battery and extra memory cards. I would also have with me a cloth for cleaning lenses and filters, a headlamp, for when it gets dark and a bottle of water.
Clothing is normally long trousers made of quick dry material, quick dry long sleeve shirt, hat and hiking boots. Obviously you will not take the hiking boots to the beach when shooting seascapes, but the long sleeves and trousers are very important. It will help you against sunburn and being scratched or stung by bushes and things like blue bottles at the sea. Also it will take longer for a tick to find a fleshy part to attach itself. FACT: i am more scared of ticks than snakes. The odds of being bitten by a snake is 1 in a million, but there is a 99,99% chance of picking up an infected tick while out in the field, a friend of mine was bed ridden for a week and almost hospitalized after being bitten by a tick on a shoot that we did in the Karoo so be warned!
Wearing the right shoes will make your hiking much more comfortable. Like i said earlier no point in getting there and you only have slip slops and having to walk up a steep bank to get the angle that you want. So invest in a pair of decent boots.
There you have it, some of the very basic information you would need to plan your next Landscape Photography trip.
If you feel this was helpful, then please share with your friends. Shares is so welcome and don’t forget to leave a comment for me, even if it is something that you think I might have left off of something to add to one of the excising points.