You see an interesting subject, you take a photo.
Do you take time to explore the subject?
how do you figure you have the best possible composition?
How many photos of the same subject are enough?
Some you can answer accurately some answers are vague. Based on your audience, based on the time you have and many such factors you can answer these questions.
The above three image are pretty much the same in nature yet have different perspective, they are shot both in landscape and portrait. And the subject are aligned slightly differently in every composition.
The above two were shot using a telephoto lens. I zoomed in and out to isolate my subjects. In one I used the beach as the leading line to the tree. In the other I zoomed in to the tree and isolated it from any distractions.
The two above are shot at the Parliament Hill in Ottawa, CA. I used a wide angle lens (Sigma 10-20mm). The lens distortion in itself created these two different images.
My Ideal choice for landscape photograph is a wide angle lens like a Sigma 10-20mm or may be even a Nikor 18-50mm. However there is no hard and fast rule that you need to use such lenses all the time for the landscape shots. Sometimes you need to look further, probably because the colors in the sky are changing fast and you can’t run to a good spot fast enough. May be sometimes you want to close in to a composition which would make more sense in a tight crop. Depending on whatever your reasons are don’t be afraid to use a telephoto lens.
In the Image above you can see I don’t have a great composition. So I decided to switch the lens to a Nikor 70-300mm and composed the shot below taking in to consideration now the curve you see in the center and the tree at the end of the curve line. (marked by a red arrow.)
And then I walked up to the spot on the right to get another perspective and got the shot below.
Give it a try.. and let me know how it went .. 🙂
The top advise you would get from the pros is to shoot a landscape during the Golden Hours. This makes a lot of sense because during that time you get soft light, deep colors at the horizon, and on a cloudy day you get more dramatic results. One may not always be in a good location during the sunset or the sunrise, and that time the light can really be very harsh, thus resulting in not so exciting images.
Having said that you can still tame the light to a good extent, and make some good images. A few things I do to get the image I want during the day light are:-
a. Use a ND Filter (I use . 6 and have 2 of them, you get .10 as well)
b. I aim to shoot B&W if possible.
c. HDR – this s a very good technique and there are plenty of tools in the market like Photomatix, Oloneo, etc. I prefer to use HDR efex pro. I like it mainly because it has plenty of presets and I personally don’t like over the top surreal looking images and this tool helps me keep my image as real as possible. Also check out Jay Patel’s iHDR technique.
d. Shoot subjects if they are under shadow of a bigger object.
e. Always shoot with very low exposure, its easy to retrieve image in post processing specially if you shoot in RAW.
Here are a few examples :-
Yosemite again, if you have been here you know the waterfall. There was a large overcast on the fall from the side walls, I zoomed in using my Telephoto making sure not to get any part with sunlight falling on it.
The image above is of Katerskill Falls in NY. I waited for the Clouds to cover the Sun, giving me a few seconds to take this shot while there was a small overcast.
So, the question is that how many photographs of the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge are enough?
For me its not enough yet. I have yet see it drench in dense clouds, and that’s my dream shot . The images above are in reverse chronological order shot with Nikon D7000, D90, D60 and a Canon point and shoot.