The photographer Jasminder Oberai shares quick tips and tricks to capture the landscape in better frames.
The first and foremost requirement of good landscape photography is light. One has to understand how light behaves and must be able to ‘see’ light. Nothing will work if the quality of light is not good. Light is the soul of your image and it will always be the differentiating factor between a dynamic or lifeless image.
Being There at the Right Time and Moment
Life of a studio photographer is a lot about f/8 and 1/125, but it’s a jungle out there for a landscape photographer. There is only one source of light i.e. the sun and that is what makes the life of a landscape photographer most challenging. You must keep in mind that light continuously changes in intensity throughout the day. The sun will rise and set at different angles and different times.
It is important to do homework before going for the shoot to ensure you do not get disappointed. Go through the weather forecast, find out exact time for sunrise and sunset and time your visit to perfection to maximize your chances for great shots. Missing the right moment makes you miss a great shot.
Understand your Camera
Apart from being able to see and understand light, you must also know your camera like the back of your palm. Light changes very fast and rarely does it give you sufficient time to fiddle around with your camera settings. If you are not familiar with your camera, you are going to miss that golden moment and it will show in your final output.
Master your Exposure
It is the key to good landscape photography. You must understand how meter works in different lighting situations. For instance, while clicking snow, the biggest challenge lies in camera’s metering system. Brightly lit and fresh snow is about 1.5 to 2 stops brighter than 18% grey which is what your camera meter expects to see. This will result in snow appearing grey in colour. You should compensate with putting your meter setting to +1/3 or +1 stop to make it look perfect white. However, be careful that it does not blow out the details from snow.
Play with Light and Shadows
Where there is light, there will be a shadow. Understand the play of light and shadow and chose your angle and composition carefully to bring out a nice contrasting relationship between the two. Presence of shadows adds depth to the image and they add life to otherwise dull and flat images if composed and exposed well. Take care to leave some details in shadow areas.
Clicking in the Twilight
It is one of the most interesting landscape photography techniques. Do not leave the scene after the sun has set. Instead, take out your tripod and shutter release to shoot most interesting landscape photographs. The low light landscape photography poses its own challenges but the results make the efforts worth every penny. The best time to shoot twilight landscapes are around half an hour before the sunset and may last around half an hour after the sunset. To get best results, minimize the chances of camera shake. Mirror lock option adds to the quality of image produced.
Panoramas Capture the Expanse
There is no better way to show the vastness of a stunning landscape. No wide angle lens can ever do justice. Keep the camera at the same level to shoot all pictures to be used for the final image. Overlap your images at least by 15% to 20%. Meter the entire scene manually to ensure proper exposure. Finally, do some post-processing before stitching the images to create the final panorama.
Compose it Well
To create an image that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, understand the rules of composition. It always helps in creating visually pleasing landscape images. Never put the horizon in center. Use Rule of thirds to place the horizon properly in your image. Leading lines take the eye of the viewer from one point to another, thus helping the viewer stay longer on the image.
Know the Rules to Break the Rules
Rules may give you a starting point, but they do not determine the ultimate effect of your image. Do not be afraid to break or ignore them. As in own words of the celebrated photographer Ansel Adams, “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs”
Published in Issue 13
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