Golden Hour Landscapes
FAPOS: Fine Art Photo Op Stops
We all have seen beautiful landscape pictures of the desert with wild cacti, sunsets that make you melt, and mountains with snowy tops. My favorite thing about Landscape Photography is: there are multiple things you can capture to take a beautiful picture. For example, you can try different angles or you can focus on a flower that is bloomed on a cactus within the desert! Landscape photography basically captures the beauty of any scene. It can include the beauty within a landscape as well. Capturing Landscapes as easy to do! Here are some tips that will help you capture the best, amazing and cool Landscape that you desire to capture:
1. Equipment: A tripod and a wide angle lens are excellent tools. I also like to have a warming Circular Polarizer or ND filter to allow for longer exposures. This can give you the sweeping clouds/waterfalls in daylight by slowing the shutter down to blur the clouds/water. These filters will help prevent overexposed skies and give you the same effect as HDR, without as much trouble or crazy results. A polarizing filter will help remove reflections on water and make skies more vivid.
3. Bracketing: Set up your 2-second timer and bracketing: 3 frames 2 stops apart. By bracketing, you will ensure to get the right exposure, so you can mask two different exposures if needed. Or you can try HDR, as long as you are careful not to let things get too surreal.
4. Picture Control: Adjust your in-camera settings to reduce post-production editing. Just increase your sharpness and saturation until you get the desired effect. Open your Menu, and look for Picture Control or Picture Style. Increase your Sats by two notches and try bumping up your Sharpness to the second highest level. However, don’t forget to turn down your sats to normal when shooting portraits.
5. Light: Lighting is everything! I shoot ninety percent of my best fine art images at sunrise and sunset. Many pros tell stories that National Geographic and others will not even consider images unless they are taken within an hour or a sunrise or sunset.
6. Focus: You must have tack-sharp images, so a sturdy tripod is a must, along with stopping down your aperture to f/16 – 22. Be sure to lock your focus about one-third of the way into your image depth. At f/16 – /22, the camera will do the rest. Take a test shot and then zoom in on your LCD, to check for focus.
7. Composition: Remember the rule of thirds and the golden ratio to get the most pleasing composition. Look for leading lines and the triangular composition. Try to avoid centering your horizon line.
8. Sun flares: You can get some sick “sunbursts” at f/22, but they will vary with different lenses. My favorite fine art lens is the 16-35mm!
9. Foreground: When possible, remind yourself to try a position that will put something interesting in the foreground. Dave Black may say “If you want to make something look interesting, only light part of it.” But I say, “If you want a beautiful fine art image, place something in the foreground.”
10. Low angle: Try varied angles. For example, drop your tripod down to the lowest possible angle for a unique vantage point. this will also help you get a more interesting foreground like flowers, grass, fences, etc.
Get out today and capture the beauty around you!