|Article Time Stamp: 06 October 2008, 21:41:52 GMT+7|
5 Tips For Better Landscape Shots
Only a handful of photographers have mastered the techniques to snapping awesome-looking landscape pictures that can tell stories of the places photographed. Ansel Adams was one of them, and he lived in an era when digital photography was non-existent. But the rules he used then still apply today for shutterbugs who wake before sunrise and trek up mountains just to capture the moment the sun peeks over the horizon.
We admit we're not early birds, but at least we have these tips and a wide-angle lens to snap decent landscape shots.
1. Golden hour
There's a reason some photographers strictly adhere to shooting only during the "golden hours", which is mornings and evenings. The light temperature is then warmer and the intensity not so harsh, casting a nice glow with long shadows to give a three-dimensional feel to the scene. If, like us, you often miss the first light, try shooting in the evening instead.
2. Position, position
Getting familiar with the area you're shooting in is a plus, and knowing where the light will fall at certain times of the day is a bonus. Although you will get a more even exposure with the sun behind you, try to avoid that — it will make your scene look dull and unflattering.
3. Highlights and shadows
The exposure for the sky and foreground often differs by a wide gap and most meters in point-and-shoots will be fooled into optimising the settings for the foreground which burn away the highlights in the sky. If your shooter has manual exposure mode or exposure compensation, try underexposing the scene by one stop to retain more information in the sky. It is better to lose shadow details than highlights.
4. Skies and clouds
It's beyond any mortal's control to determine where and when clouds appear. But when they do, there is a sense of depth to your picture and it makes the sky less boring, too. For a more intense-looking blue sky, attach a polarising filter if your lens can accommodate one. If not, most point-and-shoots allow you to tweak minor colour settings in the menu. So mix-and-match these settings for different results.
5. Silky waters
Waterfalls and streams are tricky elements to photograph. Although a tack-sharp shot looks nice, it doesn't represent fast-moving nature. If your shooter allows, reduce the shutter speed and use a tripod. With these settings, water will appear to be smooth and silky, thus making it more visually exciting. Alternatively, some point-and-shoots have scene modes for these situations. More often than not, they work well.
By Leonard Goh, CNET Contributor