By Nathan Wotkyns
Here are a few tips to getting more out of landscape photos. First off, I equate landscape photography to fishing, the first & last hours of light are usually the best times to get great light, and the other is patience. Many times conditions will change rapidly and waiting around can make the difference between getting the shot or getting skunked (the latter happens more often than not to me), but when I get that shot it can be very gratifying. Weather plays another important role in this, I recommend getting out when the weather can be at its worst, notice what happens to red rock when it becomes saturated with water? The color in those rocks takes on a more dramatic color. The clouds make a landscape! Ever look at the wonderful landscape paintings of Maynard Dixon, Kim Whitesides, or Roland Lee, they all have terrific skies! So keep your eye out for stormy weather, they will add another element of interest in a photograph.
For camera technique, there are a few basic techniques that can help create great looking landscape images. The first would be composition, I like to find an object of interest to place in the foreground, this will add depth to the scene (you want images that the viewer can wander through as if they were standing there). The other would be correct exposure and metering, this is where a digital camera is a great learning tool. Southern Utah’s landscape can be challenging because of the contrast between skies and dark canyons, by using exposure compensation, you can underexpose (Camera permitting) to reclaim the highlight detail in those important clouds, while still being able to pull detail out of the shadows. HDR is another aspect of digital photography that can be helpful in those situations. Landscape photography is in many ways like portrait photography. You are looking for that one shot that best captures the magic moment; patience will be your best tool in getting great images. I Hope these tips help out! There are some great websites that cover all aspects of Landscape photography, one of the best is Michael Reichmann’s “luminous-landscape.com” there is a ton of great information, technique, and ideas on getting great landscapes there. You’ve won half the battle by living in one of the most beautiful places in the world; the other is simply getting out there and having fun with your camera!