Landscape Photography Vlogs

Build Confidence in your Camera Settings and Composition

I meet up with Paul G Johnson on location in the Lake District and we discuss how worrying about the camera settings is holding back creativity. We also do some landscape photography in this epic location.

Check out Paul’s channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE97FSS3fIeu89P70bCk4HQ

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I wanted to talk about camera settings, photography composition and technique today in response to last weeks video where I compared doing a handheld panorama to one on the tripod. I got hammered in the comments because of the technique I employed, mostly because I had not considered the nodal point and parallax. One person even stated it was a great example of how not to do a panorama. I found this a touch frustrating because I think many people have this backwards…..also, did you see my final image? I think it is one of the best panoramas I have taken, it looks great, it has printed beautifully and I am proud of the work.

Brothers Water

Landscape Photography

Ultimately landscape photography is the the opposite to maths. In school we were always taught to show your working and points were still scored even if the answer was wrong. In photography as long as the viewer is not being deceived the final image is all that counts; how you got there does not really matter. When I take a photograph the final image is more than just what was visible to my eyes at the time. It includes my emotional perspective and I am trying to induce that same feeling in the viewer once I present it. I want to tell a story of that moment. A technically perfect image, that is devoid of this creative, emotional element, will almost certainly be an image I am not interested in.

Place Fell

Photographers Lacking Confidence

Through my workshops I am often finding that photographers are seeking technical perfection way over discovering their own creativity and photographic personality. This is often is borne from worrying too much about the camera settings, with the assumption that we must all be technically perfect. It is nonsense. Great landscape images can be captured on a phone or any camera, whether they have filters attached or not. 

Ullswater Sunset

Ullswater Sunset

Exposure Triangle

Developing a basic understanding of the exposure triangle and how each one affects the elements of a landscape photograph is an important step. It is also one that will not be achieved without hard work. However once the work has been put in, no longer will they be worrying about the camera setting and lacking confidence. The camera becomes an extension of the photographer; a tool to express their creativity and share the single moment they have witnessed with all the emotions attached.

Landscape Photography | Being creative with camera settings

Take your landscape photographs to another level by employing creative camera settings to match the vision of the stunning scene in front of you. I head to the Lake District in this landscape photography vlog. 

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One thing I often find when running workshops is people are looking to be more confident with their camera. This comes from from having total understanding of the exposure triangle and the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO. It’s an important step in any photographers journey but once mastered, the camera becomes an extension of your body and an intuitive tool to create your art.

Conquering the camera settings - https://youtu.be/0uhG0HvjXGw

Aperture, shutter speed and ISO can all be used creatively to make the image match the artistic vision in the mind.

In landscape photography standard settings are to have an aperture between f/8 and f/16. We generally look to maximise the sharpness of the lens and also have the whole scene in focus. ISO will almost always be 100 to keep noise as low as possible and then we adjust the shutter speed to get the exposure nicely balanced. However these settings can be adjusted away from this norm to unlock creativity.

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Long Exposure Photography

Long exposure photography is when we extend the shutter speed to capture an illusion of movement in the image. Clouds become soft and streaky, water is smoothed out and light is captured at all points as it moves through the scene. The ethereal feel it can create is infectious and addictive. With the addition of ND filters the shutter speed can be extended to several minutes creating interesting and unique images.

Long Exposure tutorial - https://youtu.be/vKAu0IluyR4

ISO above 100

The reasons to increase ISO above 100 is the same with landscapes as it is with any other area of photography. It allow us to maintain or increase the shutter speed at a given aperture. We might want to do this for several reasons but one example is to allow us to shoot handheld landscapes. There is a lot to be said for taking handheld landscape even though a tripod is a staple of any landscape photographer. You catch more moments, photograph things you might not bother getting a tripod out for and it can create a really nice overall documentary of the day if the camera is always in hand.

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Another reason you might increase the ISO is reduce the amount of movement in the scene. IN the video I wanted movement in the water but not in the clouds. I knew a 2 second exposure was what I needed and an aperture of f16 was required for the depth of field. The addition of a 6 stop ND and ISO 500 achieved the exact shot I wanted. It can be used similarly to reduce the movement in grasses are shrubbery that is blowing around in the wind.

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Aperture

The main creative use of aperture is to control the depth of field. A nice shallow depth of field can take a portrait to the next level. It is not used very often in landscape photography although there is no reason why it should not be. With woodland photography it is often important to isolate a specific tree. Using a bigger aperture to blow out the background really helps to achieve this.

Aperture can also be used to help bump up the exposure time. If moving from f/8 to f/16 has little effect on the depth of field in your images it can be useful in reducing the light coming in meaning we can extend shutter speeds to increase exposure time. This is a good tactic when shooting the light trails from cars at night and means an ND filter is not required.

Overall it is about deciding first how you want the image to appear. This is often called visualisation and includes your feelings towards a scene as well as what is physically seen. It is then just a matter of using the camera settings to your benefit to make the image match your artistic vision.

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