How to improve your landscape photography – John Alexander Photography Online Courses

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“Driving to the location, I am late..obviously. I run down the slippery steps of the eastern coast of Guernsey, hoping the last rays of sun to transform the scene into a golden stream of loveliness that every photographer wants”.

Landscape Photography is obscenely frustrating. You can drive throughout the day, find the perfect location, drive the tripod legs into the exact spot you envisaged the day before, and wait for the sun and clouds to do its thing. Inevitably, 7/10 times the sun gets stuck behind a cloud and descends slowly below the horizon creating a drab, boring, grey blanket of miserableness.

Landscape Photography, despite what a lot of people think, is all about planning.

  • Looked for inspiration for locations within the area worthy of a photograph
  • Have a recce around the location beforehand, either the previous day or well before the light reaches its best (sunset/sunrise)
  • If it is a coastal shot, I will look at local tide tables to make sure my foreground is not underwater!

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  • No clouds and I will stay at home
  • Blanket of grey I will stay at home
  • Raining and no sign improvement I will stay at home
  • Light rain with sunny spells I am there!

Sun Orientation:

What kind of shot am I hoping for? Do I want a sunset shot? Do I want some golden afternoon sun side lighting the scene?

Shooting into the sun can only be done if the sun is not visible i.e behind a cloud or if the sun is just dipping over the horizon. Otherwise, you will find that they have sun flare issues (sun shining into your lens making it look unpleasant and well…crap)
Only when I have figured out all these variables will I go to a location and shoot a location. However, even if you planned all the above, you can still end up with rubbish, flat light.

If the light is dull, wait for twilight to arrive. Just before the light turns to complete black, a steely blue light arrives. If you have your white balance setting on daylight or the sun icon (which I do) you can still get beautiful pictures in this light.

Daylight white balance gives the true colour temperature of the light coming through the lens. If you look outside just before it gets dark you will see a blue tinge to the sky, your eyes have adjusted and cancelled out some of the blueness and make it less vivid (don’t ask me why). If you photograph this blueness you will find the camera does not cancel out the intense blue that is actually there.

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