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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Special Techniques For Landscapes

Excerpted from Rob Sheppard’s new book, The Magic of Digital Landscape Photography

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Joshua Tree National Park, Calif. Most DSLRs give you the ability to shoot in black-and-white, which gives you a chance to see the results on the LCD in the field.

In Outdoor Photographer, you’ve learned core techniques to use while photographing the landscape: exposure, depth of field, use of lenses, composition and more. There are also some special techniques that can make for most interesting landscape photographs, including black-and-white, panoramics, HDR and infrared.

All but HDR were available for film shooters, but they were difficult to use. Digital changes all of this and makes them easier and better used by any photographer. These techniques have become very important to photographers interested in landscape work, so I’m going to give an overview of all of them, so hold on tight!

Eastern Sierra Nevada, Calif. This image was converted to black-and-white from an original color photo, which gave Sheppard maximum control over the tonality.
Black-and-white is definitely a whole different world than color. Sometimes you have to forget what you know about photographing in color. Plus, color photos can look great in weather conditions that are bad for black-and-white, but also, black-and-white photos can be made quite nicely in conditions that are bad for color.

Here are some ideas to help:
1 Look for tones and their differences, not color. This is really key to black-and-white. Colors aren’t going to help. Look for distinct differences in brightness of tones.
2 Base your composition on tonal differences. Contrasts between tones can help define and structure your composition.
3 Work with dramatic light. Photographers are often disappointed in muddy black-and-white images that can come from dull light. While dramatic light isn’t a necessity for black-and-white, it can help.
4 Pay no attention to color except as it translates to shades of gray.
5 Try squinting. Believe it or not, if you squint, you’ll see less detail of a scene and more of the distinct tones that will become blacks, whites and grays.

Getting To Black-And-White
Today, you have two excellent ways of going black-and-white when you have a digital camera. Many cameras allow you to shoot black-and-white directly.


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