Tuesday, April 5, 2011
10 Tips For Brilliant Landscapes
To get your best shots, follow the light
My motto is “work smarter, not harder.” A smart light chaser learns a thing or two about the weather and how it relates to catching great light to be in the right place at the right time. Although each location has its own local weather patterns, here are a few general guidelines. Partly to mostly cloudy skies give you the best chance of colorful sunsets and sunrises. When clouds have separation, light can break through the gaps to produce stunning results, even when cloud cover is significant. The best time to catch great light is when a storm is clearing, especially at sunrise or sunset. Remember, all you need is a tiny gap at the horizon, right where the sun is rising or setting, to set fire to an otherwise completely cloudy sky. Online weather services and smartphone apps help immensely when you’re trying to position yourself to take advantage of promising conditions, especially if they offer hour-by-hour forecasts and satellite maps showing cloud movement over time. Nothing, however, beats simply being on location: The worst feeling in the world is to walk away from a scene when conditions seem bleak, only to have the sky light up with beautiful color.
9 Create Visual Flow
A click of the camera shutter captures a slice of reality, plucking a moment from the living world and suspending it for all time. Sometimes, though, photographs can appear static and lifeless. The best photographers resist this tendency of still capture and instead strive to impart a sense of motion, energy and life to their pictures. “Visual flow,” as I like to call it, is a way of creating the illusion of three-dimensional perspective and dynamic motion in a two-dimensional static capture. Getting the viewer’s eye to move through the photograph is your goal—an image that captures the eye and doesn’t let go is one that will engage a viewer’s interest over and over again. Certain compositions and shapes help create visual flow. Curves can give a scene elegance and harmoniously unify a composition. Zigzags create energy by forcing the eye back and forth. Circles and arcs trap the eye, whereas lines and triangles point and lead. Powerful compositions also can be made by using a repetition of shapes. Your goal is to take viewers on a visual journey. Constantly seek ways to capture the dynamic essence of nature and engage the viewer’s eye, leading it to the most important elements in your photographs.
10 Rise Early, Stay Up Late—Trade Sleep For Light
This one is so fundamental as to be axiomatic. Successful nature photographers don’t get much sleep because the best light—the kind of light that dazzles viewers—occurs at the edges of the day. During the so-called “magic hours” around sunrise and sunset, the sun is low on the horizon and filtered through atmospheric particles that scatter blue light and allow warm light, such as reds, oranges and yellows, to pass through. The result is the beautiful colors we’re used to seeing at sunset and sunrise, which are the bread-and-butter of pro nature photographers. This may seem obvious, but it never ceases to amaze me how many photographers simply refuse to drag themselves out of bed in the morning. When you’re in the field, commit fully to being on location to chase the light—even if it means you lose some sleep.
Page 3 of 3
Get 11 Issues of Outdoor Photographer for only $14.97!
That's 77% off the cover price!