Sunday, July 20, 2008

Landscape Photography

I bolted from my bed to my computer early this morning. How early I don't know, but it was early. Early enough for the coyotes to be heard howling in the distance. Early enough to feel deprived of coffee. Early enough to stumble over the cat. She still won't speak to me. But I had to write out my idea before it escaped me. Perhaps you understand what I mean. Or maybe you don’t.

In any event it was all about landscape photography. I had a dream about it. Something called "sweet light." It was so curious I had to do a little research. Then I dug deep and found this wonderful article by Amy Renfrey.

Amy is a photographer/teacher and wrote the article that I'd been dreaming about. Now isn't that a chance event. The article is called Landscape Photography at Dawn and Dusk.

Read Amy's tips and tricks on "sweet light" landscape photography.

Landscape Photography at Dawn and Dusk

By Amy Renfrey

Many photographers find that they produce dramatic and unusual landscape photographs during the twilight and sunrise hours. This period of the day sees amazing color in the sky, sharply drawn shadows and silhouettes and the angle of the sun, or the moon, casting unique light across a scene.

There are also moments outside of the dawn and dusk hours that many photographers refer to as having the same “sweet light” or the natural light as just before sunset, and immediately after sunrise. However this “sweet light” is usually only available during certain weather conditions when natural light is rapidly changing, giving an object or an entire scene a certain radiance or added dimension that are not normally present around it. For example, heavy black storm clouds in front of the camera lens, with intense sunshine coming from behind the photographer. This is a moment of “sweet light” and high photographic drama.

One of the primary reasons that a photographer will set out to capture landscapes at these extreme hours is because the unusual set or angle of the sun reveals unusual textures and formations to elements of a scene. The brilliant light of day may greatly illuminate a broad expanse of land and sky, but this may not produce an artistic or unique view of the scene, and the brilliance of the sun may wash out patterns, depth and characteristics to the landscape.

Most landscape photography is done with a wide-angle lens, and a camera set at a smaller aperture, or f-stop, to increase the depth of the field. This can still apply to dusk and dawn photography, but the low lighting will require a longer exposure. Because of this most dawn and dusk images are taken from a tripod. Some photographers will also rely on certain filters to cool or warm the sunlight in the image. Photographers must remember that taking an image directly into the sun places everything else in the landscape image into silhouette or shadow.

For clarification, landscape photography requires a few basic pieces of equipment:

  • A very wide lens such as a zoom like a 12-24mm, which most landscape artists consider necessary to accurately catch the images. An intermediate zoom such as a 24-120mm with f/3.5-5.6 variables can also work well.
  • Tripod of adjustable heights, light enough in weight to be easily transported or carried with the photographer, but not so light as to topple over.
  • Trigger cable – many photographers like to have access to a trigger cable to prevent any camera shake from ruining their well-arranged shots.
  • Assorted filters to add emphasis to scenes or to alter light, and these can include polarizing, graduated, neutralizing or even soft focus filters.

Landscape photography at the dawn and dusk hours can give a photographer incredible results and the joy of experiencing a beautiful hour of the day or evening.

As always to your success,

Amy Renfrey

Digital Photography Success

Make sure to click the link above to discover more of Amy Renfrey's insider secrets on landscape photography.

Chat with you soon again.

To your joy, to your happiness, to your success,

The Photo-Genie