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Camels in the sunset, Pushkar Camel Fair, India. © Beren Patterson. All Rights Reserved. Beautifully illustrated examples of how to take better landscape photographs. This site is clearly laid out with detailed explanations of how to get the photograph you want. Ansel Adams and the Westons work is not represented here.

Landscape Photography

Landscape is one of the easiest forms of photography to do reasonably as you often have time to think through your options of composition, lens, filters and so on. Obviously, to do this very well requires more skill, a good eye and some practice.

Composition is fundamental to taking a good landscape shot. Many people inadvertantly put the horizon in the middle of the photograph. This rarely looks good. Consider instead placing your subject and horizon using the 'Rule of Thirds'.

Light always play an important role in a landscape photograph and will completely change the mood of the image. By being a good observer of light at certain times of day you can predict light conditions. Remember these will be effected by the weather.

Skyscapes and Sunsets

Sunrise and sunset are some of the most beautiful times to photograph. But the contrast range between the sun, the sky and the horizon provide some special challenges.

The easiest way to get the exposure right for the sky is to aim the camera at the sky right next to the sun, without the sun actually being in the frame. If your camera has an Exposure Lock (sometimes called 'AE Lock') then hold this down while you re-compose the photograph and move the sun back into your frame. The horizon will become silhouetted, but you will get good detail in the cloud and colour range through the sky.

Borobadur, Indonesia. © Beren Patterson. All Rights Reserved.

Using Filters in Landscape Photography

There are a huge range of filters available. Good camera shops often have a selection 2nd hand of quality filters that can be worth looking through. Personally, the only filters, apart from UV filters that I carry are polarizers, and they get very little use. The most useful are:

UV & Skylight Filters - These filters should be on the front of all your lenses if you have an SLR camera. They slightly cut down the haze and blue light, but far more importantly they protect your lenses without changing the colour. Essential.

Polarizing Filters - are not a good all purpose filter but great for some landscape shots. Polarisers increase colour saturation, reduce reflections and haze, so can be especially useful for sunsets, rainbows, clouds, etc.

Graduated Filters - are filters that are darker or a different colour in one area than another. They can work well to balance extremes in contrast in a scene. For example, if your scene had an especially bright sky but you also wanted to capture some of the detail in the landscape you could use a graduated neutral density filter to darken the sky instead of a polarizing filter.

Common photographic terms explainedLinks to useful and interesting websites, books and DVDs