Article and photos by Melodie Yvonne Ramey
I was approached recently by one of my beautiful cousins wanting to use me as a resource for her upcoming report on photography. Specifically she wanted tips on landscape photography. Things like this always tickle me so much because I’m thinking, “Why the hell would anybody care about the babbling that spews outta my mouth?!” Then logically I go on an egotistical trip for the next few days about how I am the most badass knowledgeable photographer in the universe, and how I was probably a gladiator in a former life, but I digress. Somewhere in the middle of my self-loathing and egoism there actually is a down-to-earth place where my good sense lives. This calm in the middle of the storm is where I realize that I might really not be a modern-day Merlin, but I might actually know what I’m doing. I’ve got some decent photography skills, and I’ve got 39 years of the much coveted “street smarts” that everyone hears so much about. Knowledge without good sense, though, is worthless like a hooker without condoms, so if I’m to give any kind of advice it simply must include both. Now, without further ado, I bring you my compilation of landscape photography tips including the few my cousin needed plus a couple more that I have culminated from a lifetime of not just schooling, but also, hopefully, good sense.
- Do a bit of research before you go. What kind of area are you going to? You will probably have to park and walk a little. Are you hiking? Make sure you have the proper gear for the terrain for you and your camera such as forgoing your normal camera bag for something more appropriate like a backpack.
- Dress comfortably yet safely. What will the weather be like? Has it been raining? Is it going to rain? Do you need slip resistant shoes? You want to keep you and your camera protected. Consider getting weather proof protection for both you and your best friend like wearable rain gear for your camera.
- In traditional landscape photography you want to maximize your depth of field. This means making as much of your scene in focus as possible. Do this by choosing a small aperture setting (a large number f-stop). The smaller your aperture (or larger your number) the greater the depth of field in your shots. Remember, though, that smaller apertures mean less light, and possible slowing your exposure (shutter speed).
- Play with shutter speeds and slow exposures to capture water movement in a body of water or even wind in the trees to really make a scene come alive. Use a tripod for a steadier hand, or consider using the self-timer or a cable release to further minimize movement.
- Look at the scene from a different point of view. If every photographer and tourist is in one spot go to another. Climb up that hill a little bit. Lay down on the ground. Play with a zoom lens. You might see something no one else ever finds.
- Mother Nature is phenomenal, but don’t just box yourself into only traditional landscapes. Sometimes manmade creations make a landscape truly come alive by telling a history that the Earth alone cannot tell. Use everything in the surroundings to help your story come alive.
- Most importantly, get out there and take your camera with you. There is no substitute for exploration and experimentation in the real world.
Well, most times 7 is my lucky number, so this concludes my soap box talk for the day. Truly, if there is only one thing you take away from this whole list let it be the last and certainly most important tip on that list. I mean it when I say get out there and take your camera with you. Now don’t be all obsessed and forget to enjoy life, but always be prepared, and just like the magic of true love that magical shot will always find you when you least expect it.
Please enjoy some samples from my own personal trysts with Mother Nature below
I hope you enjoyed my “7 Tips For A Successful Photographic Affair With Mother Nature”. Read more on my photography techniques and my world now at melodieyvonne.com and visit Photographic Melodie to SEE the Music at photographicmelodie.com
View all of Melodie’s work at melodieyvonne.com/category/melodie-yvonne