7 Tips For A Successful Photographic Affair With Mother Nature

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

MissingHome Crick-Road 11001734_10204542012095976_3614727230613933406_n Scipio-Park Least 3 Schoolhouse Rocks Garden Man DSC_8284 huh DSC_2217

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

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Melodie Yvonne

Melodie Yvonne Ramey, owner, editor, & contributor at Photographic Melodie, grew up in the small southern Indiana town of North Vernon. She picked up her first camera at the young age of 5, and was immediately hooked. Every trip, even just to the local park, was turned into a fantasy scene of her own imagination that would later be turned into epic tales in word and photos.

Melodie spent her teen years learning from and mentoring under professionals such as Richard Young, John Sheckler, and The Grand Conundrum. She received an Associates of Applied Science in Visual Technologies majoring in Photography from Ivy Tech in 2002 after studying under acclaimed professors such as Hoosier photographer Darryl Jones, Jonathan Wilson, and many other masters in the field.

Melodie’s main focus has always been music photography. Growing up with photography and listening to amazing musicians inspired her dream to create visual images that made people feel the way they do when they hear the music. She wanted to help people SEE the music by capturing every magical moment of concerts that she could only dream about as she gazed into music magazines like Rolling Stone and Spin.

Melodie has done numerous jobs around the country ranging from working for bands to even being the official photographer on many southern Indiana Poker Runs. Her specialties are in nature, music, and candid event photography, as well as one of a kind photographic creations. Melodie published her first print book Photographic Memories: In the Beginning, a collection of poetry, in 2011, and has since published 2 more print works, Photographic Memories: Meet me in the Middle and Hoosier Heavens, her first photo book. Melodie currently acts as publisher, editor & lead contributor at Photographic Melodie and does freelance work with many other media outlets, venues, and artists.

Melodie says, “I started out with a Tweety bird camera and a dream and I never let go. I will always love photography and the vessel it has given me to share the images of my heart and mind with the world. I have found that every single person on this earth visualizes the world in very different ways. Some people are optimists, some are pessimists. Some people are daydreamers, and others keep their feet firmly planted on the ground. Photography allows me to show some of these different visualizations. It allows the rationalist to see that it’s okay to dream, it can show the monsters hidden in the dark, and it can show even the saddest of people that there is still joy in the world.”

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