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marysb

Tips for better landscape photos

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I just came across this today and I think there are some good tips here for all of us who are amateurs.  Maybe we can start a list of other tips you have and use.

 

Tips for better landscape photos

 

 

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Thanks for sharing, good info. 

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Well, I just got a digital aim an shoot camera. Don't know any of those other things that were talked about.

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On 6/16/2019 at 2:13 AM, gottagoacruzn said:

Well, I just got a digital aim an shoot camera. Don't know any of those other things that were talked about.

 

Many aim and shoot cameras do have some of the capabilities mentioned.

 

If you tell us the make and model of your camera, some poster may be able to provide some guidance on how these relate.

 

Otherwise, just think about some of the basics:

 

composition — what do I want my picture to look like. Will the picture be better if I move a little to either side, back, forwards? Will the picture be better landscape or portrait.

light — how much light is there? Is there light or shadow on what I am trying to photograph? How does the light or shadow enhance the image? (No, the built in flash will not light up the mountain 5 miles away.) If it is darkish, the camera may try and stay open longer, inducing shake.

edges — look at all the edges of your view through the camera. Are there things there that you don’t want? 

 

And on.

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Thanks for posting the link, very interesting.

 

On Thursday evening my camera club is having a presentation called The visualisation, capture and processing for Landscape Photography, by Les Walkling.

 

Part of the talk will focus on the work of the late Peter Dombrovskis. His work was instrumental in a major environmental campaign in Tasmania and is certainly worth looking up. The power of the landscape imagery in pristine wilderness captured public attention. (Franklin Dam)

 

“Walkling spent ten months in the preparation, restoration, editing, and exhibition printing of over 200 of Dombrovskis’ images for the National Library of Australia exhibition and accompanying publication, The Photography of Peter Dombrovskis: Journeys into the Wild.”

 

 

 

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On 6/15/2019 at 12:13 PM, gottagoacruzn said:

Well, I just got a digital aim an shoot camera. Don't know any of those other things that were talked about.

 

There are also some great videos on YoutTube that would be very helpful in guiding you through the features on your new camera. As the other poster mentioned, knowing which type of camera (make, model) will enable everyone to give you more accurate tips.

 

Essentially, the blog post linked in the OP is about equipment that can help make photography much better by using specific lenses and other items (adding on a lens hood, which would help control the light going into the lens) polarization filters (Ever get polarized sunglasses? Things look better, different with regard to the light) and other items like the type of swivel on your tripod - any camera can move on a tripod but they don't all move as easily or the same way. Kind of like turning a car at the same speed on a tight corner, but doing it in a Porsche, or in a Beetle. The Beetle will sway all over the place, screechy tires, but the Porsche will hold on tight, smoothly turn, effortlessly. So you can get a Porsche tripod....or not. Does everyone need a Porsche tripod? No. Depends upon what type of photos you want to take but....if you intend to do things that manipulate and control light, shutter speed, and/or you want to remove your camera from the tripod safely/quickly, having a better tripod is the way to go....sort of like turning a tight corner fast in a car. You can do it, but it works better with better equipment.

 

FYI shutter speed is the click you hear when you take the picture...slowing it down changes everything and you need the camera to be immobile so you need that tripod.

 

The remotes s/he talked about....probably more than you need to worry about right now but they all tie into the same equation with regard to getting light/speed/motion correct and individual preferences, options.

 

But, to get started, probably best to go to YouTube and type in the name of your camera and the word "tutuorial" and get a pen and paper to make notes or, just save the video on your phone to reference it again. Then, have fun and go practice taking pictures. You can always delete them! If your camera has manual mode, you can always later on try to work with these sort of things, different light, shutter speeds, filler, filters, etc.

 

BTW, a wide angle is just simply another lens (ultra is just that, wider!) to get more into a frame than a typical lens would ordinarily fit into a photo. It's usually expressed in millimeters but think of it in terms of what the eyes can see when looking out panoramically. Most cameras' standard lens will crop out a lot of it. WIde lenses take in more of what is on the right and left side of the desired image but....keep in mind if there are people in the image, they will appear distorted although the better the lens, the less so. Landscapes generally are less affected by distortion from the wide angle effect of lenses plus there are other things great photographers do that mitigate the effects of the lens. When the light is right, focus, everything else, you'll never care or notice and be glad you're seeing everything due to a wide angle lens. 

 

Enjoy your new camera! 

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Hi guys, better clarify that I've had my Kodak FZ151 digital camera now for awhile, but thanks for the info. Will look up the info on line.

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22 minutes ago, gottagoacruzn said:

Hi guys, better clarify that I've had my Kodak FZ151 digital camera now for awhile, but thanks for the info. Will look up the info on line.

 

The suggestions in the article were geared towards users of interchangeable lens cameras but every camera uses three basic exposure factors and three pieces of hardware to make the photo. Exposure is controlled by the sensitivity of the sensor (film speed in the pre-digital days), the amount of time the shutter allows the sensor to be exposed to light and the amount of light gathered by the lens and passed through the aperture. Those factors are required to be addressed in every camera. our camera has a sensor, shutter and lens just like a $10,000 Leica. Taking the time to understand how the three factor of exposure work together and the advantages or disadvantages of your hardware will give you a greater chance of getting good shots. Your camera has a manual mode that allows some control over the exposure settings outside of the auto mode that, with some understanding of how exposure works, may allow you to overcome difficult shooting situations. Even if you only use the mode and scene settings. a little research into how exposure is determined by the little supercomputer in you camera can help you when a shot goes bad. Something as simple as knowing when to use the +/- exposures setting (EV Setting in your camera manual) can save the day.

 

Look up that info as you said and don't be shy about asking questions here. This is a very newbie-friendly forum with many regulars willing to take a moment to explain something.

 

A while ago I wrote an article on low-light photography that gives a lot of basic information on how exposure works. Take a look: Low-Light Photography

 

Enjoy your camera!

 

Dave

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Hi Dave, whenever I'm on a cruise, have tried to take pictures of the shows, without the flash, but the pictures come out blurry or not good. Any suggestions?

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, gottagoacruzn said:

Hi Dave, whenever I'm on a cruise, have tried to take pictures of the shows, without the flash, but the pictures come out blurry or not good. Any suggestions?

 

The shows may look bright to you while sitting in a darkened theater but the actual illumination is about the same as a normally lit room. Your camera will make up for this by slowing the shutter speed down to expose longer. This is what causes the blur. To help this, you need to increase the shutter speed. The three components of exposure are shutter, sensitivity and aperture. To speed up the shutter, you need to raise the sensitivity and/or open the lens aperture wider. A point and shoot camera doesn't allow a lot of options since the small sensor doesn't let you increase the sensitivity a lot without making the photo too grainy (noisy) and the lenses often don't have a large maximum aperture (can't let enough light in). Your best option is probably to go into the Scene menu and choose "Sports". This mode tells the camera's brain to set the shutter as fast as possible to stop action and will raise sensitivity and open the aperture as much as possible to achieve this. Also, don't zoom in more than needed since zooming will reduce the maximum aperture (lets in less light) and magnification will exaggerate motion, both yours and the subject, which can cause more blur. If the performers are too bright and the stage looks normal (camera's auto metering ties to average out the whole exposure and often does badly with a bright subject against a dark background, or vice versa), use the exposure adjustment (+/-) to adjust downwards (-). This will not only correct the exposure on the performers but may allow for a faster shutter speed.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Dave

 

Edited by pierces

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On 5/9/2019 at 11:49 AM, marysb said:

I just came across this today and I think there are some good tips here for all of us who are amateurs.  Maybe we can start a list of other tips you have and use.

 

Tips for better landscape photos

 

 

 

Interesting article, but question how appropriate some of the recommendations are for those who cruise.  For example, who wants to lug a tripod with them on a cruise and carry it around a port?  These days, it seems like many people are happy using their smartphones which appear to do a decent job for most folks.  I've had an SLR for many years and do have a tripod, but rarely use it and never take it on a cruise.  I'm happy with my photos which are sharp to my eye, but may not be good enough to publish.  While I enjoy others' photos posted on CC, I rarely post my own.  I take photos to commemorate what I see in a far-off port, not to publish them here.  Finally, the key to good photos is composition, which is not even mentioned in the referenced article.  Landscapes are the easiest photos to take assuming the photographer is standing on land and not a moving vehicle or ship and has a decent camera.

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I don't agree with all of them.  The ultra wide angle can create distortion which I hate. I prefer something not so wide,  24mm to 20mm at the widest (I'm using a full frame sensor).  If i want/need wider then a multi shot pano is best for me. 

 

The ND filter, fine. I have a 10 stop and vari nd filter. But these are not the only way to get "motion" in water.  You can stack multiple shots and average them together to get the same effect.  Tony Northrup (search YouTube for those that don't know who he is) did a whole video on this technique a while ago. 

 

Graduated ND filters,  not a fan. i prefer to just bracket the shots and blend in post later.  

 

Except for the polorizers you can pretty much get the same results using software. I understand that these are not everyones "cup of tea" but they are viable alternatives to someone with photoshop.

 

But the best advice I ever heard/read for getting better landscape photos is.....To stand it front of better more interesting subjects. 

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If your camera doesn't have a thread on the front of the lens and you can't fit a lens hood, create shade over the lens with something like a hat, your hand, a piece of cardboard, etc.  This will reduce any flare in the lens from the bright light.

 

I use my polarizer from my DSLR cameras with my point and shoot by using this method

   1) look through the polarizer toward the scene you will photograph and rotate to get the effect you want

   2) hold the polarizer in same orientation in front of the lens...a little away to allow the lens to move during autofocue

   3) take the picture

The autoexposure may not see the polarizer if the sensor is not near the lens.  If your camera has exposure adjustments, add +1 which should let in enough light to compensate for the polarizer.  You should be within 1/2 stop of perfect exposure.

 

I always carry a tripod and own several.  There is no substitute for a solid base to get sharp landscapes.  The smallest is for my point and shoot, measures about 12" folded, weighs about one pound, and fits in a small nylon bag with shoulder cords.  It only raises to about 40" and must be mounted with the tripod screw on the camera bottom. but enables maximum sharpness even in evening light.  The medium tripod for normal use with a DSLR or mirrorless camera weight about 4 pounds with ball head, folds to 116-19 inches and reaches about 48 inches without using the extension tube,  and fits in a  20" tripod bag with shoulder strap.   Not too big yet gives really good results.  My "full size" carbon fiber tripod for the DSLR with a big zoom or  Medium Format camera with digital back is a more serious commitment but the only way to capture some photos, like the pics of the Hawaii lava flow into the ocean shot from the cruise ship about 3 miles away at midnight.  I pity the hordes using cell phones, tablets, point and shoot and even some quality SLR's handheld.  I shot using a 300mm lens wide open, and got less than 10 usable pics from over 100 shot, and they required serious crop and post production to handle noise.

I pack the tripods in my luggage for airline travel, yet almost always carry one over my shoulder on land or shipboard when I have a camera as they force me think about the shot, hold the camera steady for sharp pics, and can even function as a cane if I get sore feet or am tired.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, BarbinMich said:

 

 For example, who wants to lug a tripod with them on a cruise and carry it around a port?  

 

 

Almost exactly nobody. I stopped packing one after about the fifth cruise where I never touched it.

 

2 hours ago, BarbinMich said:

Landscapes are the easiest photos to take assuming the photographer is standing on land and not a moving vehicle or ship and has a decent camera.

 

 

And yet, you can find an endless procession of bad landscape photos where the lack of simple composition rules that you mentioned took their toll.

 

🙂

 

Dave

Edited by pierces

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, chickenpipe said:

The autoexposure may not see the polarizer if the sensor is not near the lens.  If your camera has exposure adjustments, add +1 which should let in enough light to compensate for the polarizer.  You should be within 1/2 stop of perfect exposure.

 

I am unaware of any digital camera that doesn't analyze exposure from the image on the sensor or read it from the autoexposure module in the prism hump. Holding the polarizer in front of the lens will be automatically adjusted for. I have done this many times with a P&S with no in-camera adjustment. Another point is I found holding the filter flat against the front of the P&S lens barrel removes the chance of reflection from the back of the filter. Especially in the bright light at a beach or other location where a polarizer would be used. As long as you don't press hard against the barrel, it won't interfere with the autofocus.

 

In a pinch, I have even used polarized sunglasses as a filter! 🙂

 

1 hour ago, chickenpipe said:

...like the pics of the Hawaii lava flow into the ocean shot from the cruise ship about 3 miles away at midnight.  I pity the hordes using cell phones, tablets, point and shoot and even some quality SLR's handheld.  

 

Yay stabilization! I really wound down my use of a tripod when in-body and optical stabilization became common. These were shot handheld from a moving boat (inside the breakwater, so moving) using bent legs as shock absorbers. A tripod would have made shooting impossible.

 

674262323_LavaTour-220.thumb.jpg.2996f0cdde3765f49f025a02d19e9c71.jpg

 

1250858642_LavaTour-381.thumb.jpg.560445d8921ce25ad6bffe22ecb32126.jpg

 

1223711610_LavaTour-400.thumb.jpg.9ab579c817a295d5ce50277228b1fcd9.jpg

 

I still use my tripods for macro shooting and nighttime scenery where it can't be avoided but I haven't carried one on an excursion or onboard walkabouts in ten years or more. 

 

My alternative point of view. To each, their own. Right?

 

Dave

Edited by pierces

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Posted (edited)

Stabilization has been a game changer for me.  Both lens based stabilization but also in body image stabilization (IBIS) has allowed me to create motion blur while handheld without a tripod.  For travel purposes this is wonderful.  

 

For example, before IBIS this 1/2 second exposure would have required a tripod or a lot of luck:

 

IpDME0y.jpg

 

IBIS is "drink package compatible" allowing me to be a poor shaky photographer after a few drinks and get away with it.  No tripod in my suitcase is icing on the cake.

Edited by twangster

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23 minutes ago, twangster said:

Stabilization has been a game changer for me.  Both lens based stabilization but also in body image stabilization (IBIS) has allowed me to create motion blur while handheld without a tripod.  For travel purposes this is wonderful.  

 

For example, before IBIS this 1/2 second exposure would have required a tripod or a lot of luck:

 

IBIS is "drink package compatible" allowing me to be a poor shaky photographer after a few drinks and get away with it.  No tripod in my suitcase is icing on the cake.

 

I remember all the fuss when IBIS first appeared in the Minolta A1digicam. It was pooh-poohed as a gimmick and would never be used in real cameras since optical stabilization was obviously superior. How things change! 

 

I have always had a steady hand but sensor-based stabilization in the A700 and A77 really spoiled me. It was the main thing I missed in the NEX-7 and later in the A6000 and A6300. Optically stabilized lenses made up for the loss in the main walkabout lenses but I really missed it when using the Lensbaby and various cheap, fun manual lenses. I never upgraded to the A6500 since its specs were so close to the A6300 but last year, my jump to the A7III brought in-body stabilization back into my life and when Sony releases its next APS-C body, I will jump on it.

 

It is a great time to be a photographer!

 

Dave

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