"National Audubon Society Guide To Digital Nature Photography"
Part Four: Light on the Land
Part Four of the "National Audubon Society Guide to Digital Nature Photography" by Tim Fitzharris discusses ways in finding photographic potential in landscapes, using good perspective in making these landscapes quality shots, and tips on how to take breathtaking reflections of landscapes through the use of water. It is helpful to recall this section while in the field taking landscape shots so that your able to use the landscapes full potential in making a beautiful scene.
When taking landscape photos, Fitzharris describes some things to look for that can help in finding photographic potential in landscapes. The first thing to look for is color. Remembering back a few chapters that red is more attractive than yellow, you should look for the color red, or hues of it, in your landscapes. By focusing your attention on some sort of color scheme, or the color red, you can make shot have a feel to it making it more appealing. The colors must work together in harmony in order for the picture to be a complete success. Clouds are another extremely important aspect of landscape photography that can add so much to a photo. Sunrises and sunsets are never as exciting without clouds. Clouds can be used as a subject, to fill the bleak blue sky, and to add color and definition towards the landscape. Interesting weather such as fog or falling snow can also add to the beauty of the landscape. The last incredibly obvious but important thing to look for is wildlife. Unfortunately you can not use wildlife as an indication of a good landscape but they can add to the composition of a landscape very well. Also, you have to be cautious that there are no human artifacts, such as a telephone poles, that are in the way, making your landscape look terrible.
One incredibly important aspect of landscape photography is the power of perspective. (The idea of perspective is difficult to explain so if you do not understand what I mean, well sorry.) In order to create good perspective you need to think of how to use the landscapes features in making three dimensions. By using size cues one can see how big something really is or how far away something really is. Having something that is both in the foreground and the midground makes it easier to tell how far away things are in relation to the size of the object in the foreground. Obtaining good perspective is one of the most important yet difficult tasks that takes careful thought and practice, so do not be discouraged if you don't pick it up right away.
By using lights' natural ability to reflect off of certain surfaces, such as water, you can make some really cool reflection shots. Fitzharris describes, once again, that sunrise and sunset are the best times to obtain the right angle of light refraction as well as adding color to the shot. Also, it is helpful to have a tripod in case you need to change angles to get the reflection shot you want. Fitzharris also discusses the proper attire you may want to wear when taking reflection, such as neoprene chestwaders, in case you need to actually get in the water to capture a specific shot or angle. One other thing to keep in mind is the time of day; Fitzharris points outs to avoid getting too much wind on the water, shooting at dusk and dawn are the best times, because this is when it is most likely to be still.
This chapter is an important one to know, but you also must know the previous chapters and what is discussed previously to really capture the perspective you want. Knowing how to spot photogenic landscapes, how to create good perspective, and also the powerful use of bodies of water to create reflections are all important things to keep in mind when taking quality shots. This chapter helped me think of new ways to look at nature through the camera, as well as new ways to take shots.