Capturing nature in its essence is what drew me to photography originally. Although I had moved on to portraits and other specialties in photography, landscape remains close to my heart and my first passion. Nature has really amazing beauty that changes every second. You need to be alert to get the right shot you want.
Patience is an important virtue, if you want to excel in any type of photography. You need to be quiet, scope out the region for the right angle and wait patiently for the ideal shot and shoot it before the light changes it completely. Here are some tips that help you make good headway into landscape photography.
Maximize field depth
The general approach in landscape photography is to get as much possible of the scenery into focus, even if you would like to infuse some creativity or experiment using narrow field depth. The simplest way to achieve maximum depth is to make the aperture setting smaller as with smaller aperture the depth of your field increases.
But with small apertures, the light exposure to the image is reduced. To compensate this deficient light, you need to lengthen the shutter speed or increase ISO or do both.
Tripod paves the way for stable shots, irrespective of the type of photography you are involved in. In case of landscape shots, this is more important. When using greater field depth the long shutter speed used for compensating the small aperture necessitates complete stillness of the camera during the long exposure. Even when the shutter speed is fast, the tripod is of great help. A wireless shutter release or cable would be even better for maximizing the camera stillness.
Any landscape shot needs some sort of focal point. Without a focal point, the shot will end up looking empty and will not appeal to the viewer. And in natural scenery shots finding the right focal point is more significant. It could be a stunning rock formation, boulder, a beautiful tree etc.
While shooting in a farm setting, I came upon this large boulder, which I was sure would look stunning but a huge tree branch was blocking the light needed for the shot. The owner of the farm lent me his efficient cutting saw. This made it easy to clear the low-lying branches and get the shot before the light changed. Sometimes you may have to manipulate the settings to get the right image you have in mind.
To make the landscape shots impressive, you need to focus on the foreground and include some appealing points in them. This will make the viewer a way inside the image, while creating considerable depth in the shot.
Since sky is a part of any landscape shot, you need to factor it into the shot appropriately. The shot should either have a dominant sky or foreground failing, which the shot can end up being monotonous and lacking in substance.
If you feel the sky is bland, make the foreground dominant. Make the horizon form the upper third portion of the shot. On the other hand, if the sky is looking spectacular with great clouds and colorful background, place the horizon in the lower third. You can enhance the effect of skies using filters or in post-production stage too.