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Eighth edition

Digital Edition



get up close to nature Composite stunning scenes, from

rural landscapes to coastal waters



take pro wildlife shots Expert tips and techniques for capturing animals and plant life



master the essential kit Make sure you use the right lenses, and check out various software




Camera skills


Your essential guide to outdoor photography �������������������������������������������10


Maximise the potential of lenses�������������������� 18 10 essential ingredients of landscapes������������������������������������������������������������28 Stunning landscapes in tough conditions������������������������������������������������������40 Predict the weather����������������������������������������������� 50 Shooting panoramas ������������������������������������������� 54 From dusk to dawn������������������������������������������������ 66



Take it slow with seascapes ������������������������������78 Go with the flow to shoot water�������������������� 82


Control bright skies����������������������������������������������� 86 Say hi to blue sky���������������������������������������������������� 88 Paint with light���������������������������������������������������������� 90 Moonlighting ������������������������������������������������������������� 92 Master shutter dragging ������������������������������������ 96 In the shallow end��������������������������������������������������� 98 Space exploration ���������������������������������������������� 100


Outdoor landscape and nature photography

Contents 104

Don’t restrict yourself to rural locations, as coastal resorts and even some urban environments can also be home to an assortment of outdoor scenarios

SHOOTOUTS Urban architecture ���������������������������������������������104


Flower power����������������������������������������������������������� 110 Coastal photography������������������������������������������116 Mountain scenes�������������������������������������������������� 122 Wildlife photography �����������������������������������������128

Outdoor Gear Wide-angle zooms�����������������������������������������������136 Portable SSDs��������������������������������������������������������� 143 Tripods����������������������������������������������������������������������� 144 Monopods �������������������������������������������������������������� 146 Photographic hides��������������������������������������������� 148 Sling straps���������������������������������������������������������������150 Camera jackets���������������������������������������������������� 152 Wildlife lenses���������������������������������������������������������154


Outdoor landscape and nature photography


Camera skills

get more from prime lenses

A lens comparison Pro photographer Matt Osborne on the best portrait lenses

If you can only carry one optic with you, it should probably be a standard 50mm – and here’s why


higher quality of light and the shallow depth of lthough we have explored the benefits field can be used to isolate subjects, framing of having a wide angle of view, them beautifully. This make prime lenses great embracing a more true-to-life outlook for portrait photography, but also for shooting can enable you to capture a huge architecture, street scenes and in low light. variety of subjects in a far more realistic way, Zoom lenses do have their uses though; free from distortion. because of their varying focal lengths Prime lenses have a fixed focal they enable far more flexible length and are usually the favoured Super Tip shooting than would be possible choice for professional shooters Standard with a prime. Some have a focal – they are available in a number A standard lens has a focal length equal to the diagonal length range from wide-angle of focal lengths with 35mm, measurement of the camera’s all the way to the telephoto end, 50mm and 85mm being sensor. Full-frame sensors are giving the photographer extremely popular. They usually approx 43mm. They are used because the angle of view complete subject and produce a higher quality of is close to that of the perspective flexibility. However, capture compared to cheaper human eye. zoom lenses don’t always have a standard zoom lenses. A prime constant maximum aperture lens consists of less internal throughout their range and generally the elements than a zoom lens would, which means the optical performance is often far more maximum aperture isn’t as wide as the aperture superior. Prime lenses are also usually far lighter found in many prime lenses. So, there will be a than zoom lenses because of the fewer elements. level of compromise in image quality when it comes to zoom lenses – the greater the zoom They often have a wider maximum aperture range, the greater the compromise in quality. than a zoom lens, which means they’ll let in a

“Here I took two similar photos with a 50mm lens and 85mm lens. Both look quite similar, yet you may expect more distortion with a 50mm lens. Telephoto lenses such as 85-200mm tend to compress facial features to give a rounder-looking face – a longer lens and closer distance will cause more compression. Portraits taken with a 50mm lens can result in distortion if you are close to the subject, but here at 0.7m, less so.”


Shot at 50mm

Shot at 35mm

Outdoor landscape and nature photography

Top left The 50mm lens more closely represents the human angle of view, which is ideal for street photography. There is less distortion, however this angle of view can be a little limiting

Bottom left Although this is wider than the angle of view of the human eye, it enables you to see more of the world, creating an almost cinematic feel, drawing the viewer into the scene more

Portrait of Bethanie taken in the studio using a full-frame Nikon D800 DSLR digital camera and Samyang 85mm f1.4 lens at f1.4, taken one metre away from the model.

50mm Portrait of Bethanie taken in the studio using a full-frame Nikon D800 DSLR digital camera and Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-S lens at f1.4 at 0.7m distance.

2x © Matt Osborne


Camera skills

Maximise optical quality

Sharpness issues Is it really necessary to use the narrowest aperture?

Ensure your captures are of the highest standard


hile you need to know you should never solely rely on it your lenses, it is also – take control of your captures and important that you use manual focus instead Also, in know how to always get order to ensure your shots are sharp the best from your lenses. It is in the correct places, utilise manual essential that you spend time focus with Live View, as this will experimenting with your lenses and make focusing far easier since it is get to know when they work the best. often hard to tell what areas are in Often lenses have an aperture sweet focus while using the viewfinder. point, and this is not always at the Keeping your lenses clean is a huge maximum aperture like you might part of producing high-quality assume. A lens with a max aperture of captures – specs of dust and dirt can f1.8 might actually perform far better easily be picked up by the sensor and and suffer from fewer aberrations completely wreck your image. Dirt on when it is used one or two stops the lens will become particularly down from max. This may mean that noticeable when you shoot at narrow even if you don’t plan to use your lens apertures of around f16 to f22, and at its max aperture, you might still this can easily ruin your image. benefit in investing in a faster lens to Ensuring your lens is calibrated ensure your images are free from flaws. correctly is also critical. This is To get the absolute best from your especially important when working at lenses you should embrace manual wide apertures, as if the sharpest focusing, especially when it comes to point of focus falls slightly in front or landscape photography. Although the behind where you want it to be, you autofocus on many camera systems is won’t have enough depth of field to fantastic and continually improving, compensate for the discrepancy.

Selecting the narrowest aperture to achieve the biggest depth of field doesn’t always result in sharpness. This is down to diffraction, which is the spreading of the waves of light as they pass through small openings. This causes a loss of resolution and is why lenses usually operate best at mid-range apertures from around f8 to f11.

Shot at f11 In this landscape we have achieved a good sharpness throughout the capture.

Shot at f22 Although the differences are minimal there is a definite softening in this image, which has been caused by diffraction in the lens.

Calibrate your lens Avoid focusing issues by calibrating your lens A correctly calibrated lens is key, particularly on cameras with a large sensor. If the lens is not calibrated then you will encounter focusing issues, which become particularly apparent on high-resolution cameras. Physical calibration of the lens should only be done by a professional because it involves dismantling the lens, however, most cameras have an in-camera calibration setting. In your camera’s menu look for AF Microadjustment (Canon) or AF Fine-Tune (Nikon). This will compensate for when your focus has moved behind or in front of the focused area. Dial in a negative number to move the focus point closer to the camera, or a positive number to move it further away.

Above Kafura. Lens calibration is important for portrait photographers who need the focus to be spot on at wide apertures. © Trevor Cole

Outdoor landscape and nature photography



Camera skills

stunning landscapes in

tough conditions You don’t always need perfect weather – we look at how rain, mist and fog can provide fine shooting opportunities too

Outdoor landscape and nature photography

Camera skills


he rain is pouring against the windows… the world is bathed in grey and it’s drab. The weather forecast doesn’t seem too promising either. Some kind of frustration is slowly growing, especially if an expensive photo trip has fallen through because this kind of bad weather. Many photographers think in this way. But here you will learn how to handle such ‘bad’ conditions – perhaps even learn to love them. In our opinion there is only one kind of bad weather for landscape photography: an all-blue sky with harsh sunlight at lunchtime. But back to stormy and misty weather – your new favourite weather conditions for atmospheric

pictures. To master truly dramatic landscapes, you have to understand that the weather is an important part of visual storytelling. When you have to handle ‘bad’ conditions on location, it makes no sense to complain and to wait for the next sunset with dancing colours. Instead, get yourself in touch with the secret beauty of dull,  grey days. Above Time travel. Situated in a small side valley of river Moselle, Castle Eltz is one of Germany’s most picturesque medieval fortresses... it looks like [it’s] from a different time. Fog emphasises the timeless mood © Kilian Schönberger

Outdoor landscape and nature photography



Camera skills

How to shoot your own panorama Framing

The line of rocks on the left-hand side is intended to mirror the angle of the arch on the right-hand side

Fitting in

This is a far wider scene that could ever be captured in a single frame, and is formed of several individual shots


On the level When shooting single frame images, you normally just worry about getting the camera itself level with the Earth’s true horizon but, when shooting a panorama, you need to ensure that the tripod itself is level. If your tripod doesn’t have a spirit level, use a hot shoe bubble level like this.


Portrait format Although not vital, it is probably best to set your camera up in portrait format. Although your finished panorama will consist of more individual frames than it would if you simply use the landscape format, the image quality will be improved by shooting in portrait format.

Outdoor landscape and nature photography


Pan lock One capability that you need your tripod head to have is a standalone pan motion that allows you to pan without having to tilt the camera. Obviously, pan and tilt heads are designed to do just that, but not all ball heads or pistol grip heads allow for this.

Camera skills Scenery exposed

Each individual exposure was 20 seconds long. This was done to capture movement in the clouds and soften the sea


Focusing Focus just as you would if you were shooting single-frame images, and then set the camera into manual focus mode lest autofocus starts kicking in just as you pan across the scene, as inconsistent focusing can – and often does – have the effect of ruining the final panorama.


Exposure Exposure must be consistent across all the frames you shoot. You can either base the exposure on the correct exposure for the centre of the panorama or meter each end of the scene and find a compromise between the two. Either way, set your camera to Manual mode (M).


30 per cent overlap Make sure that there is an overlap of about one third as you pan. An easy mistake to make when shooting panoramas for the first time is to start the next frame right where the previous one left off, but this doesn't leave enough material for your software work with.

Outdoor landscape and nature photography



Without a polariser

Project four gear skills

Say hi to a bluer sky

QUICK TIP! Use a polariser to make fluffy white clouds stand out against a blue sky

A polarising filter can completely transform your landscape shots – if you know when and where to use one Unlike most other filters you It’s not just useful for boosting colours have to try it to see whether it’s going the mission can buy for your camera, though. The polariser’s effects make to help the scene you’re shooting. ■ Use a polariser

time needed

■ 20 minutes

skill level

■ Anyone can do it ■ Some tricky aspects ■ Advanced technique

Kit needed

■ CSC or SLR ■ Polarising filter ■ Sunny day!

a polariser does things to the image that you simply can’t do in Photoshop. Screwing into the front of your lens, it has the power to make colours look more intense, to cut out unwanted reflections from glass and water and to remove the sheen on everything from painted doors to rocky surfaces. A polarising filter is especially useful for landscape photography when you’re shooting scenes that include blue sky or expanses of water.

it ideal for both black-and-white and architectural photography, as you can achieve better tone and contrast in your images. That means you have more to work with in Photoshop. Because its effect can be rather hard to predict, a polariser often gives magical results. The filter removes or reduces the amount of polarised light that’s reflected from the sky, water or other surface. But as our eyes can’t see the difference between normal light and polarised light, you often

A polariser has the power to make colours look more intense, to cut out unwanted reflections and to remove the sheen on everything Outdoor landscape and nature photography

The filter is constructed so that the front of it rotates – the orientation of the glass needs to be adjusted to match the direction of the polarised light. Generally, you turn the filter until you can see the maximum effect possible through the viewfinder. However, in some circumstances, it pays to weaken the effect slightly by turning the filter round a few degrees from this point. When you’re shooting the sky, the effect is most pronounced when the sun is at 90 degrees to the scene, so the filter has little impact if you’re standing with the sun behind you. Similarly, the effect is disappointing in overcast conditions.


STEP BY STEP Using a circular polarising filter

We show you how to transform your shots with this simple but effective camera accessory

01 Preview the effect

To save screwing the polariser into the front of the lens unnecessarily, hold it up to your eye first. Rotate it to see how it improves the saturation of particular areas of the scene. If you fit the filter, make sure you don’t overtighten it – polarisers can be difficult to unscrew!

QUICK TIP! Polarisers cut reflections from windows – but won’t do the same trick with mirrors

02 Stand with the sun at your side

A polariser’s effect is greatest on a sunny day with blue skies, but it also depends on where the sun is in relationship to the scene, and to the camera. You’ll get the strongest effect if the sun is to the side of you, so find an angle that allows this, or return at a different time of day.

Cut out unwanted reflections

03 Find the sweet spots

To preview which parts of the sky will benefit most from a polariser, make a gun shape with your hand, so your thumb points at 90 degrees to your forefinger. Point your forefinger at the sun and rotate your wrist – your thumb will point to the areas of sky with the most polarised light.

04 Filter your results

It’s crucial to turn the front part of the filter, looking at the effect through the viewfinder as you do so, for every shot. It will reduce the amount of light entering the lens by 50-75% (one or two stops), whatever its orientation, so check that the shutter speed isn’t too slow, or use a tripod.

■ Polarisers can be used to cut out unwanted reflections from glass, water and other shiny surfaces. The angle of the sun to the reflective surface is crucial. An angle of about 40 degrees will give the best effect, so when you’re shooting water the trick doesn’t work well at sunset or midday.

Top tips Choosing and fitting a polariser

Expert advice on selecting the best circular polarising filter for your camera

01 Don’t be square

03 Get the right type

You can get polarisers for rectangular slot-in filter systems, but they need to rotate in the mount, so they’re usually also round.

05 Wide-angle woes

Be wary of second-hand polarisers. Old linear filters interfere with the autofocus and exposure metering systems of modern DSLRs.

02 Size matters

You need a filter that fits your lens’s filter thread. The diameter is often marked on the lens in millimetres and prefixed with a Ø symbol.

Polarising filters can give unnatural results on some ultra-wide-angles, so use the filter with more modest wide-angles, or telephotos.

04 Step up

You don’t need a differentsized filter for every lens. Buy one in the biggest size you need and use a step-up ring (£4.99 at

Outdoor landscape and nature photography


Challenge 2



Get close to nature on the beach Kit Canon EOS 750D with Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens at 24mm Exposure 1/125 sec at f/8, ISO 200

AFTER a quick break for lunch, we explored the pebble beach that runs west of the Cobb along Chippel Bay, with the aim of including ‘found objects’ in our compositions. “I wanted to try and use the natural surroundings or objects I could find on the beach as a frame within a frame,”

explains Chelsea. “Using my camera’s flip-out rear monitor and Live View mode meant that I didn’t have to lie on the wet ground to compose the shot.” Finding a natural frame to shoot through is a great way of pulling viewers into a picture – and it’s a useful exercise to kick-start a photography session too, if you’re struggling for inspiration. Chelsea showed us a colour version of this shot, but we suggested that the contrast of textures and tones and the overcast conditions would lend themselves to a mono treatment.

Both Chelsea’s EOS 750D and Lynn’s Olympus E-M5 Mark II feature fold-out screens, making it easy to explore more dramatic low-level compositions. Camera shake is obviously more of a concern when you’re supporting the camera at arm’s length; being able to rest the base of the camera on something, whether it’s your hand, a backpack or the ground, can make a significant difference.

Outdoor landscape and nature photography


Low and behold

Expe rt op in ion


Kit Olympus E-M5 Mark II with Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 lens at 27mm Exposure 1/100 sec at f/2.8, ISO 200

WE can see why the shapes and textures in this charred tree drew Lynn’s eye. “It was still caked in the Lias clays from the cliffs that form the backdrop to the beach. There are so many textures in this scene – I want to keep looking at it to see what else is there!” The light-coloured wood seems

to swirl in from the top left towards the blackest burnt area, but although the result is quite abstract you can still see what it is. Lynn worked hand-held for the majority of her close-ups, which allowed her to work quickly. The electronic viewfinder on her E-M5 Mark II enabled her to stay on top of her exposures without having to routinely check the rear screen. “The light was dull and, with hindsight, I could have made it much easier for myself by raising the ISO to get a faster shutter speed.”

Expe rt op in ion

Pack a macro

Keep it covered

Beaches throw up a wealth of potential subjects for close-ups, and a macro lens is a convenient choice for frame-filling shots. Avoid changing lenses when it’s windy, though, as debris can easily enter the camera body.

If you want to avoid your camera picking up battle scars so that it can retain its potential trade-in value, use a protective cover. Chelsea’s vibrant set-up here is from easyCover, and she says she finds it essential for her muddy motorsports work.

Outdoor landscape and nature photography



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Photography Bookazine 1834 (Sampler)  

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Photography Bookazine 1834 (Sampler)  

You can subscribe to this magazine @