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Issue 4

THE LANDSCAPE ISSUE!

BRACKETING PHOTOS GET BETTER SHOTS NOW!

Secrets exposed! RAINY DAY PROJECTS

Essential gear

for landscape photography

Learn how to edit your photos in Lightroom to get the very best out of your shots!

Plus: How to get silky smooth waters, A guide to filters and what they do. AND so much more!


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Essential Gear For landscape photography

BRACKETING PHOTOS

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SECRETS EXPOSED!

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USING APPS TO IMPROVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY

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SILKY SMOOTH WATERS

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WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN: FILTERS

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Using lightroom to edit landsacpes

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UV filters..? Are they snake oil?

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GOLDEN HOUR/MAGIC HOUR

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GET BETTER SHOTS NOW!

Contents

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54

Compostion

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RAINY DAY PROJECTS

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YELLOW ADVANCES, BLUE RECEDES


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Editor’s note Landscape photography was the thing that really captured my personal passion for photography. The colours, beautiful locations, and the realisation that I could get these shots too, really spurred me on. So what better way to share the very thing that lured me down the path of photography than dedicating a whole issue to them! We use the term landscape photography to generally cover seascape, cityscapes etc too. Expect this issue to contain A fair amount of double page spreads to really showcase the photos off! Let’s not sugar coat it though, the very best times to shoot landscapes is magic hour. Light in magic hour is super soft and warm, and can be found at sunrise and sunset. So expect to see alot of 2am mornings and staying out way past dinner time to really benefit from magic hour. You’ll be thankful you did! Spend a little time with us and get inspired! Hopefully you’ll learn a few little things along the way too. Terry.

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Essential gear for landscape photography

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One of the most overlooked things in landscape photography is comfort. Let’s say you have inadequate footwear and stand in a huge puddle... Do you think you could walk around for a few hours with a soaking wet foot and still be comfortable? A similar situation is the cold weather. It could be the height of summer but mornings are generally chilly. Not taking a jacket, for example, will probably leave you uncomfortably chilly and unable to focus 100% on your photography. Do you have any medical conditions? I do. I’m type 1 diabetic so I have to make sure I have sufficient medication and sugar for any eventuality. If you have any conditions, make sure you have yourself covered! 7


Landscape photography has the lowest bars of entry out of any of the genres. You don’t need a great camera body, or even a great lens for that matter! You can get by with a entry level camera with the kit lens! That’s all! While that’s all you need, we do recommend a tripod though. A decent one at that. Unfortunately a decent one comes at a price! Don’t buy a cheap one! It’s has to hold all of your equipment. Would you rather pay an extra £100 for a decent tripod, or re-buy all of your camera equipment if the worst happens..? After you have your tripod, the next piece of equipment I’d recommend is a remote shutter release or intervelometer. A shutter release cable needs no batteries and a good one should have a shutter lock button or slider. Without the shutter lock you’ll have to physically hold the shutter button down for exposures over 30 seconds. If you don’t think that’s so bad, just try it.. An intervelometer is similar to a remote shutter release but it has more functions and more cost. On the intervelometer remote you can set a number of photos you’d like to take, how long you want the shutter open for and duration between the photos shot. Do not waste your money on an IR remote! They work in a similar way to a TV remote and require 8

line of sight. In a dark room, they kinda work but outside they’re horrendous! Keeping cleaning products on you is a really good idea. Lens cleaning tissue will remove amy water that hits the front of your lens, and it doesn’t leave any tissue residue. A lenspen is the main piece of cleaning equipment I never leave the house without. These are a double ended pen which contain a brush one end, to remover swarf and dirt from your camera equipment, and a charcoal cleaning pad the other end. If you get any water marks on the front of your lens, this pad will remove it easily. The last piece of essential equipment is a lens hood. A lens hood blocks stray light from hitting your front element and throwing light all inside your lens. Stray light will take contrast down in your photo and make it hazy. A lens hood will physically protect the front of your lens from knocks too. If you’ve ever knocked a lens before, you’ll understand feeling of dread you get before checking it for damage! Other pieces of equipment can definitely make your life alot easier. Once you have the basics, you’ll be able to tackle any situation with confidence.


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Combine Creative and Technical aspects of Photography How to Think like a Photographer Using and predicting light How to find compositions that work Know instinctively which focal length lens you need Know which Camera Settings to use Take home images you’re proud to have taken Gain confidence as a photographer Delivered Weekly You Can Download and Keep... Over 5 hours of unique never seen before video Tutorials and worksheets delivered weekly Practical exercises 3 Free bonus videos Extra 2 hour lesson on week 8! Copy to mobile devices and take with you Your Camera Really Does Need YOU I’m always amazed at my student’s knowledge but they don’t know how to connect that knowledge creatively, easily and subconsciously. They often panic and put the camera on Auto. But cameras are not creative. Cameras will only record what you tell them to and make their best guess according to pre-programmed parameters. If you can’t think like a photographer it’s impossible to BE a photographer. Complete The 7 Building Blocks of Photography and you will access (and add to) your knowledge of composition, lenses, light etc and be able to take the actions you need to take for virtually any image and situation.

https://www.photographycourses.biz/ courses/7-building-blocks-of-photography 11


BRACKETING PHOTOS What is exposure bracketing? Exposure bracketing is a method of shooting a number of photos, with varying exposures. A camera’s sensor cannot capture as much detail as the human eye in a single photo. Bracketing bridges this discrepancy, with the goal of creating one single photo, containing a huge dynamic

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The dedcated bracket button on the side of a Nikon D7000


range. Sometimes we call these HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos. Shooting overexposed photos gives us shadow details we may miss. The under exposed photos preserve highlight details that could blow out and become unrecoverable. How do you bracket? If your camera has a bracketing option built straight into the camera, it makes life alot easier. Select the bracketing

This little screen shown above displays a 3 frame bracket with exposures 2 stops apart. Using the dedicated BKT button on a Nikon D7000, a quick twist of the command dial changes the settings. 13


option, choose the amount of photos you’d like to shoot and how much over and under exposure you’d like. Focus the lens, then switch to manual focus. Take the photos.. Without this option, there are still a couple of methods to bracketing. The first is with an automatic mode. Step 1- Put your camera into aperture priority mode. Step 2 - Choose an aperture you want to use for the scene. Step 3 - Focus and take the photo. This is your base exposure. Step 4 - Next, switch the focus to manual. Hold the exposure compensation button down and twist the dial until you see -2 and take the shot. Step 5 - Hold the exposure compensation button and twist the dial until you see +2. Take the shot. Step 6 - Combine the photos together in Photoshop or another editing program. The next method requires a little more effort on our behalf, but it allows for a far greater range of photos. You can shoot 9, 11, 15 etc photos if you’d like. For this, well will be shooting in manual mode. I’d recommend starting in aperture priority mode just to get the base exposure. With the base exposure set, switch the focus to manual and the camera into manual mode too. We don’t want anything else to change between exposures. Steps 1 to 3 are the same for this too. Step 4 - Switch to manual mode. Step 5 - Change the shutter speed. If moving in two stop increments, double the shutter speed. For example, if the shutter speed is 1/60th, change it to 1/120th. Take the shot. Step 6 - Double the shutter speed again and take the shot. Step 7 - This example is for a 5 shot bracketing. For 7, double again. Step 8 - Now we have a couple of under exposed shots to go with our base exposure, we have to get some over exposed ones too! Take the base exposure shutter speed and half it. If it was 1/60th, change the shutter speed to 1/30th and take the shot. Step 9 - Half the shutter speed again and take the shot.

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If you forget to switch your camera and lens into manual focus mode, you’ll have to refocus between each shot. It could mess up your depth of field!

The benefits to shooting manually like this are numerous. We have way more control over the exposure, and we can shoot as many photos as we like. If we want to be really picky, we can even shoot in 1/3rd increments! It’s extreme but the option is there. An issue that may arise is when shooting long exposures that last for more than 30 seconds. Most DSLR’s will shoot up to 30 seconds without a problem. Anything above this limit tends to need a special mode. On Nikon this is called bulb mode. In bulb mode, the shutter will stay open for as long as the button is pressed. To make life easier, download an exposure calculator app that’ll calculate exposures for you. This will be especially handy for those exposures over 30 seconds. An external remote shutter will be your best friend shooting long exposures! I’d recommend getting an intervelometer, or a remote shutter cable with a lock off switch. You will also need a way to time the shots. A stopwatch on your phone or watch will be more than sufficient. One last thing to keep in mind, the longer the exposure, the more movement will be captured in your shot. This will vary between different length exposures and could cause headaches when trying to combine photos in post.

Take a look at the following pages to see a real world example!

You can go too crazy with HDR techniques. This photo is a perfect example of HDR taken too far. Take a look at those clouds... You wouldn’t see clouds that dark unless an apocalypse was on the way! Backing off with the extreme HDR stuff a little would have made this shot awesome!

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Base exposure: ISO 320 34mm f20 1/80

-1ev ISO 320 34mm f20 1/160

-4ev ISO 320 34mm f20 1/1250

+1ev ISO 320 34mm f20 1/40

For the final shot on the page opposite, I used my camera’s auto bracketing feature. I shot a total of 8 photos, 1 stop apart. I got my composition, worked out my base exposure, got focus, then switched to manual focus mode. I set the camera to continuous high burst mode. There was a boat coming down the river, which I knew would enhance the shot. Timing was essential. Luckily, I got the shot I wanted with the boat in the perfect position. The photos above are the RAW files straight out of camera. It starts with the base exposure, then the super dark shot. As you can see from the darkest photo, there is alot of detail in the sky that we would have missed without bracketing. The last photo in the sequence was at 1/5th of a second. There should have been a final photo, but I didn’t take it. The exposure would have been blown out almost everywhere, and the boat in the last shot has a decent amount of motion blur. An extra shot with more motion blur would have made merging the photos together even more difficult. After importing the photos into Lightroom, I selected the photos and right clicked to “edit in” and “merge to HDR pro in Photoshop”. When the photos have merged, the only section of the box on screen I play with is “Remove ghosting”. This option attempts to fix any motion you have between shots. In my case, it’s the boat. I had to load the base exposure into Photoshop and layer mask a few pieces to get the boat looking perfect. HDR photos usually look very flat and lacking contrast when they’ve been merged. I took this shot and put it into Camera RAW. I added a little contrast and vibrance. Back in Photoshop, I dodged and burned a few areas, saved the photo, and reopened it back into Lightroom for a quick sharpen. That’s all. Keeping it subtle. Try using HDR on scenes that have huge contrast ranges! Just remember to take your camera out of bracketing mode when you’ve finished shooting!

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-3ev ISO 320 34mm f20 1/640

-2ev ISO 320 34mm f20 1/320

+2ev

+3ev

ISO 320 34mm f20 1/20

ISO 320 34mm f20 1/10

Final sh

ot

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A FEW TIPS FOR TRIPOD SHOOTING Tripods are essential for sharp landscape photos! Especially for longer exposures. Shooting with a tripod also slows us down and forces us to be slower and more deliberate with out shots. While it will most likely decrease our shot count, all we need in landscape photography is that one perfect shot. Turn VR off! Vibration reduction (or whatever your camera manufacturer calls it) does a brilliant job when hand holding the camera. But on a tripod it can actually cause a little camera shake. Turn it off to minimise the risk! Use live view to focus. The autofocus in your camera is usually spot on.. Usually. A quick and easy fix for this is to put your focus mode to manual, turn on live view and zoom in to the thing you want to be in sharp focus. Adjust your focus ring until sharp and you’re all set! Weigh it down. Lightweight tripods are great, but wind or water can really affect them and cause them to sway in the middle of your photos. This isn’t ideal. Using a heavier tripod will definitely help prevent it, but it’s not always practical to carry a heavy tripod around. Not if you like having a healthy back. Take a carrier bag on your travels with you and fill it with stones when your get on location. There is your added weight! Now just hang this around the tripod. Long lens with collars. A decent long lens will come with a lens collar. This slips around the lens for added stability in some shooting situations. Attach a tripod mount to the collar base if shooting landscape photos with a long lens to take the weight off the cameras lens mount. Lock it off. Always ensure your legs, knobs and dials are tight! We don’t want any broken equipment!

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Secrets exposed! This issue of secrets exposed shows you how to get beautiful photos of beautiful destinations, easily. You’ll be shocked at how easy it is!

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What if I told you there is next to no effort needed to get shots like this! But what’s the secret..? Photography tours! Photography tours are the ideal way to see the most photogenic spots around! For a small fee, you’ll be taken to a beautiful location and at the optimal time of day. These tour operators have visited the locations countless times and know all the ins and outs. Take the Red Breaks pictured on the page previous. It’s such a beautiful photo and the location itself is unbelievable. So you may think that getting an amazing photo of this place may be pretty difficult? Wrong. Here’s a little secret about this location: the tour operators will sometimes also grab a handful of sand and throw it in the air. The sand makes the light rays visible. Guided tours are similar to photography tours. They’re a tour of a historic site or place of interest conducted by an experienced (hopefully) guide. The biggest difference however, is if the tour group is large, you’re not going to get time to set up and take the perfect shot. Chances are they’ll have their own cameras and phones out, click a quick shot and move on. Guided tours are good for getting an idea and points of interest of a location though. Plus, they’re alot cheaper than a photography tour! A photography tour is designed to help you get the shots you’d like and the perfect time. Usually you’ll find that a photography tour is lead by an experienced photographer with in-depth knowledge of the location. They aim to help you get the very best shots possible, regardless of your skill level. Expect to pay a fair amount more for a photography tour though.

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Greetings from:

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London

Wish yo u were here?


Sunbursts/ Starburts

The sunburst or starburst effect goes by a fair few names. But we’ll just call them starbursts. A starburst effect is a phenomenon of light diffraction that creates the star effect on distant single-point light sources. It can also add star effect specular highlights on an object in the frame. Achieving a starburst couldn’t be simpler! Use a small aperture! Apertures of f16 and smaller will give you star bursts. The size and shape of the starburst will depend on your

aperture and the number of aperture blades your lens has. Try using the effect on street lights,fairy lights, and the sun itself! Warning! Looking and shooting into the sun can damage your eyesight and camera equipment. You do so at your own risk. Take precautions before going out and shooting into the sun and direct light sources.

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USING APPS TO IMPROVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY Getting the perfect shot requires preparation. None more so than with landscape photography. Knowing the weather, sunrise/sunset times, tide times and a myriad of other things before we even step out of the door, drastically improves our preparedness! Even scrolling through the Facebook app can prove useful! Being part of photography groups can give you ideas from somebody who has experience in shooting in a location you’re thinking of shooting in. Before smart phones and easy access to the internet, watching weather reports and consulting tide time tables would be the only ways to get an idea of the weather you’d be facing that day. Now, we can use weather apps with real time satellite maps, hourly estimates and sun rise and sun set times too. So it makes sense to take full advantage of them doesn’t it! One of my favourite apps is called Sunseeker. This app gives you the position of the sun and moon at any given time, their elevation and a few other awesome features. The most useful feature with this app though is the 3D view. This uses the camera on your phone and opens up an augmented reality view of the sun’s path. It can be especially useful in locations you may have stumbled upon and need to know where and when the sun will be at a specific time to plan a shoot. My next favourite app is called TPE or The Photographers

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Ephemeris. For planning shoots in advance, this is easily the best app for it. There is too many features for me to list, but this app gives details on things like when the sun or moon will peak over a hill, satellite and street view maps etc. Like I said, there is way too much to list, but check it out! You won’t be disappointed! I love the GPS tagging feature build into my phones camera. Again, when going for random walks or scouting locations it’s easy to just stumble across hidden gems. But trying to remember what they looked like or even where they were located exactly can be hard! With the GPS tagging, you can pull your phone out and take a photo of the place with the ability to view it on a map! If you shoot seascapes, a tide times app or timetable is an essential! If you know the beach well, it may not be so much of an issue. But if this is a new location to shoot in, a tide table can literally save your life. There are a few places around where the tide isn’t ‘normal’. Some tides are strange in their behaviour. They may come in from the front and behind at the same time! Be aware of this as this could literally kill you!

Apps I’d recommend having Sunseeker - 3D solar path viewer TPE - Map-centric sun and moon calculator A decent weather app - I’ve found that decent weather apps come and go so fast! I used to use an app called WeathherBug, but I’ve recently deleted it. An app with satellite and radar options are best. GPS tag - I personally use the tag in my phone. It works perfectly and I can see the precise location I took a photo in. Walks/trails/hikes Viewranger is a brilliant app with 1,000s of trail guides, topographic maps, downloadable routes and so much more. Some of it is paid content however, just keep that in mind.

Being super prepared before you go on a shoot is one of the most valuable things you can do. Use all the resources you have availiable to you.

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SILKY SMOOTH WATERS 26


Have you ever taken your camera to the beach or river and wondered how to make the water look beautiful and flowing? Chances are you’ve already tried to photograph water and can barely see the flow or movements. If you really want it to look misty, dreamy like the fine art photos you've seen then read on! There’s not really a secret to how it is done. All you really need is time and a tripod. With a little practice, you can capture these types of photos like a pro. For these kinds of photos to be effective, we need to be able to blur intentionally. The main thing you need to know is this: the longer your camera's shutter is open, the more movement is recorded in the photo. When an image turns out blurry, it's because the shutter was open longer than necessary to freeze the action.

The best subjects for these types of photos tend to stationary objects with water flowing near or around it. Sea water flowing over rocks are a brilliant place to start practicing with. *Remember, if you’re shooting around sea water, know tide times and be aware of incoming tides.* Clearly shooting in Manual mode will give us the best control. But first we need a base exposure to work from. Aperture priority mode will help us. We’ll assume our aperture will be f16. f16 will give us a decent amount of sharpness throughout the frame. Also we’ll have an ISO of 800. You should already be shooting in RAW mode and we’ll have auto white balance so we can play around later.

With f16 and ISO 800 we’ll assume our shutter speed This can be frustrating if is 1/2 a second for a correct you’re trying to get sharp exposure. That’s our base to shots, but for capturing work from. Knowing that flowing water, blurring works to our advantage. The ISO 100 gives us the best blurring is what gives us the image quality we now need to work out how long our feel of motion in the water shutter needs to stay open and/or the ghostly, misty to compensate for the ISO look to it. change. Moving from ISO 800 27


down to 100 is a 3 stop exposure change. (800 - 400 is 1 stop, 400 The next obvious thing we need - 200 is the second stop and 200- to do is use a tripod. With a long 100 is the third stop) exposure, the camera needs to be perfectly still to be able to capture everything the way we want If we want to keep the aperture it. Make sure you use a decent at f16, we need to adjust the tripod and head. A cheap one will shutter speed by 3 stops to keep just frustrate you and put you the exposure the same. (Basic equipment in jeopardy. Also, if exposure triangle). Our shutter you’re shooting in flowing waters speed of 1/2 a second then or windy conditions, be prepared becomes 4 seconds. (1/2 + 1/2 =1, to weigh the tripod down. Taking 1+1=2, 2+2=4). If you’ve worked out 3 stops in the wrong direction a bag of some sorts and filling it with rocks, then hanging it you’ll soon know by having a around the neck or underneath super dark photo! of the tripod will lower it’s centre of gravity, making it much more stable. So now we have our base exposure of ISO 100, f16 at 4 seconds. Now we have our settings and

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camera on a stable tripod, it’s time to sort out the focusing. You’ll compose the photo based on what you think looks best. You may have to lower the tripod to get the best shot. Shooting at f16 will get most of the scene in focus. Take your focus point and place it 1/3 of the way into the scene. Now focus. This will also help get more of the scene in focus.

take the photo. Using live view is another brilliant technique. With live view, the mirror is already lifted. With your camera and lens in manual focus too, you can zoom in onto a specific part of the scene and manually focus until that point is super sharp.

It sounds like alot of work to get a decent shot, doesn’t it! These Once you have focused your pointers will help you get the shot, turn your focus mode from best shots possible with the least autofocus to manual, and don’t amount of headaches. change composition or you’ll Take your shot and review have to focus again. the photo. If you want more movement in the scene, then drag the shutter a little longer. You It’s time to take the shot! We don’t want us taking the photo to may have to make the aperture cause any unintentional blurring. smaller too to keep the exposure the same. Time your photo too. There are a few ways to avoid it If you’re shooting the sea flowing too. A remote or cable trigger is the best option. They allow us to over rocks, you will have to judge take the photo without physically the speed of the sea and time the best point to take the shot. touching the camera. Using the built in timer is another option. Set the timer to take a photo If your photos and coming out 2 or 5 seconds after pressing blurry all over, check the stability the shutter button. Having of your tripod. Remember, any the camera wait before taking movements will be recorded as the photo will ensure that any movements we may have caused motion blur! in pressing the shutter button, will have stopped. That’s about all for that! A few quick points to keep in mind are; keep warm! Slow shutter speeds If your camera has a mirror mean you’ll be standing still for up mode (M-up), try using that periods of time. So make sure too. When a DSLR take a photo, you’re warm and comfortable. the mirror lifts first. Lifting the Be prepared for all weather mirror can cause some minute conditions. Take absorbent towels movements. Having the mirror etc just incase equipment gets out of the way in the first place wet. Be safe! We can’t stress this can help in getting the sharpest enough! Know tide times, animals photo possible. The first press habitats or anything else that may of the shutter button will lift affect your safety. Lastly, and as the mirror. Pressing the shutter always, have fun shooting! button for the second time will 29


What are the differences between: This little beauty is a circular filter. This filter kit allows one to be attached to the system. Generally, these screw into the thread mount of a lens.

This photo is an example of a filter kit. They come in different parts,which allow different filters to be used. This one from Hi tech also allows a screw in filter to be used at the very front of the system.

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F I LT E R S ! p i t Pro

When using a screw on circular polarising filter, always twist the same way as you attach the filter. Twisting the filter even slightly the opposite way can loosen the filter and make it fall off your lens completely.

This strange square thing is a filter holder. Rectangular filters can be slotted into here and stackable too. Usually between 3 and 5 filters can be inserted.

Photo from Hitech

This is called an adapter ring. It screws onto the front of the lens and holds the filter holder on.

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You may have heard of filters for your camera. You may even one. They all have a purpose. But which one does what? Firstly, we’ll cover the fitments. The easiest to use and probably most common type is a screw on filter. As you can probably guess, these have a thread and screw into the front of your lens. Each filter will come in a variety of filter thread sizes so make sure you get the correct one for you lens. The other type of fitment is with the use of a filter kit. The filter kit is picture on the previous pages. There are a few different types of filter kit depending on your lens or camera body itself. The actual filters for filter kits are typically long rectangles. Ones made from glass or a super high grade resign are usually the best quality ones. They are of course, more expensive. Lee filters and Hi tech filters are two amazing quality brands. Now we’ve covered fitments, the actual filter properties are the next place to explore. We’ll briefly touch upon colour filters. These are literally a coloured filter that can correct a white balance or add some artistic flare to your photo, depending on how you choose to use them. A tobacco filter, for example, is a translucent brown filter that adds a warm and earthy brown hues to the photo. Here is a perfect example of a photo where a tobacco coloured filter has been used. As you can see, there is a warm, earthy, brown tone to the photo.

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Polarizing filters are renowned for darkening skies in landscape photos. They were originally designed to cut reflections from things like water. Try using a polarizing filter to see rocks beneath the water or to get rid of a reflection in a window! You’ll be amazed how well they work! The best way to see the effects of a polarizing filter is to stand 90 degrees to the sun. The easiest to use is the circular fitment type. You screw it onto the front of your lens and rotate it until you get the desired result. When it comes to saturating a sky or green land, be aware not to over do it! A little goes along way! Polarizing filters can also be used as an ND filter of sorts if you’re in a pinch. Most tend to cut exposure by 1 - 1.5 stops. Variable filters are convenient for having multiple filter strengths in one package. Again, the most common types are variable ND filters, and come in circular fitment. These generally don’t produce the best image quality Because their construction, they leave a noticeable ‘X’ across the frame. Some less than others though. Videographers make the best use of variable NDs.

Graduated filters have a transition from one exposure level to another. The most common types are ND grads. Some of the filter will be a ND filter and have a transition to clear. These are best for darkening and balancing out a portion of the scene.

Neutral density filters (also known as ND filters) cut out light. They vary in darkness with some being near impossible to see through. For landscape photography, they’re amazing for allowing us to even out the exposure difference between sky and foregrounds. We can also drag out the shutter speed to get ghostly milky waters and skies. The LEE big stopper is amazing for this. It’s a 10 stop filter that cuts out (you guessed it) 10 stops of light! They’re virtually impossible to see through, let alone focus through. So using such a dark filter requires the user to set up the shot and focus, before attaching the filter.

Graduated filters come in hard and soft types. This refers to the transition. A soft graduated filter will have a feathered transition, whereas a hard one has a very defined transition.

Here’s a 1.2 ND filter. See how much of the sky was blown out in the standard exposure!

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Notice that little ND 1.2 marking in the top corner of my ND filter on the page before? Do you know what that stands for? Well, there are a tonne of ND filters around. Each of them blocks light going to your camera’s sensor to a varying degree. There are also different terminologies used by different people, which can create huge confusion. We’ve created a table that’ll help you guys shed some light onto what the different terms mean and how they relate to one another. There are a few other terms, like transmittance, which I don’t think is even worth mentioning. My filter is from a brand called Hi-tech. These guys used the optical density terminology to label their ND filters. If you find the 1.2 in the optical density column and follow it to the left, you’ll see that my 1.2 ND filter cuts out 4 stops of light. This isn’t to say that the f-stop has to be adjusted in camera. Generally the shutter speed is the variable that gets changed. So, lets say our exposure is 1 second. Throwing the 1.2 ND filter on will make us need to adjust our exposure by 4 stops. 1s - 2s (1 stop), 2s - 4s (2 stops), 4s - 8s (3 stops), 8s - 16s (4 stops). Our exposure now becomes 16 seconds to keep the same exposure. Graduated ND filters work in exactly the same way, but with the optical density only applying to ND portion of the filter. Exposure adjustment usually isn’t necessary for graduated ND filters. They pull the exposure down on the part of the photo affected. Usually this will be the sky.

Filter

F-stops

None ND2 Polarizer ND4 ND8 ND16 ND32 ND64 ND1000

0 1 1.5 2 3 4 5 6 10

Shutter speed 1/1000 1/500 1/320 1/250 1/125 1/60 1/30 1/15 1 sec

1/250 1/125 1/80 1/60 1/30 1/15 1/8 1/4 4sec

1/60 1/30 1/20 1/15 1/8 1/4 1/2 1sec 16sec

1/15 1/8 1/5 1/4 1/2 1sec 2sec 4sec 60sec

1/4 1/2 1/0.3 sec 1sec 2sec 4sec 8sec 16sec 4min

1 sec 2sec 3 sec 4sec 8sec 16sec 32sec 60sec 15min

4 sec 8sec 13sec 16 sec 32sec 60sec 2min 4mn 60min

This little able above is a brilliant reference table we’ve made for you guys. Here’s how it works: Choose your base shutter speed, based on your unfiltered exposure. Select the filter you’ll be using, and follow the column across to find your new shutter speed. It’s as easy as that! For example, let’s say your exposure is 1/4 unfiltered, and you’ll be using a ND32 (5 stop filter). Follow the shutter speed across to find your new shutter speed of 8 seconds. 34


ND filter table

F-stop reduction 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 13 1/3 14 15 16 16 2/3 17 18 19 20

Optical density

Filter factor

0.3 0.6 0.9 1.2 1.5 1.8 2.1 2.4 2.7 3.0 3.3 3.6 3.9 4.0 4.2 4.5 4.8 5.0 5.1 5.4 5.7 6.0

2 4 8 16 32 64 128 256 512 1024 (ND1000) 2048 4096 8192 10000 16384 32768 65536 100000 131072 262144 524288 1048576

Keep ‘em clean!!

Here’s how to use this table!

Filters are put on the front of your lens and need to be kept clean! Shooting with small apertures will show any marks on your filters! You’ll save yourself a tonne of headaches if you keep them clean in the first place.

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After

Lightroom is able to open your RAW files. If you try to open them in a photo viewer and are getting a file format error message, it’s probably because that viewer is unable to open RAW files. They first need to be converted to a readable format, like JPEG.

There’s a massive difference between these two photos isn’t there.. As a rule of thumb, expose for the sky. But then we wouldn’t have motion in the water! Thankfully RAW is super powerful!

1 p e t S

Here’s the Lightroom Import dialog box 36

The first step is going to be actually getting your photos! Insert your card into your computer and open Lightroom. The dialogue box should automatically open. If it doesn’t, find the Library tab at the top of the screen and click it. At the bottom left of the screen you should now see and Import button. Click it. Select your photo source, probably a memory cards, and select ADD from the tab at the top of the screen. Check all


Using Lightroom to edit landscapes Before

the photos you’d like to import. On the right hand of the screen, choose a location to import the photos to, then click Import. Once the photos have been imported, they’ll appear in the movie reel at the bottom of the screen. Scroll through and choose an image to edit. Locate the Develop tab at the to of the screen to be taken to the sliders of wonder... (Not a technical term).

Adobe Lightroom is a hugely powerful photo editing and cataloguing program. With a few basic adjustments and a few minutes of time, you can go from a boring bog standard photo, to something that really catches attention. This little guide will take you through the steps to go from the before image, to the after. When you know what you’re doing, the process can be cut down to literally minutes! To get the very most put of you digital files, you should shoot in RAW mode. As you can see from the first shot, there doesn’t look to be much in the way of sky details. However, shooting in RAW allows those details to still be captured! Amazing, right!

A screen grab of the develop module 37


Step 2 Before I start editing the exposure etc, I like to get my crop perfectly straight. To do this, select the crop tool from the adjustment bar. Here you’ll be able to rotate, adjust the size and the position of the crop. I only want to straighten my horizon. Click on the ruler icon, locate the line you’d like to be straight, (in this case it is the horizon), and just click and drag. Lightroom will now straight the photo based on this. Press enter to confirm it.

Step 3 My next step is to clean any dust spots. These can be caused from having a dirty sensor or dirt on the lens. At smaller apertures, they’re very noticeable! Click on the circle icon, the one next to the crop icon. I find it easier to check the “visualize spots” box and adjust the slider until I can clearly see all the spots I want to remove. Change the size of the brush to slightly bigger than the spot that needs removing. I also feather have the feathering set high too. Now it’s just a case of click and let Lightroom do the rest. Usually it does a decent job, but on the occasion when it doesn’t, hover over the source circle and drag it to a different area. Sometimes it also helps to switch between heal and clone modes. 38


Step 4 We’re still yet to touch a basic exposure adjustment! But, that is coming soon, I promise! This step is lens correction. On the right hand side, you’ll see a scrubby vertical bar. Drag it downwards and you’ll see some more options. (Unless they’re collapsed). Locate the bar called “Lens correction” and click on the ‘Profile’ tab. Here we can get rid of purple/green fringing that may have crept in, and sort any distortion with two swift clicks. Check the two boxes labelled ‘Remove chromatic aberration’ and ‘Enable profile corrections’. If the corrections aren’t automatically applied, you can find your lens in the dropdown menu. Select your lens and voilà, a corrected photo! Got to love Lightroom!

Step 5 Now for the fun stuff! Let’s edit the exposure of the photo. Our main sliders we have to play with are; White balance (temperature and tint), Exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, clarity, vibrance and saturation. I personally always hit the auto button, located under the WB box, first. I like to see how Lightroom would edit the photo before I touch it. In this situation it sucked. There’s no right way to edit a photo, it’s a case of pull sliders around until you get something that looks half decent.

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Step 6 As you can see, the exposure in the sky is very hot in this shot, and needs to be toned down. I could have dealt with this before the previous step, but I’d rather get the global adjustments done first. I know there is detail hidden away, it’s just a case of drawing it out. In the previous step, I pulled the highlights down to -100, which helped. But It wasn’t enough. Lightroom has a brilliant gradient tool built into it. It is selectable from the adjustment bar, and applied with a click and drag. In my case, I clicked around halfway down the sky and dragged to the horizon. I added a tiny amount of blue to the sky by dropping the temperature slider by -4. I lowered the exposure slider to -2.35 and the highlights to -28.

Step 7 To help give the photo more dimensionality and appear less flat, we’ll now dodge and burn the photo. Dodging and burning involves brightening the highlights and darkening the shadows very subtly. In this shot, we’ll grab an adjustment brush from the adjustment tool bar, set the exposure to around 0.12, and paint over surf breaking on the rocks. I selected a new brush and did the same thing for the lightest section 40


of clouds. Another new brush with a -0.12 exposure to paint over darken section of sea. Getting the idea now? With another brush I set around 0.25 exposure and a +6 in temperature to increase the yellow tones, then paint over the water break. One more final brush paints over the middle of the sky,with a -30 highlight, =2 temperature and +15 tint, to add a little warmth.

Step 8

The last step in editing the photo is the sharpening. Lightroom has an awesome section for this too. There are a few sliders here, but I only really use the amount and the masking sliders. The higher you take the amount slider, the sharper the photo gets..To a point. After a point, the photo gets a little ‘crispy’ and weird artefacts appear. If you get to this point, back off slightly. Sharpening is a global adjustment. In most cases, I don’t like it to be global. This is where masking slider comes into play. Holding in the ALT key before sliding will turn the screen black. As you increase the masking, white areas will appear. There now becomes the areas sharpening gets applied to. In my shot, I didn’t want sharpening to be applied to the sky or water. Below is the final shot. As you can see, the photo has come quite a distance from the first shot. The workflow Used to achieve the shot is quite basic, but very effective,and

the one I use for every edit I do in Lightroom. It’s also super fast too. The beauty of Lightroom is everything is non destructive. If you choose to change the white balance of the photo at the end, for example, you can do so! Mastering Lightroom will dramatically improve your photography potential!

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UV filters..? Are they snakeoil?

This is a subject up for debate with opinions dividing photographers everywhere! Each photographer you ask would tell you their reason for or against them. Some with strong opinions. I’ll give you a few reasons for and against them, then it’s up for you guys to decide for yourselves.. 42


When we buy a brand new lens and the first thing we get asked is if we want a UV filter for it. For most beginner photographers, it’s a no brainer. The sales person tells us it’ll protect our £600 lens. And we believe them! It sounds like extra guaranteed protection! Our lens is now bulletproof. Right? Especially since it has cost us an extra £60 (or something) for the pleasure. Let’s start with what they do and why they’re good. UV stands for Ultra Violet. These filters are designed to block the Ultra violet rays produced by the sun before they reach our camera sensor, and therefore ‘protect them’. UV rays can cause a few problems with our camera sensors. Namely colour balance or haze. An optical lens infront of the camera sensor blocks a huge amount of UV rays, leaving only around a small amount of those rays unblocked. These remaining rays can be blocked with a filter. The only other real benefit of having a UV filter on your lens is it’s ability to physically stop things touching the front of your lens. With their relative inexpensiveness, if one gets damaged they’re an easy and cheap replacement. Now for my reasons against UV filters. This is the main reason people don’t use them; You’ve paid sometimes in excess of £1,000 for a lens. The lens itself has special micro coatings to make it perform the best it could possibly be. Putting a UV filter in front of all that goodness makes all the special stuff seem a little bit pointless. It’s similar to having a beautiful expensive lens and then going to shoot through a window! This is especially true with the cheap UV filters. I’ve also personally never been in a situation were UV rays have had any impact on my photos. The only time I’ve actually used on is in the rain and situations where there are flying particles in the air. It was just an extra layer of protection for the lens. Another reason for me not buying them is the varying sizes. They come in lens thread size, so if you have a few 62mm lens threads, it’s not so bad. You can transfer them to the others. But the more different 43


sizes you have, the more you have to buy. Plus, the bigger the thread the more expensive the filter. As you can tell, I’m really not an advocate for UV filters. There will be other pros around that love them and won’t leave the house without them. I personally hate them. That is my own opinion though. All I will say is if you’re thinking of getting one, spend a little more money and get a high quality one. I would recommend spending your hard earned money on a circular polarizing filter or a ND filter. They will still protect your lens and serve a dual purpose! A decent polarizing filter won’t affect your exposure much either! Check out Kenko filters. While they may be expensive, they’re going to be (hopefully) one off purchases. My circular polarizing filter cost me £160 but has lasted 5 years so far. You can even write on the filter with a ballpoint pen and not damage it! Kenko filters can be found at: http://www.kenkoglobal.com/photo/ filters/

Excuse the dirty UV filter, you can see I rarely touch it. But look at all that refraction! More glass means more refraction.. Which turns into more glare, and lower quality photos! 44


GOLDEN HOUR / MAGIC HOUR What is it? And why do so many photographers choose to shoot in this light?

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If you’ve read any photography article or seen a video on landscape photography, you’ll have surely heard of magic hour/golden hour. But do you know what it is? It’s around an hour of time space where the sun has fully risen and is beautifully low in the sky or hasn’t fully set yet. This hour gives a wonderful golden hue to everything it’s light touches. Due to how low the sun is in the sky, the light is also really directional. The shadows it casts are long and soft, without huge levels of contrast. Most landscape photographers will not shoot in anything other than golden hour. So if you can only shoot an hour a day, what can you do for the rest of the time? OK, while most landscape photographers won’t shoot in anything other than golden hour, that doesn’t mean you can’t! Try shooting some grungy cityscape photos when the light becomes harsh and use that contrast to your advantage. If you decide to become a hard-core landscape photographer though, you could scout new locations in the time between sunrise and sunsets. Or how about shooting at twilight? Twilight happens just before sunrise and just after sunset. The sun is just below the horizon and turns the sky into beautiful shades of blues, purples and pinks. GOLDEN LIGHT IS SOFT. REALLY SOFT! To make the most out of Golden hour / Golden light, you really have to do a little pre-planning. Being up and out before sunrise, or staying out until way past dinner time is the only way you’ll see this beautiful light. Consulting sun rising and setting times will give you the best chance of being in the right place at the right time. It’s good practice to get to your location at least half an hour before golden hour. That way you’ll be that little bit more prepared! 46


! p Ti Your white balance will affect how

‘golden’ the light is in your photo too! Use a cloudy white balance setting to really make the photo warmer. This works especially well if there isn’t much warm light in the scene before you. Don’t worry too much if you forget to do this on location because white balance is very easy to adjust in post processing if you shoot in RAW. (It’s still possible in JPEG but it’s no where near as easy). Keep in mind, that while this technique of warming the photo is awesome, but if you use it when the light is harsh, it’ll be obvious to the viewer.

Advice from the pros To take beautiful photos of beautiful landscapes, you need to put yourself infront of beautiful landscapes. This may seem like a complete no brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people expect to have these amazing photos from only taking their dog for a walk down the local park. Depending on your local park, you may end up with some beautiful photos. But, does your park have a waterfall? How about a canyon? We’re not saying that without those things you’re not going to have great photos. However, hone your skills at your local

park. Experiment with different exposures, shutter drags etc, so when you put yourself infront of an amazing scene, you’ll be fully prepared. You will need to take yourself to the beautiful locations at some point though. This may involve skipping a family holiday, putting off buying a new lens, or another form of sacrifice. Just image showing everybody your photo of the black beaches in Iceland with pride... You will not regret it!

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This photo location has huge potential and a tiny bit of working the scene could have made this good photo, into an amazing photo. What we have is an awesome foreground and leading line, an atmospheric sky and a white building that could be manipulated to draw the viewer in. The problem is that the building is in the centre of the frame. The vibe I’m getting from this photo is fine art. The colours that already are present aren’t anything special. They’re nice, but ‘nice’ doesn’t cut it. So going down a black and white route with a little toning feels right. I notice a sheer lack of contrast in the scene. That sky could look mean! Those rocks could look textured and sharp and really lead our eyes in. But at the moment, they don’t. Knowing we’re going down the black and white route too, we can really push the contrast too! A decent clean up of the photo is also needed. We have a random boat poking in on the left edge of the frame and a few distractions in the sea near the building. Maybe we’ll smooth the sea slightly too..

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Here, you can see the edit we’ve done to the previous photo. It looks like quite a drastic change doesn’t it, but in-fact it was only the few steps we mentioned before. We cleaned up the distractions that were ringed in the previous photo, extended the frame so the horizon line now sits on the lower third of the frame, and turned the photo into a black and white. Lastly, a little dodging and burning to bring a little dimensionality to the rocks and add a little vignette. That’s all! Those few steps make a huge difference, right? From looking at the original photo, I already had an idea of which direction to take it. Having a rough vision in mind of the direction you want to take a photo will help you save time in the editing process.

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Removing small distractions in Photoshop is easy to do with the spot healing brush. Just create a new layer, select the spot healing tool and tick the “sample all layers� box. Make the brush a little bigger than the blemish you want to remove and click. To extend the sky, I grabbed the crop tool and dragged the top of the photo upwards. This left a little black rectangle. Using the rectangle marquee tool, I dragged over the black box to select it and then content aware filled it. A few little tweaks with the spot healing brush and it was finished! The photo was desaturated and contrast was added as a global adjustment. A very slight blur was added to the sea by duplicating the layer, adding a 30px Gaussian blur and masking the sea off. Layer opacity was dropped to around 30%. Dodging and burning with curves layers was simple. Create a new curves layer and drag the center of the line diagonally upwards. Now invert the layer. Create another and drag the line diagonally downwards. Invert this too. Click the black layer mask, select the brush tool and paint on the mask with a white brush an low opacity. Set the blend modes to soft light. A blue filter was finally added to the photo with a very low layer opacity. 51


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C omposition 54

~The rule of thirds ~Leading lines ~Using horizons ~Engaging foregrounds


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RULE OF THIRDS

You can set a rule of thirds grid to show through the viewfinder of most cameras with an EvF!

If there is only one technique you ever learn, make sure it’s the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds will give you the skill to deliberately balance or unbalance your photos, depending on the feeling you are trying to elicit.

WHAT IS THE RULE OF THIRDS? The rule of thirds is a compositional technique which involves dividing our photo up equally, using 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines, as shown. (Think tic tac toe or naughts and crosses) We position the important elements in our scene along those lines, or at the points where they intersect. (Also known as power points) The rule of thirds is probably the most useful composition techniques in photography. It’s an important concept to learn

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as it can be used in all types of photography to produce beautifully balanced and engaging photos. You will probably notice the rule of thirds in practice in most landscape photos. Of course, rules should never be applied blindly, particularly in art. So you should think of it more as a handy “rule of thumb” rather than one that’s set in stone. However, it will produce a pleasing photo more often than not, and is an excellent starting point for any composition.


The best way to learn ih s! which compositions work

t is experimentation. y Take your subject and try r T placing the horizon in the middle of the frame. Now, change the composition so the horizon rests on the lower third of the photo. Again, change the composition so the horizon rests on the top third of the photo. See which shot makes for the most pleasing horizon placement.. Next, choose a subject in the scene (a rock for example)., and place it on a power point. Take a shot. Reposition the subject onto a different power point and take the shot again. Repeat this until all power points have been used. Review your photos after. You’ll probably find one or two of the photos stand out more than the others.

If it feels right, it probably is... Sometimes you’ve got to go with your gut feeling and how the photo makes you feel. If your composition makes you feel uncomfortable or awkward, chances are that that’s the exact same feelings your viewer will have. Change up your composition until you get the feeling you’re trying to give off. Similarly, if your composition feels right, then go for it. You could have balanced the scene out perfectly without even realizing!

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Leading lines

Leading lines are one of the most effective and under-utilised compositional tools available to photographers. They’re used to draw a viewers attention to a specific part of the frame, whether it’s a person, or a vanishing point in the background of the frame.

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Our eyes are naturally drawn along lines and paths in photos, as they tend to make us feel as if we’re standing within the photo itself. It’s important to understand how to use leading lines effectively, because if they’re used incorrectly, they will be more detrimental than anything.


Where are your leading lines directing your viewer? This is the all important question that needs to be asked. If the answer is ‘nowhere in particular’, or, ‘out of the frame without going through the frame’, then you may want to rethink your approach. Leading lines should be used to guide your viewer through the photo.

While this photo is beautiful, the road going from the bottom righthand corner is lighter than most of the scene. This grabs your attention and acts like an achor point. The anchor point keeps drawing you attention back to this one area. The rest

Leading lines can take many forms. In a city area, looks for buildings or roads to lead your viewer through the frame. In nature, rivers, hills, and natural dirt paths are brilliant places to start! Practice taking photos using leading lines and review them, paying close attention to where the lines take you.

How to Incorrectly Use Leading Lines

of the photo fights for attention. The road is also a leading line, taking the viewer’s attention up and out of the frame, without fully exploring the photo. 59


Engaging foregrounds The physical depth we experience in real life can easily be lost in our photography. We can create the illusion of depth with a strong and engaging foreground.

foreground subjects are generally used to convey depth. A subject in our foreground can make our 2 dimensional photo appear 3 dimensional. When working with landscapes, Our natural urge when shooting divide the photo into 3 sections. photos tend to be getting a clear A foreground, a middle ground shot of the main subject without and a background. The example anything getting between it and below with the drift wood has the our lens, a beautiful sunset and driftwood as a foreground, the sky for example. It’s exactly that surf and little island to the right which make foreground elements of the frame as middle ground, so powerful and engaging though. and the horizon and skyline as They’re unexpected and if used background. correctly they make for huge Thinking of splitting the scene up visual impact. Depending on the this way will allow you to assess foreground subject, they can be whether your photo is lacking an used to lead the viewers eye into element or not. Not all scenes can a photo, give context or as an be split this way though. Some anchor point for the viewer to scenes will literally be foreground keep coming back to. and background. In landscape photography

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What do these three photos have in common? Their foregrounds all add depth to the photos. By using an element close to the photographer, they have created visual interest, anchor points for the viewer’s eye and leading lines that guide us into the frame.

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WHAT MAKES FOR A GOOD FOREGROUND? The foreground should contain a key point of interest with something near to you. This may mean adding something to the scene yourself or changing your perspective by lowering or raising your camera to include elements within and around the frame.

foregrounds too as too many foreground elements may appear chaotic.

Foregrounds aren’t always physical objects though! They can be shadows, shapes or just simple lines painted a road. Foregrounds that form lines or implied paths With seascapes, a good foreground to your subject are especially to look out for is rocks, drift effective. These foreground wood, seaweed etc. It’s also good elements then double as leading idea to try and seek out singular lines too!

This photo is a brilliant example of a foreground not being used effectively. The jetty on the water’s edge would have made for a brilliant foreground element, especially with lowering the camera too.

photo r u o y s e o D lacking ’s t i e k i l l fee ? Try something round g e r o f a g addin element! 62

A foreground element is only beneficial if it adds impact to a photo. If it doesn’t help tell a story or distracts our viewer’s attention away then it needs removing

from the photo. A decent foreground should be an important part of a scene and make the photo more engaging and create impact.


Horizon lines

Another important but often widely misunderstood composition element are horizon lines. People with no concept horizon lines will tend to place the smack in the centre of the photo. This isn’t wrong, but with deliberate understanding and placement we can add a whole lot more energy to our photo. Horizon lines physically split the photo. Well executed splits bring a comforting and balanced feel to the photo.

Generally, the rule with horizon lines is the place them on either the top or bottom third of the photo. Ideally running along the horizontal line of our rule of thirds grid. How to chose where to place your horizon? Usually this can be very simple to answer, and the question you have to ask yourself is “What do I want to emphasise more?”. Let’s say you’re at a beach and the sea is very bland and calm. The sky however is 63


a different story.. The sky looks like it’s on fire with dense pink clouds, sun rays and a beautiful orange glow. It would make no sense to give this amazing sky just a single third of the photo. Taking just a photo of the sky though looks very amateur and anybody can do it. So we work the scene a little. At the very least we take a photo with both the beach and the sky present to add visual interest and a sense of purpose. What if we now lower the cameras perspective closer to the ground and gave the beach/sea only the bottom third of the frame and gave the

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upper two thirds to the sky? We’re going to have a photo that now looks and feels more balanced and professional. For scenes that warrant symmetry, like a lake reflecting skies/mountains,a centre placed horizon line works best. Placing the horizon line off centre in these types of photos will give off a very tense vibe. This is fine if that’s the feel you’re going for. It’s this deliberate working the scene and getting a feel for the photos you take that’ll make you a better photographer.


O R P

! P I T

Small apertures are not always needed for getting everything in focus in landscape photos. With shots like the one below, the closest focus point is so far away that you could probably shoot this at f2.8 and get everything in focus! I threw a few numbers into a DoF calculator and it basically shows the same as what I said! The near limit means nothing to us as our subject is 150m away!

f2.8

f16 Subject distance

150 m

150 m

Depth of field

Depth of field Near limit 1.29 m Far limit Infinity Total Infinite In front of subject Behind subject

Subject distance

Near limit

7.02 m

Far limit

Infinity

Total Infinite 148.7 m Infinite

In front of subject

143 m

Behind subject

Infinite

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RAINY DAY PROJECTS In this editions Rainy Day Projects, we get in amongst the rain itself! Kind of... Rain rain go away, come again another day? You’d think that shooting landscapes in the wet weather is a bad idea... And you’d kinda be right. Camera gear and water doesn’t really mix well. That being said, rainy stormy weather can make for the best photos around. If you’re brave enough and suitably prepared, you can capture a huge variety of dramatic scenes. Just be know you’ll probably get soaked through. What we’re going to focus on though is still getting some awesome photos with next to no risk of getting damp. The adventurous among you can even go outside for this one too! Very simply and most importantly we’re looking for cover from the wet weather. This could be a bus shelter Another idea is kind of cheating. We wait until the rain has stopped and dash outside. Puddles will become beautiful reflective opportunities. Try lowering your camera height to get close to the ground and watch how the reflections change. Experiment with shutter speeds too. A long shutter speed will create light trails. With the shot shown, it was pretty much just that. It was shot with a wide open aperture and lots of out of focus areas. The random 66


What to do if your gear gets wet: Firstly turn the offending item off immediately. This will help prevent any circuits from shorting out. Secondly remove all batteries, cards, cables etc attached. If it’s a camera with lens attached then remove the lens too. Pat dry as much as possible with lint free absorbent towels. DO NOT wipe! Wiping will push moisture into cracks and crevices. Hopefully it isn’t salt water you’ve dropped gear in otherwise you’ll have to get the salt water out fast! While this may seem wrong, the fastest way to get salt water out is a brief clean water bath. Around 5 seconds will do. Salt water will literally erode the insides of equipment and eat the coating on the front of a lens. Seriously, salt water is an a** and needs removing! Dry slowly. You’ve heard about the dry with rice trick right? Well that’s what we’re going to do. Fill a bag with rice and place your gear in there. If it’s a camera then make sure nothing is touching the sensor. Seal the bag and leave the gear and rice in a warm place. The longer the better. A week minimum will give the best chance of drying out. Trying to activate gear too early will short circuits and leave you with expensive paperweights. Accidents may be covered in your gear’s warranty. Contact the manufacturer for support.

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street lights and traffic lights make for beautiful bokeh. We could have made the bokeh balls an entirely different shape by using the technique shown below. It takes a very little amount of effort but the results are well worth it!

! S I H TRY T

Lets say we want the bokeh to be a star shape. We could use post processing software, for example AlienSkin Exposure. Scroll through the bokeh filters and choose whichever takes your fancy. We can do this in camera though... Take a piece of card and cut it to the same size and shape as the front of your lens. Now, draw a shape, in this case a star, and cut it out. Stick it to the front of your lens and shoot with a wide aperture. You should find that your circle bokeh will now become stars!

Going out and shooting the wet weather at night creates opportunities for beautiful colours and reflections. I personally love the colour! It draws me in like a magpie. But for colour! If you look around a little, you’ll see people with umbrellas, seeking shelter or running to escape the weather. Try using the blur of somebody running to creative effect. Look out for reflections in puddles. Take the background shot for example. It has been shot through what looks like a bus stop. The clear material holds the water droplets beautifully. They create a natural vignette by refracting the light, which adds huge visual interest. To get a good exposure without blowing out the whole photo, the shutter speed had to be quite fast. The fast shutter speed freezes the water droplets and casts the person holding the umbrella into a silhouette. It gives an eerie and cold feel to this photo. You’ll see opportunities everywhere if you step out and brave the rain, or check it out when it has finished!

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Be Careful!

Camera gear and water don’t mix well at all. Always take precautions to avoid contact with water.

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YELLOW ADVANCE, BLUE RECEDES Colour can affect the feeling of depth in your photos! Changing white balance makes a global adjustment. But did you know you can paint in white balance selectively ? Read on to find out how, and why you’d want to! This shot is clearly on the cooler end of white balance. There’s also very little depth in the shot. It could do with warming.

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You can see here the areas ringed have been affected with a selective adjustment brush. Yellow rings have had warmer tones added. Blue rings have had cooler tones added. We’ve gone super subtle with the cool tones, literally adjusting them by a couple of points.

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Just as the article title suggests, yellow advances and blue recedes. Using colour can suggest proximity in your photos! There’s a little more to it than that though.; Based on colour theory, warm colours, such as reds, yellows and oranges, have longer wavelengths than cooler colours. It’s these longer wavelengths our eyes adjust to when focusing on colour. That’s as fair as I’ll go into colour theory here. It’s brief. but all we really need to know is the warmer tones are more eyecatching and appear closer to us in the photo. Selectively warming areas of your photos will make them appear physically closer to your viewer. Conversely, cooler colours make parts of a photo feel more distant. So why wouldn’t we make the whole photo the same colour tone to really make it stand out? Contrast. Contrast and the difference of tones (whether it’s colour contrast or tonal contrast), is the thing that really grabs our attention. Flat images lack contrast. Having a photo the same colour tone will also make it flat. Take our original photo; it’s very cool and similar in blue tone. This makes it flat. We pulled it into Lightroom and make a few select adjustments. Firstly,

increasing the white balance to a slightly warmer setting increases the colour contrast and makes for a more interesting shot. I wanted the buildings in the foreground to appear closer to our viewer too. A quick adjustment brush it a slight warmer temperature helped me to achieve this. The sun appearing on the horizon clearly needed to be warmer too. It is the sun after all. With a new adjustment brush, I painted over the area to enhance the warmth. Lastly, a tiny warmth was added to the field and cloud around the horizon, and that was all the warmth added! Changing the white balance globally essentially got rid of all the blue in the shot. With the same technique above, I got an adjustment brush with a very low amount of blue temperature, and painted over the horizon on the left of the shot. It creates a subtle but effective contrast between the buildings and the background, really adding a sense of depth to the shot that wasn’t there before. With any technique, the effectiveness is usually in the subtlety. Don’t go in heavy handed, otherwise it’ll be obvious. It’s best to build up the colour in lots of little stages, and to regularly check your progress against the original shot.

Warmer tones are more eyecatching

Here’s the orignal mage again. We’ve put it on this page for easy reference for you guys.

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5 Next issue

Getting the very most out of whatever you’ve got!

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PhotoMappers Issue 4, The landscape issue.  

Improve your photography. Instantly, with issue 4 of Photomappers magazine. We teach you guys thing to take your landscape photography to th...

PhotoMappers Issue 4, The landscape issue.  

Improve your photography. Instantly, with issue 4 of Photomappers magazine. We teach you guys thing to take your landscape photography to th...

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