Guide to landscape photography: Equipment, adjustments, metering, ISO, tips …


“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer—and often the supreme disappointment” Ansel Adams (1902-1984).

Scenery is the most popular photo topic, most people take photos. The more famous the photo, the more people look for, making the famous as it is famous, and the latter the harder it is to create something more beautiful, more new. Static scenes do not move, so the photographer has a lot of time to consider the angle of shooting, frame arrangements, mechanical adjustment … and can shoot landscape year round as well as anywhere. So, the landscape is a lot, very rich, from the difference of light to change weather, seasonal colors, to richness by the effect of different focal lengths. Therefore, because the landscape is so rich, the photographer always has a technical challenge to show the image is new to the other.

Nikon D3 – 24mm – Bhutan​

These sharing are just basic directions for new friends. Flexible use of device control techniques, lighting, perspective to capture the frame as you like. It is important that you want to capture what it takes to capture it.

  • Focus lens
    • A 35mm lens on a full-frame camera is the most common tube for landscape shots. There are a lot of authors shooting with only 35mm tubes throughout the movie. More later, more wide-angle lenses, often very expensive, are used for landscape shots with 28mm, 24mm, 20mm or larger focal lengths for wider frame rates. But, always remember that the wider the angle of the lens, the distortion effect and the tilt of the lines in the image as it appears, especially at the edge and at the 4 corners of the photo frame. The closer the line to the edge, the more curved the bulge, the lines that do not pass through the center will be distorted as the distance is closer. It is noted when selecting lens focus to capture the landscape.
  • Special wide-angle lenses, such as 12mm or 15mm lenses, are those that specialize in lens grinding, bending straight lines of light as they pass through to minimize distortion. But usually the cost of these tubes is very expensive, and also limits the application in practice. Except for those who have a need to implement a particular project. And, I see the solution for the wide angle is 20mm, or maneuver is the zoom 10-22mm, 16-35mm, 17-40mm, 17-55mm …
Canon 6D 15mm – Lak Daklak​
  • Another note is that the four-corner phenomenon occurs with wide-angle tubes and telephons sometimes due to multiple filters (ND, for example) or by attaching the hood (sunshield) too long, not suitable for the target. The lens, the filter ring and the speaker cover partially cover the corners of the photo frame to make the four corners black. Do not attach multiple filters at the same time, using a suitable sunshield. Also, if you add a lot of filters to create some effect for the image, open a large mouth a little, the larger the angle, the less the less. The last solution is to accept the corner, to go home edit.
Nikon D200 ND+3
  • Using a narrow angle tube at a distance or taking close-up subjects with wide-angle tubes also create a different focal effect according to the intention. When telephoning a tree with a narrow angle (tele), the layers of trees will be as short as the distance between them, the layers close together. If taken with a wide angle tube, the scene is torn out, or the bulge out effect with another intention.
  • Metering
    • Landscape photos are usually heaven and earth. It should be measured in the ground and then increase + + -EV 1-2 times usually give the light effect and scene details are relatively harmonious between the sky and the land. The usual aperture ranges from f / 8 to 16 depending on the light at the time of shooting.
    • In contrast, want to create a shadow (silhouette) for the object at the horizon, the light in the sky. The stronger the silhouette, the stronger the shutter speed or 1-2 stop shutter speed.

  • Note that if the scene has a strong reflecting surface like sand dunes, the beach is empty, do not follow the metering of the camera, as it is only accurate when the frame areas have contrast in average only. Shut up or speed up the shutter 1-2 stops.
  • Right or right?
  • The most common metering mode when shooting in wide landscapes is matrix / multizone metering. But a bright picture is sometimes not unique. Take more pictures with + – EV different to choose the right one, and also draw more experience next time.

  • ISO – light sensitivity
    • The higher the ISO sensitivity, the more likely the noise is. Think of the ISO that depends on the context of the shoot. If you want the landscape to have the maximum detail from near to far, use the ISO sensitivity as low as possible, so that the image is smooth and sharp. But, using low sensitivity, shooting at slow shutter speeds, except for the blazing scene, when a slight breeze passes through, the foliage in the picture is prone to blurry detail. So, depending on the context you have chosen ISO suitable.

  • Today’s digital cameras give you the quality of your images without distractions from ISO100-400. This ISO range can be used for effective landscape shots in general. With high ISO black and white images are easy to create emotional atmosphere for the landscape, especially the old mosaic ruins, desolate uphill … high ISO makes the image less smooth, noise increases visual nostalgia, thorny, horrible …

  • Golden light
    • There is no color filter that can compare to the effect of the golden light of the dawn, everything is warmed up, brilliant, full of impression. Although the sea or the mountains as well as the city, everything highlights the lines, the shape of the block, the contrast of light and dark … Shoot fast, because in just a few minutes, this kind of special light. gradually turning white. Late afternoon, the scene also warm colors, but gradually turned to purple when the sun set.
  • What to shoot?
    • Before sunrise, the light is very green, gradually moving very quickly dye pink at sunrise. At this light is not strong enough, can capture the silhouette of mountains, trees, urban buildings, people living … But sunset when the sun goes down, the opposite, the sky reflects clouds to create effects mixed red color, orange is also the background for shooting good silhouette.

  • Focus on infinity, spot on the sun and shoot! If you want to get more details of the land or water, open 1-2 more or reduce speed 1-2 steps. Or can shoot shutter speed slow 5 – 15 seconds, attach the camera to the tripod, the scene with clouded fanciful fuzzy blur.

  • When shooting with wide-angle lens, the whole sky is captured, but the sun is small. Wide angle if the foreground is unique, the clouds flying brilliant, and the empty scene, the wide angle tube is very difficult to impress the unique image. At this point it is possible to use a long lens (tele of 100mm or above) for a larger, larger shape in the composition, but too narrow, only the sun and some clouds around without any background. hard to say what.

  • DOF
    • Depending on the focal length of the lens, the depth of field will give the image no longer look like the eyes in the scene. With average lenses, the field depth is almost the same as the viewfinder, but with telephoto lenses (focal lengths), the field depth is narrowed, with background images closer to the scene, layers strands close together; while with wide-angle lens, the depth of the field is far removed, the image is far behind the scene, the space feels broader than the reality.
Same place, I took 2 plates with 2 different aperture open. Magnifying glass on f / 8, under open f / 2.8

  • About the lens aperture:
    • Large aperture = small F number = thin / shallow DOF.
    • Small aperture = large F number = deep DOF / thick.
  • About the lens focus:
    • The longer the lens length, the more thin the DOF.
    • The shorter the focus, the deeper the DOF.
  • About the distance from the camera to the subject:
    • The closer a lens is to the subject, the less the DOF is.
    • The farther away, the greater the depth of the DOF.

  • Frames
    • Frames: The camera has many frame rates: 2 x 3 as a film, 3 x 4, 1 x 1 (square film like 6 x 6 film) 9 x 16 … Horizontal frame is the frame used. It is easy to shoot with the eyes. Try moving the same scene to the vertical frame, naturally the eyes focus on the bottom of the frame, the position where the subject is emphasized. The vertical frame requires more texture than the horizontal frame. Many themes are suitable for horizontal frames, and many themes are only suitable for vertical frames. The use of theme stars is emphasized and prominent in the composition of the context components.

  • Photographers increasingly reject the classic rules of composition in order to seek creative, more subjective thinking. Follow the law if it works; If not, then ignore and go your own way. The layout is what people “see” and “think”, unique and unique, so it is important to “see” and what you “think”. The composition appears to meet the need for the moment that the photographer feels appropriate to record and convey the content or meaning of the situation.

  • Sub-topic
    • Background
    • The back part is the background of the theme. The background should not have the color, shape, brightness … similar to the theme, making the topic confused with the background, no matter what the subject and what is the background. People suggest ways:
      • Use light to separate the vision to distinguish the subject and background, seeing that it is lighter or darker than the other that separates the subject from the background and the background. See the following picture will see the topic sheet sunk in the background.
      • Use a large aperture to darken the background and make the subject stand out, creating an impression of depth or nearness between the main subject and the background with a faint and clear contrast.

  • Lia to clarify the main subject moving with the background, clear subject on background blur background or blurred background and also create impressive motion pictures.
  • Set the theme on the backdrop of neutral colors, not showy, highlighting details that affect eye focus. The sky is supposed to be neutral and easiest to do.

The old town through steam-filled windows. I shoot a lot, according to the melting of water on the glass that has a lot of interesting frames.

  • Landscape
  • The background symbolizes closeness and the background describes the distances of space. When choosing to emphasize the foreground or background is the photographer wants to express a particular intention.
    • Tilt up/down to get more/less foreground.
    • Using a telephoto lens reduces the depth of the image, using wide to emphasize the foreground.
    • Use a foreground object to create near-contrast/image depth.

  • Cloud
  • When shooting outdoors, watch the sky apart from focusing on things, people, things going on underground. The sky has a very powerful effect on the visual impression. And, the timing of shooting different skies will have different visual effects. Choosing the angle and timing of the clouds is a good thing.

  • Unsophisticated
    • Of course, there are many more lenses to focus the landscape to add more diversity, novelty, but avoid too much use too little. The budget should not be too heavy on the device. Many photos are successful with just one camera and medium wide angle lens (35mm). Not too demanding a camera and a 28mm or 35mm lens is fun enough to go everywhere.
    • If you buy a filter, you should buy a CPL (polariser), ND cutter, and tripod to capture the sunset or dawn with slow shutter speed, a tripod is a necessary tool. Eye-sighting is a must do.