Think of the last major landmark you’ve been to. Maybe it’s Yosemite Valley. Now think about the first picture that pops into your head from there. I’ll bet you thought of Ansel Adam’s Tunnel View image. So what makes his photo different from the thousands of other photographs taken there? For this particular image, it’s the high depth of field as well as Adam’s post processing techniques. So how can you make your landscape photographs look unique? Here are five tips and techniques I use every day to create unique and memorable landscapes!
- Long Exposure – One of the main techniques I use is to put my camera on a tripod and if it’s during the day, utilize a three stop neutral density filter. I then set the shutter speed of my camera to a long 30 second exposure. This technique creates a more painterly style of photograph. Here’s a shot from Zion National Park that I shot using this method.
- Perspective – One of the biggest choices a photographer has to make is where to take a specific image. Perspective is everything! Ever seen San Francisco from a small plane? Well it’s quite the experience and it will not just give you great photos, but you’ll also be able to tell your friends that you didn’t use a drone for the shot. Here’s an image I captured while in a Cessna 172 aircraft above Downtown San Francisco.
- Time of Day – So the sun has set and everyone else has left the park. There’s no more light so it’s useless to stick around and keep photographing right? Well, you’d be surprised to know that with the right settings you’ll be able to create some incredible images at night! You’ll definitely need to use a long exposure and maybe even a higher ISO, but the images you create on a moonlit night will knock your socks off! Here’s an image of San Francisco from Treasure Island that I created on a moonlit night.
- High Dynamic Range (HDR) – Although many think this style of photography has gotten a bad wrap for it’s overuse and crazy contrast-y images; with a slightly more subtle approach, HDR is one of the best ways to make your landscapes look incredible. It requires you to take anywhere from 2-6 images with different exposures accounting for the foreground, middle ground, and background/sky. You then take these images into photoshop and merge them together! Stay tuned for an in depth post about this technique. Here’s a HDR image I created of Frankfurt Germany!
- Atmosphere/Weather – Blue skies are fantastic when you’re out trying to sunbathe at Dolores Park, but it’s the bane of landscape photographers everywhere. A blue block in the sky is generally not conducive to a great landscape. Despite not being able to control the weather like we can control our camera settings and perspective, being weather savvy can help you get some incredible photographs. Partly cloudy skies during sunset or even midday can add that extra punch of contrast to make your image just that much better. Here’s a shot of the Yaquina Bay Bridge shrouded by a mysterious looking fog bank.
Well, that’s about it for this week folks. Hopefully, with these five tips and techniques you’ll be able to get out there and create some incredible images on your next photo adventure! Don’t forget to stop by my portfolio website Nate Bernardo Photo to check out more of my work from around the world. Get out there and keep making new memories, new friends, and amazing images!