Landscape Photography Depends Heavily on the Nature Conditions
Landscape photography depends heavily on the weather and other nature conditions that shape the landscape. The nature conditions at the time of taking the shot can have a great impact on the resulting picture.
Sunrise and Sunset
Sunsets are probably the most (over) photographed subject out there. However, in the first and last light of the day, a landscape can look so much more dramatic, with very warm colours, so that every landscape photographer should give this time of the day special thought. And attention of course! If you read my Wildlife Photography section you will know how I feel about ACTION!
Often we are so enthralled by the beauty of the setting sun that we forget to look around. If you look at the landscape opposite the sun, you will see that it is (almost always) lit up in a warm glow. Now add an interesting landmark, mountain, or other feature, and very often you will have a pleasing photograph. Since I first learned this, my landscape photography improved in heaps and bounds. I suggest that you look around next time you are watching sun go down. If it is not overcast that is. Boy do I sometimes despise those clouds! Unless they bring good rains…
At dusk the same dust particles that cause that magic glow at sunset makes for a pleasing image, but often there will be mist as well. Now where talking… What more could you possibly want? These two factors make sunrise one of the best times for dramatic landscape photography. Even the most boring landscape subjects can look exciting at sunrise. Remember, the early bird catches the worm! Get up bright and early and you will get that winning shot.
Being the sleep addict that I am, I soon realised that in wintertime when the sun rises later. Yes, I am a bit slow 🙂 It can be much easier to witness the sunrise in winter time than in summer time. It is significantly colder, but at least you do not have to get up at 4 am!
Luckily, in Africa it is in any case advisable to go on safaris in winter time for a variety of reasons. Malaria not being the least of those! Check out my Africa Safaris section if you need to know more…
When your aim is to photograph the sun at dusk or dawn, you have to decide in which area of your landscape you want to retain detail. The contrast in a sunset or sunrise scene is significant, and far greater than the contrast your digital sensor (or any film) will be able to handle…
When you expose for the sun, or the sky close to the sun, you will lose a lot of detail in the foreground. However, this does make for nice silhouettes! When you expose for the foreground or some point closer to the foreground you run the risk of the background and sun looking pale or being burnt out. I personally strongly dislike the effect of the sky being washed out to white or pastel colours, and the rest of the picture (although retaining detail) being very pale in any case! You will not find such pictures in my library! Yes, that’s a promise…
The further you are from the equator, the bigger the impact of the seasonal cycle on a landscape. A scene that looks very drab in winter might be a very colourful and bright scene just a few moths later.
Close to my home in the Western Cape, South Africa, wild flowers start blooming in spring and make for exciting views and stunning landscape photography. This is a prime example of how the change in seasons can affect your subjects and planning for landscape photography. Photographing these flower covered landscapes at any other time might give very poor results indeed. Timing!
The brilliant autumn golds are also a much-loved photographic subject. It is however important to note the time that the foliage turns golden brown can vary by a few weeks each year. You should take this into account in your planning.
In winter you will have to come up with original ideas to produce good landscape pictures. However, if you encounter snow where you live, you have the opportunity of photographing nice snowscapes.
The effect of the nature conditions on the way your landscape displays can be huge. Do the hard work that is required to get the best shot. This will separate you from the millions of amateur photographers taking landscape pictures all year round. Being at the right place at the right time is much more important than most people think. Ask any photographer earning a living off his photographs 😉
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