Photography Life is excited to announce the creation of a new landscape photography section on the website! For years, one of the most important parts of Photography Life has been landscape photography, including dozens of guides, tutorials, and inspirational essays we’ve written along the way. And, as our website continues to grow, we wanted to make it easy for readers to find these articles as quickly as possible. In the upcoming weeks and months, keep an eye out for several new articles in this section (which will still appear on the main homepage, marked with a green landscape icon next to the title). We hope this will be a good way for you to find the most relevant content for your own photography! Here are some of the additional reasons we made this decision:
How is it that two photographers can visit the same landscape at the same time, but one of them manages to take a better photo? It’s not about equipment, or camera settings, or sharpness. Instead, it’s all about composition. Composition is how you arrange the elements of your photograph to guide a viewer’s eye. How do you pick a good composition for your landscape photos? There are two elements that matter more than anything else: simplicity and visual weight. In this article, I’ll share some tips for using them correctly.
One of the windiest nights I’ve ever taken pictures turned into perhaps the single most rewarding — and frightening — landscape photography experience of my life. I was on the Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley, a place I had visited twice in the past, though under much tamer conditions. This night, the gusts of wind were far greater than I had seen before, and they kicked up a layer of sand that made for amazing sunset photos. But as the day came to a close, it was clear I had entered uncharted waters.
When you’re out taking nighttime landscape photos — Milky Way photography, or photos of the Aurora Borealis — one of the most difficult tasks is to compose your photos exactly how you want. The reason? It’s simply too dark to see anything. Looking through the viewfinder on a DSLR, it can be tough to make out any of the scene’s important features. Live view might be even worse, often showing absolutely no detail at all. The most common solution is to guess at your composition, wait 20 or 30 seconds for the exposure to finish, and adjust afterwards via trial and error. It’s a slow process — but there’s another method. This is one of the few times when the best option is to use your camera’s highest ISO.
Depth of field causes more confusion among photographers — beginners and otherwise — than nearly any other topic out there. Many “common knowledge” tips about depth of field have some flaws, or are at least partially inaccurate. At a personal level, it took me far too long to separate the good suggestions from the bad, and I eventually realized that I had been relying upon some erroneous information for years without knowing better. My goal with this article is not to make the most controversial possible statements, or needlessly poke holes in things that are almost entirely true. Instead, my hope is to cover some of the basic, common inaccuracies that you may have heard about depth of field, in case you’ve been relying on faulty information for your own photography.
If you do a lot of hiking and long-distance treks as a photographer, you might have some difficulty finding a good backpack to carry your equipment. Sure, regular camera backpacks will protect your gear and allow quick access, but they might not be comfortable for long travels. The other option is to get a hiking backpack, which works for longer hikes, but won’t let you access your gear as easily (or potentially protect it as well). That’s where companies such as F-Stop Gear and Gura Gear jump in with something in between — hiking bags built around carrying cameras. There’s a new company on the scene, too: Shimoda Design. I’ve been testing out the Shimoda Adventure 60 bag over the past month, and it ticks a lot of boxes for what this sort of bag should be. Below is my review, along with the pros and cons of this intriguing new backpack.
It might seem like one of the simplest parts of photography: leveling your horizon. Most photographers want their horizons to be straight, of course, but this isn’t an area of photography that gets too much attention. And why would it? Leveling the horizon is a very easy task — right? In practice, though, it requires more care than many people think. You can’t just rely on your camera’s “virtual horizon,” or your post-processing software’s “auto straighten” tool. Our perception of a level horizon is more complicated than that.
These past couple weeks have been a roller coaster for photography software. For some companies, the past couple years have been a roller coaster, too — Nik software in particular. In May of 2017, Google (which had owned Nik software since 2012) announced they were ceasing new developments on the program. No new features, bug fixes, or guaranteed support for updated operating systems. That happened just a couple months after making the software completely free. Justifiably, Google’s decision to end developments disappointed many photographers who relied on the software, and who happily would have paid for further updates. Today, though, there is some cautiously good news: DxO, the company behind DxO OpticsPro (which — also as of today — is now called DxO PhotoLab), announced that they bought Nik from Google. On top of that, they announced the development of a new version of the Nik Collection planned for mid-2018. If you use Nik software as part of your workflow, what does this mean for you?
Following Adobe’s announcement of two new versions of Lightroom, there has been some confusion about the exact purpose of each one. Many photographers on Adobe’s subscription plan are looking forward to using the new version of Lightroom and gaining the most recent feature set. But, which one is the new version? The two new options are called “Lightroom Classic” and “Lightroom CC,” and they’re quite different from one another. In fact, I suspect that many photographers won’t even use Lightroom CC at all, and they’ll stick entirely to Lightroom Classic. Below, I’ll outline the differences between the two.
Four years is a long time in the digital realm. In the past four years, new products, services, and software have uprooted many parts of the old world and put something new in its place. It also is enough time — as many people suspected, but wasn’t confirmed until today — for a company to break a promise. I’m talking about Adobe, with their new release of two separate versions of Lightroom: a split “Lightroom CC” and “Lightroom Classic CC.” Both of them are subscription only, which runs counter to Adobe’s own words during the release of Lightroom 5: “Future versions of Lightroom will be made available via traditional perpetual licenses indefinitely” (source). Although it helps to define indefinitely just to be sure — dictionary.com says “ Below, I’ll dive into some new features in these Lightroom releases. I’ll also provide some suggestions if, like me, you are against the idea of monthly payments in order to access a catalog-based editing software (which makes you keep paying if you want the ability to re-edit your old photos).