Drones – often called unmanned aerial vehicles – have become vastly more common over the past few years. In the United States alone, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts that more than one million drones will be sold over this holiday season; many more will be sold in other countries across the world. Whether you love or hate the growing prevalence of drones, their popularity has never been greater. In this tutorial, I will share some tips that I have learned over the past few months of using a drone for taking pictures. My focus is on still images, but many of these tips apply to drone video and cinematography as well – particularly for people in the midst of buying their first drone.
Jack Dykinga can punch you in the gut with a photo, like he did with his 1971 Pulitzer-winning portfolio, or he can seduce you with his understated yet thoroughly evocative landscape images. He’s one of the rare photographers who has excelled in multiple genres, has adjusted to multiple technological revolutions, and has successfully weathered the ups and downs of the photo industry. After over five decades in the business, Jack Dykinga’s photos remain relevant. Jack Dykinga’s photos endure.
Since the early days of film, panoramic photography has been synonymous with landscape and architectural images, and sometimes with other genres like street and wildlife photography. By combining two horizontal frames of film, typically 120 medium format, some film cameras actually shot panorama photographs by design. Most of these cameras emerged in the latter half of the twentieth century, bringing the panoramic format to the public eye. The panorama had existed long before this time, of course, but its popularity has only grown — and with good reason. Panoramas are fun and dramatic, and their subtleties are just as important in today’s mostly-digital age as they were during the heyday of film. In this article, I will discuss some of the important but less-common benefits of taking panorama images, as well as sharing a set of my photographs from Iceland in the classic 6×17 aspect ratio. If you are new to panoramas, you might enjoy reading our general panorama tutorial first.
Famous scenes — landscapes, wildlife, buildings — are famous for a reason: they are spectacular, and often easy to access. You have seen these photographs, undoubtedly: a sepia-toned photograph of the Eiffel Tower, perhaps, or a dusty herd of wildebeest in the sun. Glacier Point at sunset, and Mesa Arch at sunrise. These are some of the most incredible sights on the planet, and it is no wonder that photographers flock to them; in many cases, photographers are the very reason that these sights are on the map in the first place. I have nothing against photographers who focus on these beautiful scenes, and I wholeheartedly admire those who photograph them well. Indeed, as photographers, we too often get caught in the idea of taking unique photographs at a famous location, when the most beautiful scene may be the one staring us in the face.
A landscape photographer’s goal, especially in the most dramatic and massive locations, is to demonstrate the size and scope of the landscape in a photo. However, it is quite difficult to translate the three-dimensional world into a flat rectangle — certain aspects of a scene, including the scale of the landscape, can get lost along the way. In this article, I’ll go over some common ways to put the size of a scene into perspective.
One of the most amazing landscapes in the world is Iceland’s Jokulsarlon lagoon — famous for its massive and beautiful icebergs. And if the lagoon isn’t enough, these glass-like icebergs routinely wash ashore on a nearby black-sand beach. This crazy combination is enough to attract photographers from across the globe. In this article, I will share some tips for photographing Jokulsarlon that will help you make the most of your trip to Iceland.
Landscape photographers work primarily in natural light, which presents a few problems — for starters, the most beautiful lighting conditions each day last for no more than a few hours. Other times, sunsets will be lost behind cloudy skies, making it impossible to see a landscape at its best. When the sky is gray or the sun is directly overhead, it can be tough to find inspiration for high-quality photography. My hope with this article is to share some tips that have worked for me when I photograph in bad lighting conditions — something which every photographer experiences at some point.
In this post the value of using high dynamic range (HDR) photography for landscape and particularly panorama photography will be examined. This combination of two fairly widely used photographic techniques, the making of panoramas with HDR photographs is described in books dedicated to HDR techniques. This discussion will provide the reader with some methodological starting points and provide examples showing why the extra effort is worthwhile. Previous Photography Life posts are excellent reference primers for landscape photography and should definitely be consulted for their insights. In this post the term “panoramic” is used to indicate that two or more adjacent photographs covering overlapping parts of the same scene have been combined to make the single final image. “Landscape” is used to describe final photographs produced from a single image. All of the photographs in this post are panoramas by these definitions.
I still have Iceland on my mind. Over the past two weeks, I saw the greatest sunset and the strongest winds of my life; I walked through a pathless desert to the edge of a canyon, and I climbed a glacier lit by the midnight sun. Iceland is stark and surreal — reminding me of an alien planet more than any landscape I have seen before. It is nearly impossible to write a faithful article about such a country, and no photo could encompass the beauty of this magnificent island. Although I am working on a future page with more specific tips for photographing Iceland, this essay is more simple — a collection of my thoughts after the trip, alongside some of the photographs I took along the way.