Using Telephoto Lenses for Landscape Photography

Telephoto Landscape (10)

When one thinks of landscape photography, one more often than not imagines dramatic, sweeping grand landscape scenes, which are almost exclusively taken with ultra wide-angle lenses. While these scenes can be quite stunning (and beautiful… and a lot of fun to shoot!), it is nice to make use of the drastically different perspective afforded by a telephoto lens. A telephoto lens, as you may know, is used to capture frame-filling images of faraway subject matter. This is because it has a much narrower angle of view than a wide-angle lens. While a wide-angle lens exaggerates differences in both the size of and the distance between near and far objects, a telephoto lens effectively reduces those differences. This means that a telephoto lens causes a close object to appear more similar in size relative to a further away object, even if the closer object would actually appear larger in person, and it means that a telephoto lens can cause the apparent distance between near and far objects to appear smaller, which creates a nice compression effect.

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Weekly Critique Section #1

Abstract by ©Rick Keller

About a week ago, my inbox started filling up with new forum topic notifications. A day later, Nasim contacted me stating the exact same thing with a hint of fear in his voice – that, our dear readers, was how we experienced your reaction to the introduction of a new mini-project here on Photography Life. That slight shock me and my friend felt after seeing how enthusiastically the idea was received is of the good sort. All the work that’s been submitted is a compliment to us, and also an emphasis on just how much of a commitment Weekly Critique really is. What have we gotten ourselves into!

It was no easy task, choosing the images for this week’s article. As I said, though, these decisions were very subjective and in no way showcase what we believe to be “good” or “bad” work. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at photographs submitted by Rick Keller, Levi Obarr and Betty.

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Film Considerations for Landscape Photography

Photographing Landscapes with Film (11)

When I submitted my photos of Acadia National Park as a guest submission on Photography Life, I was amazed at the response, especially on the fact that the majority of photos were shot using a Nikon F100 with Fuji Velvia 50. Nasim contacted me to do an article on film considerations for landscape photography as a follow up. So this is my stab at it.

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Autumn Magic in Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park (1)

As the maximum temperatures slowly drop below 40 F (6 C), the ephemeral autumn silently gives way to a long winter in New England; but not before weaving its colorful magic yet again. This year, I was fortunate to witness this magic from up close during a weekend camping trip in Acadia National Park in Maine. Colors in Acadia usually peak around mid-October, which roughly coincided with my trip and I found the foliage in good shape: either peaking or just past peak. Moreover, the forecast called for cloudy skies and occasional rain with breaks both in morning and evenings, which meant I can photograph all day: golden light at the fringes and soft, overcast light in between. My equipment was a Nikon D610 and a Nikon F100 (loaded with Velvia 50) along with the a host of Nikkor lenses (with polarizers): Nikon 24mm f/2.8 AI, Nikon 24-120 f/4G VR, Nikon 18-35mm, Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AIs, Nikon 85mm f/1.8G and Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR.

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The Weston Dream

Verm Striped Shore Crab Point Lobos

She posed atop a sand dune with wind-gnarled cypress trees clinging to a rocky precipice in the distance. She was nude of course, and sitting on a bedpan. A dead pelican lay at her kelp-entwined feet. In one hand she held a nautilus, in the other the most sensuous bell pepper that had ever grown. As I adjusted my 8×10’s tilts and shifts she gave me that glance – just 1/60th of a second, but in that moment I knew there would be more tilting and shifting later as her aperture and my shutter speed would dance in perfect rhythm. I stopped the lens down to f/64, then…I woke up.

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Which To Upgrade? Gear Or Skill?

1 Emerald Lake Alaska

You must forgive my ramblings on this age-old debate. And for many of us, it may seem like the chicken and egg quandary. Should I get a better camera to make me a better photographer? Or has my skill evolved to the point whether I need a better camera to fully realise my potential? If someone hands me an airplane do I automatically become a pilot? Or do I need to go to flight school first?

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Introduction to Landscape Photography Presentation

Thomas Stirr Landscape Photography (1)

On Thursday, June 26th I’ll be conducting an Introduction to Landscape Photography presentation at the Grimsby Public Art Gallery in Grimsby, Ontario. This session will be focused at the beginner/introductory level and will cover composition tips, understanding your gear and getting the most from it, along with some basics on using photo editing software to enhance landscape images, including a number of ‘before and after’ examples.

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How to Photograph a Rainbow

Full Rainbow

Rainbows are rare in nature, because a number of events have to happen at the same time. First, there has to be moisture in the sky, so a rainy day or a quick rainstorm is the first pre-requisite. Second, the sun must be positioned on the horizon at a low angle, around 42 degrees relative to the viewer. Third, the part of the sky where the sun is must be clear from clouds and obstructions, while the part of the sky where the rainbow will appear must have continuous rain / moisture. When all of these conditions are met, the sun rays will refract and reflect off the water droplets in the sky, creating the optical illusion that we refer to as “rainbow”. When you see a rainbow, it is only natural to want to capture it on your camera. Who wouldn’t want to capture such beauty that contains the full color spectrum visible to our eyes? And if you happen to be at the right place, rainbows could make an ordinary subject appear truly extraordinary. Even a boring scene could be turned into something completely different with a full arc of a rainbow.

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How to Photograph Clouds

Mt Rainier Lenticular Cloud

Nature often rewards us with incredible opportunities for photographing sunrises, sunsets and sun rays piercing through the clouds, creating stunning views. As a landscape photographer, I tend to wait for partly cloudy and stormy days, because clouds make photographs appear much more dramatic and vivid. Without clouds, sunrises and sunsets often look boring, forcing us to cut out the sky and focus on foreground elements instead. In contrast, if you get to witness a sunrise or a sunset with puffy, stormy clouds that are lit up from underneath with colorful sun rays, creating a fiery view, including the clouds in your photographs would make the scene appear much more colorful and alive. In fact, clouds can be so beautiful, that they could become the main element of composition in your photographs. In this article, I will not only talk about the process of photographing clouds, but also will focus on making clouds appear much more dynamic and dramatic in your photographs.

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