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.
There are no times of day more famous for photography than “Golden Hour” — sunrise and sunset. Although great light can happen at any time, the edges of the day are perhaps the most consistent sources of inspiration you can find. Still, just because they’re beautiful doesn’t mean they’re easy to photograph. In this article, I’ll cover some suggestions for capturing sunrise and sunset as well as possible, including tips for exposure, creativity, and post-processing.
One of the most misunderstood parts about landscape photography is the correct way to fit your entire scene within a photo’s depth of field. Where do you focus? What aperture should you use? You might think that these questions are easy to answer with a hyperfocal distance chart, where you provide your focal length and aperture, and the chart tells you exactly where to focus. There’s only one hiccup — if you want the sharpest possible results, these charts are spectacularly wrong. For most landscape and architectural photographers, that’s a big deal. This article explains everything about hyperfocal distance charts: what they are, why they fail, and where to focus instead.
In this article, I will try to give you a few tips on how to photograph the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland. Moreover, I will also add a few pieces of advice on how to plan a trip to Zermatt. Matterhorn, located in south Switzerland on the border with Italy, is one of the most famous European Alps peaks. It towers to 4,478 meters above the sea level and is marked by its sharp pyramid shape. Its pronounced shape has always attracted many tourists and photographers. How shall you plan your trip to Zermatt and where to go to get nice Matterhorn photographs and not leave with your wallet ruined?
Composition, in general, can seem like a fuzzy concept to many photographers. Trying to frame an image in a way that “works” is not something that is intuitive, even for people who have been taking pictures for years. And, unlike other aspects of photography — focusing, selecting a sharp aperture, exposing properly — composition has no correct answer. The best you can do is to create something that looks good to you, or looks good to your intended audience. Still, there are some composition tips that can help make this abstract topic a little more concrete. One of my favorites is to give your subjects their own personal, breathing space in your photos, so that they aren’t cut off or bunched up against anything else in the image.
There are some popular conditions for landscape photography that every photographer already knows: sunrise and sunset, storm clouds, fog, and so on. But one that doesn’t get mentioned very often is the light produced by a full moon on a clear night. The subtleties of moonlight aren’t always visible to the naked eye, but long exposure photography can lift the curtain. The results may have hints of familiarity, but they also have unique characteristics that make them stand out from typical, daytime photos. Photographing landscapes under the full moon (also referred to as “moonscapes”) is a process with its own set of challenges, so I will explore it in more detail in this article, and hopefully provide some tips for those who are interested in trying it out.
Normally, if you’re using a tripod, camera shake isn’t something you’ll have to worry very much about. However, there are some obvious exceptions. If you’ve ever found yourself taking pictures in heavy winds, you’ll know the difficulties of capturing sharp photos — particularly if you’re using a telephoto lens. This seems like an impossible situation; what do you do when a tripod isn’t enough to stop your camera from shaking? Luckily, there are ways to improve sharpness even in windy conditions and come away with photos that are completely usable. I’ll cover some of the most important here.
This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 19mm f/4E PC, also known as PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED, a special purpose wide-angle lens designed for architecture, cityscape and landscape photography. “PC” stands for “Perspective Control”, but I will refer to this type of lens as “tilt-shift” in this article. Architecture and cityscape photographers often work with straight lines and tilt-shift lenses give the ability to avoid the convergence of vertical lines by shifting the lens upwards or downwards. Landscape photographers often want to keep everything in focus, especially when dealing with close foreground objects. Stopping down to very small apertures results in diffraction, which impedes sharpness. Tilt-shift lenses offer an alternative to stopping down by tilting the plane of focus, putting both closest and furthest objects in focus. Focus stacking in post-processing software is another way to achieve maximum focus without stopping down excessively, however, the technique also has its pros and cons, making tilt-shift lenses unique in their own ways. The ability to apply selective focus on a particular part of the image via lens tilting allows distant subjects to appear “miniaturized”, although this effect can be reproduced in image editing software, as well.
Many photographers do not like waking up very early to take pictures at sunrise, preferring to sleep in and spend the energy to shoot during the day and at sunset instead. While photographing at sunset can yield stunning photographs, there are specific advantages to photographing at sunrise that are worth discussing. Let’s take a look at the topic of sunrise vs sunset in photography in more detail and see why you might be better off shooting early in the morning.
Along with normal how-to articles and essays, I’ve always liked reading and writing very technical, nitty-gritty articles about photography — sometimes, articles on topics that rarely come up while actually taking pictures. In fact, I usually don’t even use my own sharpest aperture charts in the field, as useful as they are, since I don’t like carrying around charts. So, then, does all that technical stuff matter? Is it even worth talking about in the first place? These questions are very important to ask, since most people don’t want waste their time on topics that are unnecessary for their photography — do these articles actually help? There are no easy answers, but a recent trip I took to Death Valley makes a compelling argument for why some of this highly-technical information really does matter.