When I first started shooting landscapes I was completely drawn to the large landscape scenes. I have always used a wide-angle lens for this type of photography. Currently I use my 16-35mm on a full-frame camera. I found this lens to be restrictive though because often while out on a hike, I’ll see something in the scene that really catches my eye and I’ll want to photograph it. For example, if I am shooting a beautiful waterfall, I’ll shoot the full grand scene that includes foliage around it and a creek or river below it. I could spend hours just surveying the scene and looking for smaller, intimate scenes in nature. For photographing these smaller scenes I will use my 24-105mm or my 70-200mm lenses.
Below are some tips to help you focus on finding those intimate scenes in nature.
It’s much easier to shoot the grand landscape scenes than the smaller ones. Why do I say that? It’s because with the smaller scenes you need to let your creative juices flow. Creativity takes a lot of patience. This is why I say I can spend hours just wandering around, looking at the scene to find these little gems. Make sure you have plenty of time to spend in your location because you’ll need it.
What To Look For
I look for anything that I feel can be a photo in itself. Here are 4 tips that can give you ideas on what can make for a nice photograph.
1. Portions of a waterfall
Zoom in to photograph just a portion of the waterfall. You don’t need to photograph the whole waterfall to make a beautiful image.
2. Flowing water
Oceans, Rivers and creeks can make for intimate scenes with just a close crop of moving water or water spilling over rocks.
Focusing on textures when you look at photographing a smaller scene can add a nice touch to your photos. Some examples are: Ripples or cracks in the sand, tree bark, leaves with beaded water, I could go on.
4. Symmetry & Groupings
Is there some symmetry in the your scene that grabs your attention? How about a grouping of trees or other natural elements you can focus on.
There are many more examples I’m sure you can come up with yourself. The whole point is that you’ll just have to be open to the possibilities, be patient and get creative in your approach while out in the field. Wandering around searching the scene gives me the most satisfaction and renews my love for photography every time I’m out in nature.