If you love landscape photography it is no secret that you spend a lot of time outdoors and can often run into some unusual situations. So, just how do you go about capturing awesome photos while navigating your way through the great outdoors? Here are some reminders to follow when you are working on location.
1. Photograph with confidence
If you aren’t confident with your post-processing skills, shoot like you are because you can always go back and edit the files in the future when your techniques improve. When I was first starting out, I had no idea how to blend multiple exposures in post. However, I still took the photographs that I would need with a basic understanding of the concept. You can always edit things in the future.
2. Step out of your comfort zone
Only shoot wide-angle landscapes? Well, try picking up a macro lens to shoot some flowers or a telephoto lens to photograph animals. You’ll learn new skills along the way and possibly find new photography interests. Expand your horizons and find fresh, creative inspiration.
3. Be Persistent
Have a vision in your mind for a particular photograph? Don’t stop until you get it! I spent an entire week getting up at 5 am in hopes of getting the conditions I wanted. I’m still hoping for better light, so I will continue to go back to this spot when conditions permit. I know some photographers who have been trying to get a particular shot for years. It might be torture, but imagine the reward when the dedication pays off.
4. There are cheap alternatives!
Some photography accessories are… well… expensive. I have a tendency to air on the side of frugality. Instead of a rain sleeve, I use a plastic bag. Instead of purchasing a pricey macro lens, I went with the nifty 50 mm f/1.8 on Amazon for $80.00. I then bought myself a set of auto-focus macro extension tubes for $50.00.
5. Sometimes you MUST pay the extra cash!
I learned a lesson from buying cheap filters. They left an undesirable color cast that was frustrating to correct. So I invested extra money in my filters and went with B+W brand polarizers and ND filters. The more expensive (and higher quality) filters allowed for significant differences in my files. My previous (cheap) filters gave an olive green cast. Now I rarely have to make any adjustments because of a better quality product.
6. Carry First Aid
I always carry a first aid kit, basic medications, and an emergency survival blanket when I go places. They live in my camera bag. I have used these items for myself and to help others in trouble. The emergency space blanket is my favorite. It can act as shade, rain cover, warmth, and for flagging down rescue crews.
7. Proper Footwear
Be prepared for varying trail conditions. Use sturdy hiking boots for longer backpacking trips. Trail running shoes or Vibram FiveFingers work nicely for day trips. Use Tabi boots for rock hopping up rivers to waterfalls… they stick nicely to slick rocks. I sometimes carry two kinds of footwear, especially when the hike involves rock hopping river beds in the jungle. Twisted/broken ankles are the worst.
8. Practice proper etiquette
Don’t be that person who rudely walks right up and sets up their tripod in front of someone else. Don’t offer unsolicited advice to other people photographing around you while tooting all your accolades. Unfortunately, these are a few examples of things that have happened to me in the field. Just be respectful of your fellow photographers. Say please, thank you, and be willing to share space/locations with everyone.
9. Safety First!
I have stood too close and been clobbered by waves, knocked over and pulled towards the sea, and completely soaked. I haven’t destroyed a camera yet, but have lost random gear to the ocean. A good rule of thumb is that if the ground you are standing on is wet, there’s a good chance you’ll end up wet too. Always tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back. I may have gotten a bit soaked while taking the below image.
10. Leave No Trace
Don’t leave anything behind. And please pick up and carry other people’s trash out. Leave nature as it is. Do not carve things into trees, especially your Instagram handle. Stacking rock cairns is disruptive as well. I usually kick them over. Respect the environment. Participate in beach cleanups or trail maintenance to help give back.
Do you have anything to add to these tips? Feel free to share them in the comments below.