Landscape Photography Tips
The art of Landscape Photography is one that takes a lifetime to master. Landscape photography is a constant learning curve as the photographer strives to technically and creatively capture nature and master the art. The photos and notes below will hopefully give an insight into their creation and teach some of the lessons I have learnt over the years.

Landscape Photography by Lee Duguid
Picnic Rocks, Tasmania

Photographed shortly after sunset I used ND graduated filters to balance the exposure between the foreground and the brighter sky (a must for landscape photography). Perched on a rock I set the tripod up high to change my perspective and separate the foreground rocks to those in the background giving a cleaner composition. A one minute exposure blurs the water making it seem almost pond like and also blurs the fast moving clouds in the far distance. Some post production was required to give the image further dynamic range bringing out detail in the rocks. Using duplicate screen and multiply layers, with layer masks I was able to selectively bring out shadow detail and darken highlights.

Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D
Shutter Speed: 59 sec
Aperture: f/16
Focal Length: 17 mm
ISO Sensitivity: 100

Cappella Di Vitaleta, Tuscany

Sometimes you have to deal with the conditions you are given. I arrived at this location mid afternoon and didn’t have the luxury of waiting for sunset. Thankfully Tuscany seems to have nice light a lot of the time, the sky is always a hazy yellow, which makes for interesting photographs. Here I setup with my tripod on the roadside which runs at the same elevation as the chapel. Using ND graduated filters I was able to pull down the sky whilst keeping the foreground correctly exposed. With the 70-200mm and a Really Right Stuff pano kit I can seamlessly photograph panoramic images using a standard format digital camera (Canon 5DMkII in this case). In post I used Autopano Pro to stitch the images together which I then cropped to a 3:1 ratio in Photoshop. Selectively brightening the Chapel and darkening the rest of the image I use luminosity to draw the viewers attention into the image. With careful cloning I removed an entire building that’s sits beside the chapel simplifying the composition. See my tutorials page for a detailed video on the post processing: Landscape Photography Photoshop Tutorial

Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec
Aperture: f/18
Focal Length: 200 mm
ISO Sensitivity: 100

Wollogorang, New South Wales

Photographed after a family visit to Canberra in my wisdom I decided not to take all my photography gear only packing the camera with a 50mm F1.8 lens attached. As I was unable to zoom my options were some what limited, so I settled on this clean composition. In this shot it seems to be just the perfect focal length. The contrast between the grey clouds and yellow fields really draws me to this image. Using and aperture of F2.2 and focusing on the tree the foreground is blurred drawing the viewer into the frame. In post I actually removed a second tree and some darker patches in the rapeseed to clean up the composition. As the 50mm heavily vignettes especially at wider apertures I did some lens correction and further colour correction (desaturation) at the perimeters where the imperfections of the lens was obvious.

Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Shutter Speed: 1/1600 sec
Aperture: f/2.2
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Sensitivity: 100

Dead Horse Gap, Kosciuszko National Park

Using ND graduated filters in the snow was proving very difficult as snow flakes melted on the exposed surface. Instead I opted to exposure for the sky and pull out the detail of the foreground in post. In this composition I use the line of the river to take the viewer into the image and up to the tree which sits on almost a third. The post production of this image was technically very challenging as I doubled processed the RAW file (once for the foreground, once for the sky) and blend the two exposures. Having spindly branches meant that layer masks where going to be very complex so I decided to finally learn how to create luminosity masks. This allowed me to retain detail in the branches but still have a darkened sky. In landscape photography we often need to adapt our techniques to react to different environments and conditions.

Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Shutter Speed: 1/2 sec
Aperture: f/18
Focal Length: 20 mm
ISO Sensitivity: 50

The Storr, Isle of Skye

Photographed on a typically very windy day the fast moving clouds plunged The Storr in and out of shade. With the tripod set as low as possible, sheltered behind a large rock I waited for lulls in the cross wind to take this shot (ah the joys of landscape photography). At a focal length of 200mm the wind was buffeting the end of the lens so I had to be very careful I wouldn’t get a soft result (due to camera shake). In post I darkened down the top and bottom of the frame whilst brightening the middle and adding saturation to bring the eye into the remote cottages.

Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Shutter Speed: 1/200 sec
Aperture: f/9
Focal Length: 200 mm
ISO Sensitivity: 100

Long Reef, Sydney

After retreating from the rising tide I decided to try with the 70-200mm lens to capture the incoming waves flowing over the interesting rock formation. Playing with aperture and ISO I tried to achieve a long enough exposure get a sense of movement without loosing detail. Just shy of 1 second (0.6s) seemed to work perfectly. Sometimes the obvious compositions don’t always work in landscape photography, so it pays to try something different. In post an Auto levels, and bit of vibrance resulted in the image you see, the sky was left as is.

Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Shutter Speed: 3/5 sec
Aperture: f/14
Focal Length: 200 mm
ISO Sensitivity: 100

Holy Island of Lindisfarne, England

Photographed during the day I used the fence and the shadows to lead the eye into the frame and up to the castle. With landscape photography sometimes we just have to make do with shooting during the day, don’t fret these shots aren’t always a waste. Of course as the sun comes down the shadows appear longer so try and shoot early morning or as late as possible. In post I converted the image to black and white and added colourize Hue/Saturation layer giving the image overall warmth. A second Hue/Saturation filter was added to desaturate everything apart from the castle using colour to draw in the viewers attention.

Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec
Aperture: f/14
Focal Length: 39 mm
ISO Sensitivity: 200

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