Structure and Detail, Shadow and Light.
Bald Head Cliff, Cape Neddick, Maine.
Camera: Fujifilm X-T2
Lens: Fujinon XF16mm F/1.4
Settings: ISO 400, F/4, 1/750 sec.
Fuji RAF file converted to .DNG using Iridient X-Transformer, Velvia film simulation applied in Lightroom. No other post processing performed.
For this weeks WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.
Why Do My Landscape Photos Still Suck?
You’ve bought a new camera, spent a boat-load of money on it too. You’ve studied every last thing you can find on how to use it. You can change camera settings like ISO, shutter speed, and aperture pretty much blindfolded. You’re a master of your new toy.
However your photos are still missing something. Ok, lets be honest, they’re boring.
Be There And Make Them Better.
Here’s my super secret tip that is guaranteed to take your photos from Ho-Hum to Oh My!
It’s so simple you’ll wonder why you never thought of it.
Are you ready for it?
You Need To Be There When Mother Nature Is Showing Off!
It really is that simple.
You know your camera inside and out, you have at least a basic idea of how to compose a decent photo, so what else is missing?
The right light. Dramatic weather. Both at the same time! These are the things that can add greatly to the quality and impact of your photos.
This means being on the seacoast for sunrise at least 30-45 minutes prior to actual sunrise. So sleep becomes a casualty in your pursuit of great photos. No more showing up at 9 a.m. to that scene you’ve seen in so many photos and wondering why your photos don’t even come close.
It means long early morning hikes in the dark so you can be on that mountain top for sunrise or equally long and dark hikes down after sunset. Better get a good headlamp. Make that two, just in case.
It also means freezing your butt off and often coming away with nothing because the forecast was way wrong. It means getting rained on because you gambled, and lost, on the sun coming up before the approaching storm clouds reached the horizon to block it out. You will get blown by high winds. You will suffer.
And when you make that amazing dramatic photograph, you’ll forget all of that. You’ll only remember the light, the drama, the magic.
Somewhere right at this moment Mother Nature is putting on a show, are you missing it?
Rookie mistake #1 when photographing sunrises – show up just before the sun rises.
When you should have been there at least 30 minutes earlier.
While out photographing a sunrise I almost always have the place to myself. That is right up until just a few minutes prior to the sun peeking over the horizon. That’s when other photographers start showing up.
Sadly for them quite often they’ve already missed the best part of sunrise.
With the technology we have available as photographers today there are easily dozens, if not hundreds of sources to find out what time sunrise is. From smartphone apps to a quick Google search an aspiring sunrise photographer can easily find out what time that big fiery ball in the sky will be making its daily appearance.
What none of these apps will tell you is that by showing up right at sunrise, or even just a few minutes before, may very well cost you the best light of the morning.
Which is why I always recommend showing up 30-45 minutes prior to sunrise, the best light is often long before actual sunrise(each of the above photos was taken at least 20 minutes before).
No more running around while the light is fading.
Reason number two for showing up early is choosing compositions. By showing up early you then have plenty of time to chose your composition, or possibly multiple compositions. Light changes fast, if you know ahead of time exactly which compositions you would like to capture you can capture each one quickly because you’ve done a little scouting having arrived with plenty of time before the sun comes up. If on the other hand you show up right as the light is at its best, or the sun is just peeking over the horizon you then end up rushing around and having to settle on a composition that may not be the best one on that particular day.
The photo below illustrates this point. Nubble Light is one of themes photographed lighthouses in the U.S., therefor I like to try for something a little different each time I photograph it. By arriving at the parking lot 45 minutes before the sun came up I was able to wander around the rocks until I found just the composition and point of view I wanted. Had I shown up just as the sun rose above the horizon I would have had considerably less time to chose my composition and then set up my camera and tripod.
While the early bird is out catching their worms, the early photographers are capturing the best light.