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The 3 P’s of Landscape Photography

The 3 P's of Landscape Photography

Creating a successful landscape image takes a variety of skills, some that don’t even involve a camera. If you want to get on the road to success, check out this great video tutorial that will help you frame your approach to landscape photography through three major aspects.

Coming to you from Landscape Photography iQ with Tom Mackie, this great video offers three important aspects of landscape photography and how to employ them for your own work. Of the three, I think the most important for me is planning. Time and again, the thing I notice about the world’s top landscape photographers is just how much of their work is done before they ever walk out the door. Many of the best landscape photographers have the practice down to a science and know exactly what to expect and how they will tackle it before they arrive. Sure, it is a lot of fun to just go for a hike with your camera and see what happens, but if you really want to maximize the potential of a scene, consider planning ahead more. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Mackie. 

And if you really want to dive into landscape photography, check out “Photographing The World 1: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing with Elia Locardi.” 

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Landscape Photography in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland

Three landscape photos of Scotland

Three landscape photos of Scotland

Torridon, Glencoe, and the Isle of Skye have drawn landscape photographers and artists over the centuries. The highlands of Scotland are extensive and uninterruptedly breathtaking – a Big Country indeed. This is the internationally perceived face of Scotland – a meticulously sculpted land of peaks, glens, lakes, and shorelines. And rain or mist to make or break the scene dependent on your disposition.

But distant from the western shore, an extensive string of pearls awaits the more intrepid traveler. The Outer Hebrides stretch for 140 miles – a sliver of land 40 miles away resting on the horizon. They are comprised of the joint isles of Harris and Lewis, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist, and Barra.

Here is a different Scottish landscape. Pure and wild, beaches to melt a heart, rolling hills and lakes, abandoned homesteads left furnished some 70 years ago – a unique landscape tied to culture. Time slows down out here. The clock ticks to a different beat. There is a softness to the landscape that sways with this rhythm.

Tarbert is a port town, a docking place for the ferry from Skye but a taste of other times hangs in the air. Terraced cottages line the side of the hill. We rented a cottage for four nights and set off to dip our toes into the landscapes of Harris and Lewis. Not an hour and a half after stepping off the ferry we walked the length of Seilebost beach.

A little travel weary – but the landscape just soaked us up and soothed us in. I took some initial photographs on the beach into blue hour – just to let the camera out of the bag as the light was dull and dimming. We drove back to Tarbert in the dark. We had indeed arrived.

At dawn the following morning we sat in the sandy car park at Rosamol as the skies provided a free car wash. There were two other cars and a camper van – each seemingly daring the other to take to the beach first. The rain eased and we walked the wet sandy track to the wide beach. The hills of Harris dipped in and out of clouds. The light was a dirty grey and the photographs taken that morning were a reflection of the weather. But the hills and islands encroaching the beach were akin to an amphitheater and made an instant impression that would draw us back to this beach.

The eastern shore of Harris is pockmarked with tiny lochs that meet the sound of the Minch, the strait that divides the isles from the highlands. The western shore could not be more different – the lauded beaches that deservedly act as a magnet for landscape photographers and artists. The beaches lend themselves to the creation of dreamlike impressions that longer exposures serve best. I fully expected my wide-angled lens would live on my camera body for the trip but found that longer focal lengths better served my purposes.

All of the beaches along the western shore deserve a dedicated visit. Horgabost beach is compact and suffers from occasional drifts of dead seaweed as was the case when an unexpected burst of evening light necessitated an impromptu visit. The beach was not an option so I hurriedly ran atop the dunes and shot to exclude it – a 6-second exposure to soften the marram grass as it merged with the Atlantic.

Horgabost beach in Scotland
Horgabost beach

The following day we took the spectacular single-track road to Huisinis beach and witnessed golden eagles and a large migration of redwings on the route.

Huisinis beach in Scotland
Huisinis beach

This is another compact beach good enough to shoot independently but the jewel of the area is Tragh Mheallan. The beach requires a good 45-minute walk with an incline along a well-marked cliff path.

Landscape Photography in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland 1

An otter greeted me along the cliff walk. A white-tailed eagle flew overhead. The beach was enormous and empty. The marram grass held no human footprint but was indented by the tracks of deer. My composition was rushed as the light faded on an overcast afternoon. An enthralling location.

Luskentyre is the most popular beach in Harris – it is effectively a bay – Rosamol and Seilebost beaches at either side. I visited for two sunrises during our stay once on each side.

Luskentyre beach in Scotland
Luskentyre beach

Rosamol should be your first choice as it was mine. The light on my dawn visit was dull. The dunes and distant mountains though impressive deserved better light. A beach tends to fare better in duller light and so my preferred images were abstract in nature and the compositions drew substantially on the sands. At Seilebost, the light was a slight improvement and I played with a layered composition of rocks, sea, sand, mountains, and sky.

And so we had spent 3 days exploring parts of Harris and had not yet ventured into Lewis – the largest part of the island. A trip to this island would not be complete without a visit to Callanais Standing Stones and that is where our final day took us. Out of the bag came the infrared camera for a noon shot of this archaeological wonder.

The Callanais Standing Stones in Scotland
Callanais Standing Stones

The afternoon was drawing in but we pressed on further from home to the Mangarsta Sea Stacks.

The Mangarsta Sea Stacks in Scotland
The Mangarsta Sea Stacks

The light was never going to be interesting but to view the scene and take an image for the sake of it was worth the effort. And so our short sojourn to the Outer Hebrides ended.

Here are two videos of my 2021 trip to Scotland showing my landscape photography outings in a vlog style:

About the author: Jimmy Mc Donnell is a landscape and wildlife photographer from Co Wicklow, Ireland with an enduring passion for capturing images that reflect the beauty of the natural world. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Mc Donnell’s work on his website and YouTube. This article was also published here.

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7 Helpful Winter Landscape Photography Tips

7 Helpful Winter Landscape Photography Tips

The beauty of winter is that even landscapes you have photographed dozens of times can become entirely new scenes with fresh, vibrant looks. Winter landscape photography presents its own unique challenges, though, and this excellent video tutorial will give you seven tips to help you get the most out of your photos. 

Coming to you from Photo Tom, this awesome video tutorial will give you seven tips for taking the best possible winter landscape photos. Winter can be a wonderful time to capture breathtaking photos. As you head out with your camera, I would also mention to remember that using a drone can also yield unique and compelling images. All the recognizable landmarks in a scene can be erased by snow and ice, turning the landscape into a beautiful, abstract maze of geometric shapes when seen from above. And the best part is that most modern consumer drones are small enough to fold down and sit in your backpack in the space taken up by just one lens. I have written about winter drone photography tips here. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

And if you really want to dive into landscape photography, check out “Photographing The World 1: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing with Elia Locardi.” 

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How Landscape Photographers Reinvented the Colonial Project in Australia

A vintage photo of colonial explorers in the Tasmanian wilderness

A vintage photo of colonial explorers in the Tasmanian wilderness
Anson Brothers Studio, Fern Tree Gully, Hobart Town, Tasmania, 1887. Albumen print. Collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Colonial history overflows with commodities. From the early 1800s, wool generated extraordinary wealth for squatters and pastoralists and substantial investment in the Australian colonies. In the 1850s, gold motivated tens of thousands of people to work the earth or service the diggings. Coal, copper, tin, wheat, barley, and cotton all assumed importance at different times.

In those great cathedrals of late 19th-century colonial self-representation, the International Exhibitions, any visitor would have immediately noticed the way New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania sought to identify with the commodities produced in these places.

In a photograph from 1879, the NSW Department of Mines filled its portion of the exhibition building, the Garden Palace, with gold ingots, silver ores, and samples of tin. On the balconies above were coal sections and geological maps.

The prominent mining displays inside the Garden Palace in 1879
The prominent mining displays inside the Garden Palace, 1879. Collection of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney

Walking through these displays a visitor would also have noticed walls of landscape photographs, which, mirroring the extractive logic of settler colonialism itself, worked to bring all these raw materials together in a vision of abundant nature.

Photographers captured images of budding settlements, seemingly empty vistas, and stunning panoramas of emerging colonial cities.

The increasing popularity of these photographs throughout the final decades of the 19th century shows colonial expansion was not just generated by the search for raw materials to extract and exploit. Colonial Australia was also a product of vision and imagery: literally developed through chemicals, glass, and light.

A vintage panoramic photo of Sydney and the harbor from 1875
Charles Bayliss and Bernhardt Otto Holtermann, Panorama of Sydney and the Harbour, New South Wales, 1875. Albumen prints on cloth. Art Gallery of New South Wales

I have studied over 2000 early landscape photographs, taken by six settler photographers between the 1850s and the 1930s. They show how colonization was re-enacted in the imagination of places, rather than simply through the movement of people from one site to another, the Lockean mixture of labor and earth, or the transfer of deeds.

Visions of nature allowed for a different kind of investment in the colonial earth. They paid off in feelings of belonging even for those who never turned a sod. These photos reveal, as the American environmental historian William Cronon has insisted, that nature itself is a profoundly human artifact.

In settler colonies, landscape photography framed nature as beautiful, available and empty. In Victoria and Tasmania especially, landscape photography flourished. And although this mode of photography was not uniquely antipodean – it was pioneered, then perfected in the American West by photographers like Carleton Watkins and Eadweard Muybridge – it did have remarkable purchase in the Australian colonies.

A vintage photo of an old colonial estate in Australia from 1894
J. W. Lindt, Lindt’s Hermitage, 1894. Gelatin silver print. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

A Photographic Sleight of Hand

Figures such as Nicholas Caire, John Lindt, and John Beattie took up the camera to encourage settlers to feel at home in Australian environments. This perspective disguised the ancestral ownership and continuing presence of First Nations peoples, turning their homelands into a wilderness through a photographic sleight of hand.

The best example of this was in Victoria, where Caire and Lindt began framing the stretch of bush between Healesville and Narbethong as a kind of wilderness retreat from the late 1870s.

Caire, born in Guernsey in 1837, came to this collaborative work via South Australia, the forests of Gippsland, and the Goldfields. Lindt, originally from Frankfurt, had just finished photographing Bundjalung and Gumbaynggir people along the Clarence River in northern NSW.

Around 1878 Caire captured Fairy Scene at the Landslip, Blacks’ Spur, which quickly became one of his most popular photographs.

A vintage photo of a forest in Australia
Nicholas Caire, Fairy Scene at the Landslip, Blacks’ Spur, c. 1878. National Gallery of Victoria

In it, Caire focuses on a glade of tree-ferns clustered on the side of a gully. Writing in 1904, Caire and Lindt boasted about the wildness of this pocket of the Great Forest, the ancient age of the trees, and the “refreshing” seclusion of Fernshaw. Lindt wrote that the allure of places like this came back to their capacity to “carry you back to the morning of time”.

The empty natures of the Yarra Ranges relied on the removal and containment of Woiwurrung, Bunurong, and Taungurong people at the Coranderrk mission. Located just kilometers away from Lindt and Caire’s “refreshing” forest, Coranderrk helped the photographers create a partition between the environment and its ancestral owners.

The mission became a complementary site of interest. When promoting the natural features of the Yarra Ranges, Lindt and Caire wrote about Coranderrk as a place where tourists could mimic the anthropologist, just as they mimicked the geographer or explorer while traipsing through sylvan glades or gazing up at giant mountain ash.

At about the same time that Caire and Lindt were developing their visions of nature in the Yarra Ranges, the photographer Fred Kruger was taking influential shots of life on the reservation. One of the key challenges for aspiring landscape photographers in the 1870s and 1880s was to deal with this presence of Aboriginal people in landscapes that were becoming coveted for their natural beauty.

Caire and Lindt took up an established tradition of photography at Coranderrk, combining it with a new interest in wilderness, balancing the apparent contradiction between Indigenous presence and absence.

The Tasmanian Sublime

In Tasmania, too, photographers began constructing a similar wilderness tradition from the 1870s. Emigrating from Scotland in 1878, John Beattie, the so-called “prince of landscape photographers in Australasia”, settled with his family in New Norfolk, about 30 kilometers up the Derwent valley from Hobart.

This was a perfect location for a budding photographer, and Beattie made attractive pictures of the river and its hop gardens in the 1890s, but the interior of the island offered a different order of beauty.

A vintage photo of a settlement in New South Wales in the 1890s
This photograph frames a harmonic interaction of settlement, agriculture and geography on the lowlands along the Derwent River. John Beattie, Hop Garden, New Norfolk, 1895–1898. Albumen print. Art Gallery of New South Wales

In 1879 Beattie began making expeditions into the bush around the valley, onto the central highlands, and eventually all the way to the remote Lake St. Clair. In 1882 he joined the Anson Brothers’ photographic studio and quickly became their most important artist.

An Anson Brothers image from 1887 is quite likely Beattie’s work, showing a stand of ferns on the Huon Road. Unlike Caire’s shot, however, this image includes a group of settlers enjoying exactly the kind of immersion in nature that these photographs were designed to evoke.

A vintage photo of colonial explorers in vegetation in Tasmania in 1887
Taken on the Huon Road, this photograph depicts the kind of vegetation that could be found in pockets of bush around the Beattie’s property at New Norfolk. Anson Brothers Studio, Fern Tree Gully, Hobart Town, Tasmania, 1887. Albumen print. Art Gallery of New South Wales

Many of Beattie’s photographs are deeply Romantic. Between 1896 and 1906 he conducted regular presentations in Hobart and Launceston based on the wild features of the Tasmanian landscape, cultivating a high wilderness aesthetic in his magic lantern shows.

Photographs of Lake Marion and the Du Cane Range and another of Lake Perry and The Pinnacles trade in the sublime. Beattie evoked the great American transcendentalist poets in his respect for the mountaintop, which often moved him to wordlessness: “I am struck dumb, but oh! my soul sings.”

A vintage landscape photo of a lake in Tasmania in the 1890s
John Beattie, Lake Marion, Du Cane Range (Tasmania), 1890s. Albumen print. The Richard Ledgar Collection of Photographs, 1858–1910, National Library of Australia, Canberra. National Library of Australia

These sublime sentiments relied on old Romantic ideas that stretched back to Edmund Burke and William Wordsworth, but they rested just as heavily on new experiences of space. Beattie’s breakthrough years were in the 1890s, a decade in which depictions of wilderness in Australian Romantic painting went into terminal decline and were replaced by photographic visions of nature.

Romanticism, through photography, came to influence how environments were envisioned and how histories of dispossession were remembered. The high wilderness imagery of settler photography came to support a fantasy of spatial control, delivering reproducible, enduring symbols of the natural world.

A vintage photo of Lake Perry in the Hartz Mountains in the Tasmanian highlands in the early 1900s
This photograph of Lake Perry in the Hartz Mountains gives a good sense of the gradations of the Tasmanian highlands and the dramatic topography that attracted photographers. John Beattie, Lake Perry and Pinnacles looking Nth, Hartz Mountains, c. 1900. Glass Lantern Slide. Tasmanian Views Collection. State Library of Victoria

Aboriginal Extinction and Romantic Communion

Just as Caire did, Beattie divided his visions of nature and his portraits of native people. He was an insatiable and opportunistic collector of photographs of the “last” Tasmanians, leaning into and commercializing the myth of Tasmanian Aboriginal extinction.

Sometimes advertisements for these pictures featured on the back covers of Beattie’s landscape collections, gently leading interested audiences to the other side of the partition.

Most of Beattie’s photographs of Aboriginal people were simple reproductions of the portraits that Francis Nixon, the first Bishop of Tasmania and amateur photographer, took in 1858 at putalina (Oyster Cove). Nixon took pictures of the few remaining Aboriginal people, who had survived exile on Wybelenna Station on Flinders Island and a decade of surveillance at the former penal probation station just south of Hobart.

In the 1890s Beattie copied these images and labeled each of them with the phrase “the last of the race”.

It is no simple coincidence that this language was adopted by one of Australasia’s most successful landscape photographers. Aboriginal extinction and Romantic communion with the wilderness were the twin fantasies that shaped settler visions of nature in the late 19th century.

This dynamic influenced landscape photography well beyond the Australian colonies. Across the Tasman in New Zealand, the Dunedin photographer Alfred Burton became famous for an 1885 album called The Maori at Home, which delicately balanced ethnographic and wilderness imagery, much as Caire did.

Burton used the camera to carve the local Māori from their ancestral homes, creating a “terra incognita”. He created visual partitions between the traditional custodians, Ngāti Maniopoto, and the landscapes of the Waikato and divided the people of Ngāti Tūwharetoa from the monumental geography around Tongariro, Ngāuruhoe, and Ruapehu.

A vintage photo of colonial explorers Burton and Payton outside a whare
Burton and Payton are pictured here outside a whare in Taumaranui, near the centre of the King Country. Alfred Burton, Burton Brothers Studio, Photography Collection, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Burton and a party of adventurers returned a year later, in 1886, to immerse themselves more fully in these sublime environments. More settlers would follow in Burton’s footsteps from the mid-1890s, when, after a long struggle with Ngāti Tūwharetoa, the heights around Tongariro became New Zealand’s first national park.

A vintage black and white photo of an active volcano in New Zealand in the late 1800s
Alfred Burton, Burton Brothers Studio, Ngauruhoe—(Tongariro)—Active Volcano, 1880s, 1885. Black-and-white print. Photography Collection. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

The same kind of processes shaped settler attitudes to one of the United States’ most famous national parks, Yosemite, where photographers like Watkins and Muybridge erected similar partitions between their natural and human subjects.

This division was spectacularly represented in a set of photographs that used the still waters of Yosemite’s reflective lakes to capture stunning landmarks. In these works, the myth of empty wilderness was turned into the beautiful motif of a glassy lake.

A photo of Mirror Lake in Yosemite by Eadweard Muybridge
Eadweard Muybridge, Mirror Lake, Valley of the Yosemite, 1872. Albumen silver print. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

We might expect that Caire, Beattie, and Burton consciously adopted this technique from their American kin but there is no evidence this was the case.

Control Over Land

It’s more likely that comparable visions of nature developed in parallel, drawing from similar histories of dispossession and environmental transformation in different settler colonies.

In a whole range of places where pastoralists failed to graze their herds and geologists struggled to identify economic deposits, photographers helped colonists continue the cultural work of establishing dominion over stolen land.

The earliest visions of nature in Australia perfectly captured this drive, fixing its orientation to the physical world and its settler colonial history onto glass negatives, lantern slides, and paper cards.

And here is where the commodities come back into the story. Settlers adopted the holistic vision of landscape photography to exert control over land. Figures like Caire and Beattie perfected a kind of environmental image-making and storytelling that encouraged settlers to feel an affinity with the natural world.

Their customers were drawn to breathe in the highly oxygenated forest air or pursue the Romantic thrill of summiting a mountain. These experiences became a commodity in and of themselves, and so did the photographs documenting them. They adorned sitting rooms, galleries, and exhibition halls – summoning memories and lending a new assurance to the settler enterprise.

Jarrod Hore’s book, Visions of Nature: How Landscape Photography Shaped Settler Colonialism, is available for pre-order now.

About the author: Jarrod Hore is Co-Director and Postdoctoral Fellow of the New Earth Histories Research Program at the University of New South Wales. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. This article was originally published at The Conversation and is being republished under a Creative Commons license.

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Landscape Photography Mistakes to Avoid!

Landscape Photography Mistakes to Avoid!

When we start out as photographers, there are so many rules to follow and so many techniques to be applied. So, where do you start? What rules do you follow and what do you avoid? In his new video, Mads Peter Iversen tells you what to avoid and what considerations to make when framing your sho, capturing the image, and post-processing.

Creativity and Your Images

When it comes to capturing and post-processing, Mads Peter Iversen provides you with all the essentials you need to consider with your images, including what settings to use and what not to get too hung up on with your photography. 

Capturing the image as seen and with no post-processing may be some photographers cup of tea, while others enjoy the art of post-processing to further extend their vision. Mads, in my opinion, quite rightly and openly addresses this and other photographic rules and concepts, shall we say, quite early on in the video. Should we always strive for epic landscape images or should we learn to appreciate and enjoy the scenery around us and shoot what we want and for ourselves?

What you capture and where you take that capture in post is ultimately your decision, and you shouldn’t be striving to follow a set of rules. Learn the basics, keep updating your knowledge and skills, and enjoy what you create. 

Photography is a creative art and creativity shouldn’t be forced to fit someone else’s opinion on how it should be done. That’s for them to do it that way. 

Perhaps this topic is for another article, but in the meantime, take a look at Mad’s insightful and open video.

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Remembering landscape photographer Charles Roscoe Savage ~ Photography News

Remembering landscape photographer Charles Roscoe Savage ~ Photography News

August 16, 2018 /Photography News/ Born 186 years ago today, on 16 August 1832, Charles Roscoe Savage was a British-born landscape and portrait photographer who produced images of the American West. He became one of the foremost 19th century landscape photographers of the western United States, as well as a renowned studio portrait photographer, with his studio in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Shortly after his 1848 baptism and membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Savage emigrated to the United States where he initially found work as a photographer in New York City. On assignment from the LDS Church he traveled to Nebraska, where he established a  studio. In the spring of 1860, he traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah Territory with his family, where he established another photography studio with a partner, Marsena Cannon, an early Utah daguerreotypist and photographer. A year later, after Cannon moved to southern Utah, Savage established a partnership with artist George Ottinger. Many of Savage’s photographs were reproduced in Harper’s Weekly newspaper, which created a national reputation for the firm. This partnership continued until 1870, when Savage formed the Pioneer Art Gallery, and in 1875, needing more space, he replaced it with the Art Bazaar which -in 1883- burned to the ground with all of his negatives.

As a photographer under contract with the Union Pacific Railroad, Savage traveled to California in 1866 and then followed the rails back to Utah. He photographed the linking of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific on Promontory Summit, at Promontory, Utah in 1869. This series is considered his most famous work. Other well known Savage images include pictures of the Great Basin tribes, especially the Paiute and Shoshone. Savage photographed scenic areas of the west including Yellowstone National Park, Zion National Park, and created many images documenting the growth of Utah towns and cities. He also traveled extensively over western North America, taking pictures in areas of Canada and Mexico, and in areas from the Pacific Ocean to Nebraska in the mid-west.

After his death on 4 February 1909, another fire -in 1911- destroyed all of the negatives from the last 25 years of his career.

Residence of Pres[iden]t B. Young, front. [Temple]. Alternate Title: Utah. Charles Roscoe Savage
Residence of Pres[iden]t B. Young, front. [Temple]. Alternate Title: Utah. Charles Roscoe Savage

Shore of Salt Lake. Charles Roscoe Savage. Medium: albumen print.
Shore of Salt Lake. Charles Roscoe Savage. Medium: albumen print. 

Cactus growth, Arizona. Charles Roscoe Savage. Created ca. 1875. Medium: albumen print.
Cactus growth, Arizona. Charles Roscoe Savage. Created ca. 1875. Medium: albumen print. 

The old mill. Charles Roscoe Savage. Alternate Title: Utah. Medium: albumen print.
The old mill. Charles Roscoe Savage. Alternate Title: Utah. Medium: albumen print. 

Interior of Tabernacle. Alternate Title: Utah. Charles Roscoe Savage. Medium: albumen print.
Interior of Tabernacle. Alternate Title: Utah. Charles Roscoe Savage. Medium: albumen print. 

Foundation of Temple. Alternate Title: Utah. Charles Roscoe Savage. Medium: albumen print.
Foundation of Temple. Alternate Title: Utah. Charles Roscoe Savage. Medium: albumen print.

Cathedral Rocks. Alternate Title: Views of the Great West, from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean, Colorado series. Charles Roscoe Savage
Cathedral Rocks. Alternate Title: Views of the Great West, from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean, Colorado series. Charles Roscoe Savage

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How To Choose the Right Focal Length in Landscape Photography

How To Choose the Right Focal Length in Landscape Photography

It is quite often overlooked when it comes down to creating a stunning photograph, although it has a big impact on the composition and even on the story of an image. We are talking about the right focal length. Avoid one of the biggest traps about focal lengths and find out how to impact your composition with the right lens.

It is often seen when a photographer gets a new lens: most of their next photographs are taken with that new glass only. Maybe that special focal range was not in their bag before and they feel that this new lens could be a big game-changer for their photography. But the problem is compositions are often built up then just for the sake of the lens. And then, the focal range gets chosen independently of the composition.

I have to put my own hand up here. I know this phenomenon not only from visitors of my workshops but myself as well. New lenses have to be tried out. And there is nothing wrong with that. This could even be really good training because you are limited to a particular focal range, which gets challenging. This can stimulate your creativity and supports your improvement as a photographer. This is why it is even recommendable to limit yourself to a particular focal range or even a single focal length from time to time.

How To Choose the Right Focal Length in Landscape Photography 2How can the focal length impact the story? For me, the focal length is an important stylistic instrument to emphasize the story I want to convey. Imagine you are standing in front of an impressing giant mountain, for instance, and you grab your ultra-wide angle lens. The most impressive giant would quickly turn into a starved gnome in your photograph.

This is okay if you don’t want to emphasize the dominance of the mountain. But in the case that it was the dominance of the mountain you were attracted to, which led originally to the wish to photograph it, you should consider exactly that trigger. You should ask yourself: do you want to tell the story of a giant mountain or a gnome peak? This is how the focal length has an impact on your story.

How To Choose the Right Focal Length in Landscape Photography 3In most cases, we want to get depth in our photographs, and manipulating perspective is a great way to do this. The trick is here to find the right balance between the size of the foreground and that of the distant elements. This is the reason why I’m so happy with zoom lenses. I can choose exactly that frame I want to have and I can decide the size difference between the foreground and the distant elements.

Many more details and even more tips about how to choose the focal length out in the field, especially for landscape photography, are revealed in the video above.

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Testing the Google Pixel 6 Pro for Landscape Photography

Testing the Google Pixel 6 Pro for Landscape Photography

Mobile phones have been hauling gains in usability for photography and videography year on year. It’s comfortably to the point where a cutting-edge smartphone in the right hands can create images — particularly those that do not require a narrow depth of field — that is indistinguishable from interchangeable lens cameras. The number of megapixels phones have been able to offer has been more than enough for some time. However, we’re beginning to see vast improvements elsewhere, which has elevated phones into a position where they are highly usable for certain types of photography. One genre that lends itself well to smartphones is landscape.

The Google Pixel 6 Pro has a 50-megapixel wide-angle lens, 48-megapixel telephoto lens, and a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens. The camera is then supported by LDAF (Laser Detect Auto Focus) sensor for more effective focusing speeds. As is often the case with phone cameras, a lot of the heavy lifting is done by software, and the built-in AI for the Google Pixel 6 Pro is no different. There are a number of modes that allow for creative motion blur, toning, and even astrophotography modes.

In this video, Brent Hall takes out the Pixel 6 Pro on a fully-fledged landscape shoot to see how it performs. Personally, I’m impressed. What do you make of its results?

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2021 Natural Landscape Photography Awards: The Winners

2021 Natural Landscape Photography Awards: The Winners

Why does the world need another landscape photography competition? Well, the Natural Landscape Photography Awards, the first competition of its kind, aims to promote landscape photographers who strive for realism and authenticity in their images.

This new competition has established important parameters for entry images that restrict certain digital editing techniques and compositing. The result is an inspiring showcase of images from a talented array of photographers who aim to stay true to the natural beauty of the landscape. 

2021 marking its inaugural year, the Natural Landscape Photography Awards was founded by Matt Payne, Tim Parkin, Alex Nail, and Rajesh Jyothiswaran. As talented and acclaimed photographers in their own right, they wanted to create a place where the in-field talent of photographers is celebrated, and where post-processing is applied in a way that remains true to the scene experienced. 

One of photography’s unique features is its ability to clearly represent the visual experience of
the world. The competitions we see online sometimes reward the technical skills of post-
processing, compositing and graphic design over the challenges of working within the limits of the real world. -Matt Payne, Founder

 The competition has been a massive success for its first year, with 13,368 photographs submitted by over 1,300 photographers from 47 countries around the world. The judging panel consists of eight industry leaders, including world-renowned photographers Joe Cornish and William Neill, who all share the vision and values of the competition’s founders. 

Photographer of the Year, Winner: Eric Bennett 

Eric Bennett, the winner of Photographer of the Year, had this to say regarding the competition: 

As a photographer who strives to show people the value of wilderness, I have always enjoyed seeing and creating more subtle and personal photographs that portray nature in a realistic manner. As these kinds of images tend to have a quieter impact, they often end up being largely ignored in most photography competitions. This is why I have not entered many competitions in the past, since I felt my artwork would be judged based on factors that I do not value myself.

However, I decided to submit my photographs for the Natural Landscape Awards because I liked that the competition was focused on awarding images based on composition, lighting, and originality as opposed to post-processing techniques or outlandish compositing. I had no idea that I would end up receiving the Photographer of the Year Award, as the intent behind entering was only to show my support.

To be given this award by such a prestigious and well respected group of photographers whom I have always looked up to is a great honor for me. I hope that the Natural Landscape Awards can continue for many years to come, remain true to its values, and also inspire other photography competitions to award photographers based on similar principles of artistry.

 Photograph of the Year, Winner: Steve Alterman 

2021 Natural Landscape Photography Awards: The Winners 4

Landscapes come in many sizes. Sometimes the best images are literally at your feet! Fellsfjara is the black sand beach opposite the famous glacial lagoon in southeastern Iceland. As icebergs from the lagoon wash out to sea, many of them are stranded on the beach, destined to melt away. Early one morning, I encountered a small, fairly flat, iceberg close to the ocean. Small waves occasionally broke over it and disappeared into the black sand. After watching this particular scene for a few minutes, I noticed that the early morning sun sparkled on the small pebbles on the beach and that the tip of the iceberg, coupled with the small orange rock and the pebbles, created a stunning graphic. Maneuvering the tripod and camera into a position to capture the scene was a bit of a challenge, but happily, in the end, it worked out nicely.

Grand Landscape, Winner: Michael Frye 

2021 Natural Landscape Photography Awards: The Winners 5

I’ve lived in or near Yosemite for over 35 years, so I know the park intimately, and have photographed it in every season, in almost every conceivable weather.

After so many years, it can be challenging to find fresh ways of photographing this place. I’m often photographing more intimate views of Yosemite, because there’s an infinite variety of subject matter to work with. I’ve also made many photographs of Yosemite at night.

But I’ve also tried to photograph grand landscapes of Yosemite Valley from different perspectives. The classic views are classic for a reason – they work. But I thought that surely there must be some other spots that would also work, where the landforms would fit together in a pleasing way – and where the view wouldn’t be blocked by trees!

I had visited this view of El Capitan on perhaps a dozen occasions, hoping for some exceptional light. Usually I had gone home disappointed. But on this March afternoon, after a small snow squall moved through the valley, I was treated to some of the most beautiful light and mist I’ve ever seen on El Cap.

Intimate and Abstract, Winner: Franka Gabler

2021 Natural Landscape Photography Awards: The Winners 6

Every autumn I make several trips to the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains to photograph the change of seasons. The mountain pass I use to drive there is usually open until the end of October – when it closes for the season. The weather plays an important role and influences how fall colors develop, so the vegetation looks slightly different every year.

One of my favorite scenes to photograph is when aspen trees are almost bare – their fair bark glows, and the surrounding vegetation has a chance to show off its subtle hues. On this crisp autumn morning, I was drawn to this quiet scene, observing nature preparing for rest. I was alone, at dawn, waiting for light to become bright enough to capture subtle colors and textures. There was just a tiny amount of yellow foliage left on the aspen trees, adding a discrete splash of warm color, contrasting mostly cool hues of the Sierra willow brush.

The scene made me feel melancholic – that’s why I titled the photograph “Autumn Blues.”

2021 Natural Landscape Photography Awards: The Winners 7

The 30 minutes spent taking this image was like no other time with a camera.

Setting up my tripod as thunder boomed around me, hopes of getting an image turned to excitement as the storm moved over the Matterhorn.

I was briefly frustrated trying to nail focus and settings in the dark. Occasional flashes of nearby lightning helped me recompose, refine focus and adjust settings. But I cursed each of them as a missed opportunity to get a shot. Once happy with the camera set up, I could take time to fire off numerous 10 second exposures and just watch the show.

Each lightning strike gave me the shivers. When these two hit the summit, I knew I had something special in the camera.

Excitement, awe, relief, pride. All in 30 minutes. This range of emotion is rare when taking a landscape image. I’m very lucky to have both witnessed the event and captured it with a camera.

2021 Natural Landscape Photography Awards: The Winners 8

There’s something about taking to wing and leaving the normal plane you travel on that allows you to create a whole new perspective and relationship with the landscape around you, particularly in the vast desert areas of Australia where this image was taken. It is the flattest continent on earth and from the ground it can stretch into an almost featureless plane. As you rise into the sky all its remarkable structures and hidden intricacies begin to reveal themselves in greater complexity and depth. The true immensity of the landscape, interconnectivity of nature and perhaps even an echo of the dreamtime stories of its creation are brought to light.

By taking the horizon away and any sense of scale, as I’ve done here, the viewer is invited to move away from their more literal mind into more figurative paths of interpretation. Positioning a fixed wing aircraft into just the right angle over your chosen subject can be a difficult task at times, with many factors coming into play, but that makes it all the more satisfying when all the elements come into place. The image presented here as you see it, is basically straight out of camera.

Youth, Winner: Jai Shet 

I took this picture in Joshua Tree National Park in May 2021. Among a group of Joshua trees, I spotted one of them was missing a branch which made for a perfect place to align the moon. In my photo, the tree appeared to hold the moon like a lantern, using its ghostly light to reveal the landscape. The silhouettes of background Joshua trees seemed to subtly lean in toward the moon as though they desired to hold it themselves.

ASH documents unprecedented fires in Tasmania from 2019. Areas photographed include Hartz Mountains National Park, Franklin Gordon River National Park, Great Lakes, and Tasmania’s East Coast. The project documents the destruction of these fires, the thin line between survival and destruction, and the re-emergence of life, albeit affected by a habitat that has lost many fire vulnerable species.

As you can see, the winning images are inspiring examples of how nature can be stunning and surreal without the aid of unnatural and overblown editing techniques. That being said, the purpose of this competition is not to disparage any particular style or art form. Everyone is entitled to create their art in whatever mode inspires them. This competition is nothing more than the founders’ attempt at recognizing the incredible work of photographers who may have been overlooked on popular photo-sharing websites due to a more subtle and restrained processing style. We should all be excited to see the influence this competition will have on the art of landscape photography in years to come. Be sure to check out the NLPA website to view the full competition results, including runners-up and founder’s awards! 

All images used with permission

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Landscape Photographer of the Year 2021 – See the winners!

Landscape Photographer of the year 2021 Book

November 1, 2021

Landscape Photographer of the Year 2021 – now celebrating its 14th year – here we are able to share with you some of the amazing landscape photographs chosen as this years winners.

From dramatic storms and raging seas to the quieter joys of misty woodlands and close-ups of nature’s fascinating details, the winning photographs in this year’s competition not only display the talent of their creators but also inspire visitors to explore and discover the wonders of Britain’s countryside.

Mara Leite Landscape Photographer of the Year 2021 Winner

Mara Leite LPOTY 2021 Winner with ‘Morning at Countryside’

With a beautiful shot, ‘Morning at Countryside’, taken in West Sussex, Mara Leite scoops the prestigious title of Overall Winner and receives the £10,000 top prize in this year’s competition.

Charlie Waite, the awards founder says, ‘With the glorious ring lighting and a splash of golden light at the top, there is a sense of security and protection as much as secrecy that emerges from this delicate photograph where we are beckoned to go forward.’

Evie Easterbrook Junior winner Landscape Photographer of the Year 2021

Evie Easterbrook Junior winner LPOTY 2021 with “Joining the Queue”

The Young Landscape Photographer of the Year title goes to Evie Easterbrook for her image ‘Joining the Queue’ taken in Southwold Harbour. Charlie Waite says, ‘The humour in this photograph is wonderfully conveyed and seems reminiscent of an earlier time, perhaps the fifties, and embraces a piece of classic Britain.’

An exhibition of shortlisted and winning entries will premiere at London Bridge on 15 November and run until 9 January 2022. A tour of the UK will follow. To see all the winners and awarded entries from this year’s Landscape Photographer of the Year competition, visit

Congratulations also go to the winners of this year’s categories:

Classic View winner Philip George ‘Chesterton Windmill’

Classic View winner Philip George ‘Chesterton Windmill’

  • Classic View winner Philip George ‘Chesterton Windmill’
Urban Life winner Karen Brickley ‘Walk Diagonal’

Urban Life winner Karen Brickley ‘Walk Diagonal’

  • Urban Life winner Karen Brickley ‘Walk Diagonal’
  • Your View winner Robin Dodd ‘Runner at Dawn’
Black and White winner Miles Middlebrook ‘Daybreak beside the River Brathay’

Black and White winner Miles Middlebrook ‘Daybreak beside the River Brathay’

  • Black and White winner Miles Middlebrook ‘Daybreak beside the River Brathay’

Congratulations also go to the winners of this year’s Special Awards:

  • Lines in the Landscape in association with Network Rail winner Malcolm Blenkey ‘Glenfinnan Viaduct’
  • Historic Britain in association with The Sunday Times winner Mark Amphlett ‘Out of the Darkness’
  • Landscapes at Night is association with Light and Land winner Ian Asprey ‘Once in a Lifetime’
 © Tomasz Rojek, 'Dunnottar Castle'

© Tomasz Rojek, ‘Dunnottar Castle’ Historic Britain Entry

Categories and Special Awards

  • Classic View is the category for landscape photography in its purest form; sweeping views that capture the beauty and splendour of the UK in one image.
  • Your View allows the entrants to express what the UK landscape means to them through photography. It is a way to comment on the way we treat our landscapes and a chance to provide a new way of looking at our environment.
  • Urban Life is a chance for the 80% of the UK population living in built-up areas to take pictures of the landscapes that they connect with on a day-to-day basis.
  • Black and White is the category for urban and suburban landscapes, coastal shots and captures of the classic British countryside
  • The Network Rail Award for Lines in the Landscape is for the photographer who best captures the spirit of today’s rail network as it relates to the landscape around it.
  • The Sunday Times Magazine Award for Historic Britain celebrates the 100th anniversary of The Sunday Times by showing elements of Britain’s history that still appear in our landscape today.
  • Light and Land Award for Landscapes at Night look at the various style and techniques used for night time shots of the British landscape.
Landscape Photographer of the year 2021 Book

Landscape Photographer of the year 2021 Book

Landscape Photographer of the Year Collection 14 Published on 28th October by Ilex. Hardback, £26.

2021 marks the fourteenth edition of the popular Landscape Photographer of the Year, the stunning coffee-table book that contains spectacular full-colour prints of the winning and commended entries from the 2021 Landscape Photographer of the Year competition. Both book and competition showcase the United Kingdom’s most beautiful and dramatic scenery through the sharp eyes of the nation’s best amateur and professional photographers.


An exhibition of shortlisted and winning entries will premiere at London Bridge on the 15 November until the 9th January 2022 giving thousands of visitors the chance to see the very best of the British countryside in the very heart of the capital before a subsequent tour of the country.

About Landscape Photographer of the Year

The Landscape Photographer of the Year competition, now in its fourteenth year, is one of the UK’s most prestigious photography competitions. It was founded by the country’s leading landscape photographer Charlie Waite, in order to provide an “on-going platform for capturing images that best symbolise our land and our times, and that will stand as a record of our country”. Charlie has taken photos professionally for over 50 years and is firmly established as one of the world’s most celebrated international landscape photographers. He has published 28 books on photography and has held over 30 solo exhibitions across Europe, the USA, Japan and Australia.

For more landscape photography articles, head over to the Landscape photography section of the site. 

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