Landscape Photography

Landscape photography shows spaces within the world, sometimes vast and unending, but other times microscopic. Landscape photographs typically capture the presence of nature but can also focus on man-made features or disturbances of landscapes. Landscape photography is done for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the most common is to recall a personal observation or experience while in the outdoors, especially when traveling. Others pursue it particularly as an outdoor lifestyle, to be involved with nature and the elements, some as an escape from the artificial world. Many landscape photographs show little or no human activity and are created in the pursuit of a pure, unsullied depiction of nature, devoid of human influence—instead featuring subjects such as strongly defined landforms, weather, and ambient light. As with most forms of art, the definition of a landscape photograph is broad and may include rural or urban settings, industrial areas or nature photography.

Landscape photography typically requires relatively simple photographic equipment, though more sophisticated equipment can give a wider range of possibilities to the art. An artist’s eye for the subject can yield attractive and impressive results even with modest equipment.

  • Camera

Any ordinary (or sophisticated) camera — film camera or digital camera—can be readily used for common landscape photography. Higher-resolution and larger-format digital cameras (or larger-format film cameras) permit a greater amount of detail and a wider range of artistic presentation.However, a larger-format camera yields a more limited depth of field (range of the scene that is in focus) for a given aperture value, requiring greater care in focusing. A camera with “panorama” function or frame can permit very wide images suitable for capturing a panoramic view.

  • Lens

 Telephoto lenses can also facilitate limited ranges of focus, to enable the photographer to emphasize a specific area, at a fairly specific distance, in sharp focus, with the foreground and background blurred. A big difference between a wide-angles lens and a telephoto lens is the compression of the landscape; the wider the angle the more distance will appear between the foreground and background elements; however, a telephoto lens will make the same elements appear closer to each other. Other lenses that can help include the fisheye lens for extremely wide angles and dramatic effect, and the macro lens for extreme close-up work. While variable-range zoom lenses are widely used, some landscape photographers prefer fixed-range prime lenses to provide higher clarity and quality in the image.

  • Filters

    Neutral density filter demonstration. Photo taken with shutter speed 1/5 of a second and a focal length of 21mm. Filters can serve a wide range of purposes in landscape photography. For instance, a polarizing filter can darken the sky, while allowing surface features to be shown in relatively sharper clarity. Polarizing filters also help with cutting glare from water, snow and ice—even facilitating greater transparency of water and ice. Neutral density filters are darkened with a neutral (colorless) gray tint which reduces the amount of light entering the camera lens. These filters are used to lengthen shutter speeds without the need to alter aperture or film/sensor sensitivity, or alternatively, to use large apertures without exceeding the maximum shutter speed of a camera.