The Art of Landscape Photography
As with all photography, the goal of landscape photography artists is to explain visually some concept, emotion, or thought that is in their heads. In this case the inspiration or muse for the emotions is some intriguing landscape in nature. This should come as no surprise, since landscapes are known to inspire philosophical and deeply personal thoughts in those who see them, whether in digital form or in real life. Perhaps this is a mountain vista, a scene composed of farms and rolling hills, or an expansive ocean sunset. These delicate yet enduring subjects can be quite elusive, and the budding landscape photographer must be prepared with some patience, careful timing, and the right equipment.
Nature landscape pictures often look simple, but there is nothing simple about landscape photography. It is not the same as casually snapping a picture during a break on a mountain camping or hiking trip. Much more time and work than this is needed to get a piece that is truly art. It is also difficult to make a career out of landscape photography, or it is at least difficult to break into this field. If you go into this venture with the intention of creating photographs that you yourself will find pleasant and fulfilling, you are more likely to find success.
The time, effort, and patience involved mean that landscape photography is not for those who are easily frustrated. For example, creating a beautiful sunrise photograph often takes days of preparation. You will have to scout out locations, the weather, and viewpoints. You will have to arrive very early in the day and have a narrow time frame for making your shot. You will need special gear and settings to get the right exposure and capture the myriad of colors that reveal themselves in this breathtaking early moment. You will probably have to make several tries before you are satisfied with your piece. Taking good landscape photographs is like going on a hunt, except that in this case you are trying to enhance, not hurt, your prey!
In addition to patience and effort there is also money involved. Getting good equipment for landscape photography will not be cheap. Here are suggestions for some equipment to start out with. At the very least, get yourself a good set of prime lenses. These should have both a fixed focal length and the ability to zoom in with good precision. You need a camera that you can meter in either automatic or manual mode. Perhaps most importantly, a tripod with a ball head is absolutely essential for landscape photography.
What and where you choose to make your nature masterpiece depends on what you are trying to portray in your photograph. Consider the best type of light and weather for your style. What kind of emotions and thoughts will be evoked in the minds of your viewers? Sunshine is often good for inspiring cheery, light emotions. More introspective and philosophical thoughts can be suggested by clouds, fog, and rain. Note that one particular location could provide photographs of either type, depending on the weather and the choices of the photographer. A forest of young trees could look either desolate and empty or lush and plentiful in different circumstances.
One of the joys of being a landscape photographer is that you can bring the beauty of a wild, natural scene you have discovered to others. Of course, your stunning landscape art may have the effect of making your viewers wish to visit this place, which is a double-edged sword. On one hand, the beautiful mountain vista surely deserves its share of visitors who will be just as awed by it as you are. On the other hand, too many visits can ravage the land and ruin the pristine landscape that first inspired you to create your art. Keep this in mind when sharing your work and information about it to those who marvel at your creations!
If you hunger for more resources and photography information or even a place to keep as your favorites just for access later, try Photography Equipment and Resources.