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Landscape Photography

Updated on June 1, 2015

How to create landscape images that are amongst the very best.

Welcome! Here we aim to present the best that we can find in Landscape Photography.

This will include: examples of the best, techniques that will get us there, books that have been written about it, equipment that will help us to improve, and anything else that is relevant to taking great photographs of the landscape - photographs that we will be proud to show our friends or even enter into a photographic competition.

I will lead the way, but you must contribute as well if we are to meet the needs of the many who are fed up with the average (or less) and want the very best.

(All images Copyright: John C Doornkamp)

My background in photography

For many years I took photographs as a part of my professional life as a Physical Geographer. Now I am taking photographs for entirely aesthetic reasons. "Why the change?" you may ask. This change was stimulated by an invitation to join a photographic society. The images that I saw there were mind-glowingly stunning. Here were ordinary people, just like me, taking photographs that brought the beauty and wonder of the world to life. I knew straightaway this was for me - so long as I could master the skills and have the "eye" to see the "really stunning picture".

Very quickly I learned my limitations. The only route to greater success was practice, advice, practice, advice, and yet more practice and advice.

Now, after 20 years of practicing and hearing advice I want to try to pass some of that on to others.

For those of you interested in landscape photography this is the place where that will happen. For those interested in other aspects of photography I have prepared other lenses (just refer to the list of my lenses elsewhere on this screen).

I want all of you to enrich your photography by feeling more and more in control of what you are doing. Just keep practicing, and don't be resistant to taking advice.

Soon it may be your turn to try to inspire others. In the meantime - good photography!

Photo Tips 1: Concentrate on the foreground - Find a good foreground to include in the scene.

Derwent Water, Lake District U.K.
Derwent Water, Lake District U.K.

Look at some of the better landscape photographs and you will notice that they have a strong foreground. Try to do the same. You may see a wonderful scene and you want to capture it with your camera. One way to approach this is to just shoot in order to record what you see.

If you want a really good picture there is another way. Start by finding a strong foreground - it may be a particular tree, boulder, animal in a field, barn, house, boat, or whatever, and once you have identified the foreground you intend to use place it on the right hand side of your image (one third of the way up the frame and one third of the way from right to left across the frame). Then take the scene.

(You will tell me that I have not done that in the image above. You are right, but what I have done is to make the boat in the lower right-hand corner the largest one in the group, and this has the same effect of providing the image with a sense of balance.)

You can push this idea of having a strong foreground even further - when you see something that would make a good foreground move around it until you find a good background to go with it.

Photo Tips 2: It is all about the right light - Imagine that you are photographing the light and not the object

Light and fall colours, Stowe, Vemont, USA
Light and fall colours, Stowe, Vemont, USA

All good landscape photographs reveal something special about the light that falls on the scene. Sometimes it is a distinct beam of sunshine at others it is a glow dispersed through a morning mist. It may be the last moments of daylight or it may be the soft light of early morning, it does not matter which so long as the light adds a special dimension to the landscape itself.

To put it another way, if the light is photogenically stunning look for the right scene or object to show it off.

Learning to see light in all its forms is an important skill in landscape photography.

Photo Tips: 3 Don't forget the urban landscape. - There are some great photo opportunities for landscape photographers within our towns and cities.

Water feature outside Sheffield Railway Station
Water feature outside Sheffield Railway Station

A photographer friend and I go out together for one day each Autumn in order to look for great landscape pictures. Until this year we have always gone into the countryside. This time we thought it would be a challenge to see if we could achieve worthwhile results in an urban area. We chose the City of Sheffield (England).

We had a great day, and were pleasantly surprised by the number of opportunities that we found. One of the many attractions of this City are the imaginative ways in which water has been introduced into the urban landscape. I have included one of my images from that day as an example.

Photo Poll 1: Tripods - Tripod or no tripod? - that is the question.

In Landscape Photography - Do you use your tripod for more than 50% of your pictures?

See results

Photographing Water in the Landscape

Many landscape photographers have a special interest in photographing water. In fact, when they see some water they instinctively look for a good image.

They may want to photograph the water itself or they may use it as a means of reflecting the scene beyond.

If you really want to turn a landscape photographer on, show them a waterfall!

Water, however, occurs in many forms in the landscape. It can be as snow, ice, glaciers, geysers, rivers, streams, waterfalls, lakes, seas and clouds. Each of these states may require different photographic techniques if they are to be recorded well.

Try reading "The Ultimate Guide to Photographing Water" if you want a modern account on photographing water, whatever its state.

Gallery of landscape images. - (All images Copyright: John C Doornkamp)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Yellowstone terraces in a soft lightMorning light falling on the smoke drifting from bonfires on the agricultural terraces in Madeira.A beam of light falls on a glen on the Isle of Arran, ScotlandA lone tree emerging from the mist (Corsica)Keep it simple if you can. (Canadian Rockies)Reflected light within Bryce Canyon.Dawn over Elterwater (English Lake District).
Yellowstone terraces in a soft light
Yellowstone terraces in a soft light
Morning light falling on the smoke drifting from bonfires on the agricultural terraces in Madeira.
Morning light falling on the smoke drifting from bonfires on the agricultural terraces in Madeira.
A beam of light falls on a glen on the Isle of Arran, Scotland
A beam of light falls on a glen on the Isle of Arran, Scotland
A lone tree emerging from the mist (Corsica)
A lone tree emerging from the mist (Corsica)
Keep it simple if you can. (Canadian Rockies)
Keep it simple if you can. (Canadian Rockies)
Reflected light within Bryce Canyon.
Reflected light within Bryce Canyon.
Dawn over Elterwater (English Lake District).
Dawn over Elterwater (English Lake District).

This is where you have a say - Where do you want this lens to take you?

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    • john-doornkamp profile image
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      john-doornkamp 3 years ago

      @sukkran trichy: Glad you liked it. Thank you for looking.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 3 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      stunning photographs. thanks for sharing some great tips.