Working towards Getting Better Landscape Pictures

Many times you see a picture of something that some else took, but you remember taking that same picture earlier, and yours just doesn’t have the “bang” you wanted in your shot.  I’ve done that, and I’m sure you have as well.  Let’s look at what some of the professionals give their helpful suggestions – for free!  After all, everyone would like to be known for something that gives just a little edge in their favor.

Landscape Photography is one of the most widespread challenges anyone can face.  There are just so many things to watch for, such as the rule of thirds, or where is the light coming from, or more personal, will I get a picture with my finger in it?  You have to plan ahead, even on something that will not be moving or changing – but will it ??    Light and angle of light is always changing, so plan for it.

What’s in the foreground?  Background?  Light?  Angle?  What else?

If you’re a “snap-shooter, or the pre-planner, the one with the tri-pod, light meter and who knows what else, it doesn’t really matter.  What does matter is the end result – the planned end result.

 Blog 38   This picture is a very good picture of the Grand Canyon.  It shows a lot of depth and distance.  It also shows that there wasn’t one single cloud in the sky for the something other than blue and nothing in the “rule of thirds”.  There is nothing wrong with the picture.  In fact, this does tell a lot of the story of the canyon.  But —- (yes, I know, sometimes you just can’t get a better picture.)

 Blog 38 d

This picture is a little better.  Note the rule of thirds where there is something in the foreground that shows depth.  Still not the best, but getting there.

 Blog 38 F

This is the best of the three.  Changed location, different angle, different time (sun in different angle) and rule of thirds still apply.  Land mass is closer, giving more detail of the background.  This angle also gave the tree top which added to the picture.  All three pictures taken the same day, and in the deep winter so you will see some white spots here and there – snow.  It was very cold this day, and we had a wind chill to cope with as well.

One thing you might not realize, is the third picture places a lot of stress on the 3-D effect, even though the actual picture is a flat 2-D photo.  I won’t even try to go into why the brain is fooled into thinking it sees 3-D, but it does.  Also, I did not change the contrast nor play with the color.  This is actually what the camera saw.

AND — to show another difference, all three of these were taken with one of those little flat cameras, the one you carry in your pocket.  This camera is not my preference because of the danger of taking a lot of shots of a finger here and a thumb there.  We don’t have that problem anymore. 

By the way, take lots and lots of pictures, 2 or 3 of each thing you shoot.  The digital camera pictures are free, no film to buy, no fees for development – none of that.  Keep the best and dump the rest.

Landscape photography is very challenging – believe me.  There are things you don’t see in landscape pictures.  The conditions the photographer was in at the time he/she got the shot.  When we were taking the pictures of the Grand Canyon we were fighting higher winds with below freezing temperatures. Blog 38 G

I have seen breathtaking pictures of scenery, but where the photographer was up to his waste in cold mountain stream waters, or on the beach fighting wind and rain just to get that shot of waves crashing down on the sandy shore.

 Just have pity on your friendly photographer.  You have no idea what some people will do or go through just to get a picture —








About royandsherry

Roy is retired military as a radar controller, both Airborne and Ground. Spent 9 years as a Radio Announcer and retired from the corporate world after 14 years as an information analysist, working with classified information for a computer chip manufacturer. Roy is a commercial pilot (ASEL) and has a degree in Interstate Commerce Commission law. Sherry worked as an aircraft parts inventory specialist as a government employee, later as a scheduler and coordinator for a large flight school and retired from the corporate world as a legal administrative assistant for a very large computer chip manufacturer.
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