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Landscape photography lesson

1 The Midland Metro - Landscape photography lesson

Landscape photography lesson

I went out in the freezing cold to take today’s photos to demonstrate how to take good landscape photos. Today’s landscape photography lesson follows on from last week’s lesson on  camera settings.

Many photography courses stress the importance of ‘framing’ your subject, which means getting it away from the edges of the picture. My subject in this first picture is the tram, it seems framed. Now look at the perspective, the tram lines and lots of other lines go away from us towards a point on the horizon where they would converge if this was a drawing. That perspective gives the shot depth. Look at the patterns in the picture, they make it more interesting. The colours of the subject break up what would otherwise be a boring image. This was the first picture that I took on Sunday:

The Midland Metro - photos - landscape photography lesson

Not quite as good is it? I took this in ‘landscape’ mode and this is with no editing. It looked reasonable good on the preview screen on the rear of the camera, so I knew if it came out a little dark, that could be adjusted in editing.

All the images were a little dark and needed to be made lighter and I also added some contrast to make them brighter in Windows Live gallery. The difference between using auto and landscape is the aperture, shown here as F10, quite a narrow aperture. The sensitivity of the sensor is the ISO and that increased to 400, because it was so dark with the cloud. This photo would have been lighter with a higher ISO, slower shutter speed or a wider aperture. The aperture at F10 is about right because a narrow aperture gives us depth of field and more of the shot in focus.

1 The Midland Metro - photos - photography edit 2

This shot looks OK, but compare it to the first picture and you will see the track is now behind the tram. We have lost the perspective the track gave us. This tram was on my side of the station going away from me to Birmingham. This was shot was with the landscape setting, but with a much higher ISO at 400 and wider aperture giving a shutter speed of  1/160 of a second. The camera adjusted for less light and maybe the movement of the train before I took the shot too.

1 The Midland Metro - photos - photography edit 13

Still on the landscape setting, but I moved over to the other platform to take this shot of the tram going to Birmingham. It’s a good photo, but could I improve it with a manual setting like in the first picture? Look at the track where it changes at the end of the platform; the track looks like it gets lower. That’s just a trick of the light. For the next shots, I set the ISO and aperture myself on A (aperture priority) and got the shot I started with today.

I zoomed out for this shot of the tram leaving the station:

1 The Midland Metro - photos - photography edit 19

That shot is OK, but the tram seems flatter at the front, so a closer shot is better. The tram lines look reasonably alright, but the first picture is still a lot better with more perspective.

You can get good shots, with the landscape setting, but you can get better shots if you understand the settings and set them yourself. I think I should have tried a higher ISO setting to make the sensor even more sensitive to light. The light didn’t look too bad, probably because the pupils in my eyes dilated to compensate for the dark cloud! An ISO of 800 and F8 would have given me a faster shutter speed and that would be better for a moving tram.

I’ll end with a gallery of photos that I took on Sunday. See if you can tell which were on the landscape setting and which were on aperture priority. I changed one to monochrome, sharpened one and had the tram only half in the frame on a couple!

Remember that you can subscribe to this blog, you can also comment and ask questions or follow me on Twitter for updates. That’s it for this week’s landscape photography lesson; there will be another lesson next Wednesday.

The rest of Sunday’s shots: (click a picture to bring up the carousel)

2 Responses

  1. Hi Mike, Yes, the first photo is definitely my favourite but without your explanation, I couldn’t have told you why. The perspective really does seem better in the first photo.

    I also like how you lightened the first photo so the colours and pattern of the bricks stand out.

    Thanks for the lesson, Mike!

    January 18, 2015 at 20:44

  2. Hi Carolyn,

    I tried to do that first photo again without the exif info on the bottom. It was really hard to get the same again! I increased the exposure as well, just a little and that made all the difference. I don’t normally do that. It brought out the patterns better. I’m still struggling with Live Mail. I preferred Outlook, I still haven’t seen the email I should have got for your comment. I did see the one that told me you had pinned a image though! Thanks for that. I got a few snow pictures all at night. They were pink! I think that is infra red light and maybe UV too.They looked quite good though. I changed one to black and white! I have a photo-shoot this week and the next part of my lessons on photography; white balance this week!

    January 19, 2015 at 13:27

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