Are you ever intimidated by those strapping young Insta-photographers that seem to travel the world climbing mountain after mountain? They seem to exist purely to seek out the most inhospitable environments to feed their impressive portfolios. Are you thinking that you can’t be a landscape photographer if you’re not able to do serious days of wilderness treks or at least get in some formidable day hikes to out-of-the-way locales?
Whether you’re unable or unwilling to walk a long way, it doesn’t matter and you shouldn’t let that get in the way of a good landscape photo opportunity. Some of Ansel Adam’s most famous photographs were actually taken just a stone’s throw from the road. With that in mind, in this video photographer, Mike Smith gives you some tips to capture stunning landscapes without having to exert yourself.
Mike’s first (very good) advice is to not cause traffic issues. You should find a sleepy back road preferably, or find a spot with a pull out where you can comfortably stop your vehicle. It should go without saying that you should definitely not photograph and drive at the same time!
Now Mike does have a good point when he says that you are somewhat limited in your vantage point when photographing from the car. If you’re out hiking it’s often easier to be able to change your point of view slightly. To counter this, Mike suggests using a zoom lens to give yourself more options without having to change lenses all the time. Longer focal lengths in particular will afford you more options as you’ll be able to isolate parts of the landscape.
Another great thing about shooting from the car is that you can take advantage of having a portable shelter. That means if you’re in an environment that would normally be quite inhospitable you can still go out to take photos without any problems. I remember capturing some of my favourite images of Going to the Sun Road in Montana during a snow storm from the car.
Additionally, you can use a bean bag on the top of the door with the window rolled all the way down to steady your camera. This is especially useful if you’re using those longer lenses. And bonus points for not having to carry a tripod. You can just keep a nice sized beanbag in your glove box ready for whenever the mood strikes.
All in all, Mike has some great tips to help you get back out and shoot, no matter what your fitness levels. Don’t let a lack of mobility stop you from enjoying landscape photography.