It’s hard to imagine shooting landscapes, cityscapes or architecture without wide-angle lenses. Of course, photographers of many other genres use them as well. However, it’s easy to make mistakes with a wide-angle lens that will make your photos, well, less than impressive. In this video, Spencer Cox of Photography Life guides you through some tips for mastering wide-angle lenses and using them to make the best out of your shots.
One of the windiest nights I’ve ever taken pictures turned into perhaps the single most rewarding — and frightening — landscape photography experience of my life. I was on the Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley, a place I had visited twice in the past, though under much tamer conditions. This night, the gusts of wind were far greater than I had seen before, and they kicked up a layer of sand that made for amazing sunset photos. But as the day came to a close, it was clear I had entered uncharted waters.
I’ve wondered for a long time what it means to be an ethical landscape photographer. Sure, this field isn’t known for its wide-reaching moral dilemmas or particularly sticky situations, but the question still deserves attention. As landscape photographers, we are in a rare position to show the Earth’s most amazing places to an audience of countless people. It makes sense to me that we should do so with respect. One of the most important rules? Don’t cause harm — not in the field, and, perhaps, not even in post-production.
It might seem like one of the simplest parts of photography: leveling your horizon. Most photographers want their horizons to be straight, of course, but this isn’t an area of photography that gets too much attention. And why would it? Leveling the horizon is a very easy task — right? In practice, though, it requires more care than many people think. You can’t just rely on your camera’s “virtual horizon,” or your post-processing software’s “auto straighten” tool. Our perception of a level horizon is more complicated than that.
Normally, if you’re using a tripod, camera shake isn’t something you’ll have to worry very much about. However, there are some obvious exceptions. If you’ve ever found yourself taking pictures in heavy winds, you’ll know the difficulties of capturing sharp photos — particularly if you’re using a telephoto lens. This seems like an impossible situation; what do you do when a tripod isn’t enough to stop your camera from shaking? Luckily, there are ways to improve sharpness even in windy conditions and come away with photos that are completely usable. I’ll cover some of the most important here.
Along with normal how-to articles and essays, I’ve always liked reading and writing very technical, nitty-gritty articles about photography — sometimes, articles on topics that rarely come up while actually taking pictures. In fact, I usually don’t even use my own sharpest aperture charts in the field, as useful as they are, since I don’t like carrying around charts. So, then, does all that technical stuff matter? Is it even worth talking about in the first place? These questions are very important to ask, since most people don’t want waste their time on topics that are unnecessary for their photography — do these articles actually help? There are no easy answers, but a recent trip I took to Death Valley makes a compelling argument for why some of this highly-technical information really does matter.