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Backpacker Magazine – March 2010

Shoot Like a Pro: Landscapes - Wide Angle, Zoom, & Macro

Whether you're shooting wide angle or on zoom, learn how to best capture the beautiful scenery around you.

by: Steve Howe

PAGE 1 2
(Photo by Jon Cornforth)
(Photo by Jon Cornforth)
(Photo by Tomas Kaspar)
(Photo by Tomas Kaspar)

Wide Angle
The inspiring scenes you see in this magazine? Chances are they were taken with a wide-angle lens (14-24mm). Shorter focal lengths keep subjects tiny against a grand landscape. “You convey a sense of place with wide-angle shots,” says photographer Jon Cornforth. “You give somebody the feeling that he’s standing there.” Here’s how to get them.

» Include an interesting foreground object, then get close—set the camera within two feet of flowers or rocks.
» Shoot at the highest f/stop possible (f/11 to f/22) to increase your depth of field. “This lets you shoot from three feet away to infinity, and everything will be in focus,” says Cornforth.
» Tiny apertures require slower shutter speeds, so a tripod is essential for a crisp image. To prevent blur from a shaky trigger finger, use a cable release or the self-timer delay; both keep your hands off the camera.

Longer lenses also make for striking landscape shots because they compress the scene, making background peaks look more imposing—as if they’re rising right behind your subject (see photo at left). Use a 70-200mm telephoto lens with an SLR. (Using a point-and-shoot? Get crisper photos with an optical—not digital—zoom of at least 10x.) Also, remember that small slices of the landscape can make for unforgettable photos—think a moonrise over a ridge or a rainbow plunging into a distant canyon. Zoom in to grab the details.

One of the biggest mistakes made by amateur landscape photographers? Shooting too quickly, says pro Tomas Kaspar. When you find a vista that grabs you, take a moment to look through your camera to find the perfect angle. “What you see in the viewfinder is different from what your eye sees,” says Kaspar. Scout for a shot with the perfect foreground, beautiful light, and no distracting branches or other features. “It shouldn’t be point-and-shoot; it should be point-look-and-shoot.”

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Reader Rating: -


Sep 15, 2011

For sunny days (harsh shadows) use a white umbrella.
It doesn't have to be a photo umbrella. White ones are hard to find. If you find one cheap, buy two.
Oh yeah- nice to have when it rains.

Nov 03, 2010

Wow this article couldn't be more wrong, its a horrible idea to shoot above F/8 or F/11, after that you will suffer softeness of your photos due to diffraction.

Nov 03, 2010

Wow this article couldn't be more wrong, its a horrible idea to shoot above F/8 or F/11, after that you will suffer softeness of your photos due to diffraction.

Jul 14, 2010

when I'm trying to photograph a wildflower up close and I want to blur the background, I will use my 16-35mm lens(canon L lens), I will place my camera/lens about 4 inches from the flower, letting the lens autofocus set the aperture( lens in aperture priorty), then once the lens has focused on the flower , take the shot.The backgound will blur, but the flower will be sharp.I have also antiqued the color of the photo in IPhoto in my Mac computer, giving the image an early 1930's Calif. water color look.Captures people's eye really quick with the unusal color.I also print the image on matte paper to help create the antique feel( Calumet Brillant satin white matte paper).
May 17, 2010


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