Weather is a photographers best friend…
Saturday morning was a great example of how important weather is to my photos. Without it, the photos will not have any sense of place or time. They won’t have any mood or feeling. The landscapes become only pictures.
Ideal picture conditions don’t occur every day. They don’t usually last for hours on end. If that were the case, you’d be seeing many more interesting pictures.
Photography workshops? They should be less about photography and more about being aware of weather and the effect it has on light.
How best to learn about the weather and landscapes? It’s very simple and it doesn’t cost very much. Join a photo sharing website like Flickr. Browse the many landscape groups that are there. When you see an image that catches your eye or stands out among the rest, add it as a favorite so that you can revisit it.
There are many world class photographers there. Most of them are amateurs. I remain convinced that the best photographers shooting landscapes today aren’t the ones holding seminars and workshops or writing for magazines, they’re the ones who are shooting for themselves. I’ve blogged about and showcased a few of them over the past few months. They are but a small sampling of the excellent work that is being done today.
After you’ve marked a few dozen or a few hundred photos as favorites, you now have a reference point. A huge part of the picture taking process is visualization. If you can recognize the elements in front of you that make a great landscape, all that is left for you to do is to compose and press the shutter release.
Landscape photography needn’t be complicated or expensive. Any camera, any location. My prairies aren’t any more beautiful than where you live. There are times of the day and year when the places close to you can look special.
ps. The technical stuff for those that are interested. Three exposures, -2, 0 and +2 EV shot as RAWs. Tonemapped in Photomatix with very conservative settings. That’s the important thing about Photomatix. It’s very easy to pull the sliders too far to the right and end up with a cartoon. Photomatix can give you finished images that are indistinguishable from an image made up of only one exposure.
No filters! That’s right. No filters. I have them. I don’t use them. They wreck more photos than they help. Once you expose an image with a filter, it is forever changed. It’s almost impossible to lighten branches, twigs, trees, mountaintops, etc. that have been over darkened with the current fave of the landscape shooter, the graduated neutral density filter.
The final image had minor tweaks in Photoshop for color and density. A couple of minutes on the computer. Not hours and hours. Anything that is that labor intensive is not something that I care to do.