Landscape Photography Tips: Stay Focused with Doug McKinlay

December 9, 2019 0 By Peter Engel

Hi, I’m Doug McKinley, and you’re watching AdoramaTV. Today we are going to look at landscapes, lenses, styles, and techniques to improve your landscape photography. We are here in the wonderful Hever Castle in Kent, where Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn grew up. AdoramaTV presents, Stay Focused with Doug McKinley. So we are here the castle, and it’s looking great. Hopefully we’ll get some really good
pictures, while highlighting the seven key components of what makes a good landscape picture. First up is depth of field. Great landscape pictures have great
depth of field. Lens choice: now, if using a wide angle lens, like this 24 mm lens, everything from the near foreground to
infinity, should be sharp, and the best apertures are between
f/8.0 and f/11.0. These should ensure a sharp image from
near foreground to infinity. Now, there is a different way of measuring depth of field, called hyper focal distance, but we will leave that to another time. Now smaller
apertures mean slower shutters, therefore a good tripod is essential. The
next key component is the focal point. Without a focal point, your landscape
pictures run the risk of turning into nothing but
vast expanses of nothingness. The focal point can be anything, it can be
rocks, trees, or rivers, anything to latch the eye on. Without this, your pictures will have no strength. Focal
points lead the viewer into the picture, they give the images vitality, and don’t
be fooled into thinking that clear days are the only days you
can shoot landscape pictures on. In fact, the opposite is true. Turbulent weather often makes the best
landscape pictures, and make sure you try shooting from
different angles, up high, down low, whatever it takes. The third
component is the sky most landscape pictures will either have a
dominant sky, or a dominant foreground. So be aware of the effect the sky can have
on your pictures, in fact, the sky itself can be a key
component in a good landscape image, in conjunction
watch for reflections, and the right conditions that can make very powerful pictures, and of course make sure your horizons are level.
Nobody wants to see a mountain slip off the frame, stage left, or stage right. Don’t forget to check out Adorama’s latest contest where you can win some amazing prizes! So we have changed our location to have a little chat about composition rules. Now the rule of thirds in linear lines,
are in my opinion, two of the most important rules. Now the
thirds, states that your subject is more pleasing to the eye,
if it falls on on of the four intersecting points.
But don’t get too hung up on this, just get them off center, and our horizons are either, in the top third in the frame, or the bottom
third the frame. Linear lines help to draw the viewer
into the picture. Things like fence lines, or railroad
tracks are a really good example of this. Ultimately, we want your images to engage
with our viewers, we want to draw them into the picture. By following these rules at least
initially, you create better and livelier pictures. The next key component is golden time,
the best light for landscape photography, well, for most outdoor photography happens about
an hour after sunrise, and about an hour before sunset, the
golden time. It’s not a lot of time, so you need to be ready, make sure you are in your previously scouted location, make sure your kit is ready, make sure you are wearing the right clothing, no one wants to scuttle home because they’re cold. The next key component is filters. For a long time, landscape photographers
have had the problem of dealing with bright skies, and dark lands.
Until some boffins decided to invent the graduated neutral density filter. It’s a delineation from clear to dark,
this allows photographers to balance out the light from a bright sky in a dark land, and still
preserve detail in both. If you are going to be a serious landscape
photographer, you have to invest in a set of these. The other filters I use, is a circular
polariser, now this helps to saturate the sky, in
cut reflection, if you need it to be, off water. Lastly, I use the neutral density filter, not the
graduated one, just a neutral density filter. This
allows you to put movement in water. It cuts the light coming into the into
the camera, thus allowing you to use slower shutter speeds. You definitely need to use a tripod, both
a great creative tools. The seventh, and final key component is
improvement. The key to which is innovation,
persistence, and learning from your mistakes. If you
don’t learn from mistakes, you’ll never improve. So embrace them and analyse them. So we found this really great spot at Hever Castle here, this waterfall. It’s perfect for using an a neutral
density filter. This is what these were built for, to put motion in water. This one is 10 stop filter. So it’s really strong, as you see it
looks a little bit like a welder’s latch, you can’t even see through it. So, you have got to make sure everything is set up on the camera before you start. I’ve already taken a meter reading and it has given me half a second. So I know that when I put this filter on the front of that, that meter reading is going to have to go down to about eight minutes. So the shutter is going to open for eight minutes to
get the picture, that’s why we’re using our handy dandy, locking cable release, so let’s get at it. Now I’ve already locked the focus, lock
the all the readings in place, it’s just a matter of pushing the button, and waiting. So it’s almost eight minutes and we are back. Another few seconds and I can shut, close the shutter, and then hopefully we will get a nice image! Unfortunately with these filters there is always a bit of guesswork involved. So let’s see what we have got. It looks a little under exposed to me. You could probably use a few more
seconds, minutes even, of exposure, but I think I can work with this on the computer. Thanks for joining us today, and don’t forget to subscribe to AdoramaTV. Let us know what you think, you can like,
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