MASTERING LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY- DAVID TAYLOR
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Above: One of the pleasures of shooting landscape images is that you can spend time doing something pleasurable in a beautiful location. You also have a concrete reminder of that moment as a keepsake, in the form of your photograph.
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First published 2014 by
an imprint of AE Publications Ltd
166 High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1XU, UK
Text and images David Taylor, 2014 (unless otherwise specified)
Copyright in the Work AE Publications Ltd, 2014
All rights reserved.
The rights of David Taylor to be identified as the author of this work have
been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs, and Patents
Act 1988, Sections 77 and 78.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior
permission of the publishers and copyright owner.
While every effort has been made to obtain permission from the copyright
holders for all material used in this book, the publishers will be pleased to
hear from anyone who has not been appropriately acknowledged, and to
make the correction in future reprints.
The publishers and author can accept no legal responsibility for any
consequences arising from the application of information, advice, or
instructions given in this publication.
British Library Cataloging in Publication Data: A catalog record of this
book is available from the British Library.
Editor: Chris Gatcum
Series Editor: Richard Wiles
Designer: Robin Shields
Typeface: Helvetica Neue
Color reproduction by GMC Reprographics
Chapter 2ExposureFirst Principles
Exposing to the Right
Dealing with Contrast
Chapter 3LightWhat is Light?
The Qualities of Light
Time of Day
Weather & Light
Chapter 4PreparationThe Sun
Hills & Mountains
Lakes, Rivers & Waterfalls
People & Animals
Sunrise & Sunset
Buildings in the Landscape
Bad Weather Days
Chapter 6CompositionCompositional Rules
Chapter 7FiltersUsing Filters
UV & Skylight Filters
Extreme ND Filters
Graduated ND Filters
Chapter 8PostproductionPostproduction Fundamentals
Basic Image Corrections
Black & White
Preparing to Print
Useful Web Sites
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6 MASTERING LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
Photographers often go through two stages as
they start to explore photography. The fi rst stage
is relatively simple to defi ne: its the learning
stage. This is when the technical issues involved
in making photographic images are grappled with
The second stage is slightly subtler. It requires
the photographer to ask himself or herself a
philosophical question: what kind of photographer
am I? If the answer is landscape photographer,
then this is the book for you.
Defi ning SkillsAll photographers need to know the basic
technical skills of the craft. However, as strange
as it may seem, this is actually the easy bit, as
theres a logic behind things such as exposure
or focusing. Even if they seem mystifying initially,
these skills can be learned.
Less easy to defi ne are the skills that need
to be learned once youve decided what sort of
photographer you are. A wedding photographer
needs to have the same basic photographic
skills as a landscape photographer, but that
doesnt mean that one would be able to do
the others job. Wedding photographers need
to be able to get the best out of people and to
have the patience and organizational skills of a
saintly general. Im full of admiration for wedding
photographersits not something Id wish to do
on a regular basis, if ever!
A landscape photographer, however, needs to
understand how the landscape is affected by the
weather, the seasons, and the light falling upon
it. Navigational skills are also useful for finding
potential subjects, but above all, empathy for
the natural world is essential. Without that I
dont think a landscape photographer can make
images that will inspire others. Ultimately, to be
fulfilled creatively, a landscape photographer has
to move beyond being a mere technician to find
his or her own artistic voice.
Right: One aspect of landscape photography that I fi nd endlessly fascinating is the way the light changes
throughout the day, affecting the mood of an image.
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8 MASTERING LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
Slowing DownLandscape photography gives you permission to
temporarily cut yourself off from the modern world.
Being out in the landscape early in the morning
or late in the evening means youre often on your
own, with only your thoughts for company. These
are all good things: creativity requires a certain
amount of peaceful contemplation to fl ourish. Its
incredibly diffi cult to be creative in a noisy, busy
offi ce if others constantly disturb you.
It is important to allow yourself time at your
chosen location without feeling a desperate panic
to shoot. This means arriving in good time so you
can wander around, take in the atmosphere, and
allow your subconscious to get to work. In fact
theres something to be said for not shooting for
at least teneven 20minutes after you arrive.
Its all too tempting to fi re your camera like
a machine gun, hoping that if you shoot often
enough you will create at least one worthwhile
image. Dont give in to that temptation. A few
good images will always be more satisfying than
scores of mediocre ones.
This is another good reason to arrive in good
time: if youve got time to think and to contemplate,
youll panic less and shoot fewer images. An even
more compelling reason to slow down is that
every image you shoot will have to be assessed
and either rejected or processed at some point
in the future. Overshooting will expand the time
this takes, and this could be time better spent
outdoors shooting instead!
Left: Walking can be incredibly helpful to the creative process, particularly if you take time to look around you as you walk. This image was shot on an afternoons stroll because I did just that.
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Above: Landscape photography isnt an immediate social experience in the way that portrait or wedding photography is. The pleasure of sharing comes later, when you show your images to friends, family, or via social media. And your work should be shared: spreading the wonder of the natural world will encourage others to explore it for themselves.
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10 MASTERING LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
Landscape photography as a genre is almost
as old as photography itself. This means that we
have our pick of nearly two centuries of images
to look at and learn from, and everyone should
have heroes and heroines to inspire them. The
Internet has made this easier, of course, but theres
arguably nothing better than curling up with a book
about landscape photography and taking in the
work of others. For me, this is a particular treat
on dark, wintry evenings when the weather isnt
cooperating and inspiration is lacking.
The work of a really great photographer, more
often than not, still seems like magic to me. I