Nature photography as a photographic genre
Nature photography a brief definition…
Nature photography stems from the desire to represent one’s own way of observing the world, nature and its wonderful infinite spaces, boundless views and not only that, even landscapes that are created by humans, such as cityscapes.
Landscape photography is often the result of personal observation or experience, lived by the photographer or the photography enthusiast, during a trip. The trip could be 10 minutes from home, one hour, several hours or miles away. Sudden choice or planned out, a great opportunity awaits.
Like most forms of art, the definition of a landscape photo is broad and can include rural or urban environments. A common feature is that they show little or no human activity.
Nature photography commonly involves natural light and the varied characteristics of the earth and the sky, of water (seascapes or mountain landscapes and glaciers). Photographing these aspects from a certain distance is often, although there are also landscape photographs depicting closer subjects, in the foreground. Another subject of landscape photography could be the night sky.
Nature Photography Camera
Landscape photography generally requires relatively simple photographic equipment. You can use any digital camera to undertake this type of photography, from compact to medium and large format. The use of large-format cameras, however, could create a problem in terms of limited depth of field for a given aperture, which requires more attention when focusing.
Nature Photography Lenses
For open spaces, it is preferable to use a wide-angle lens as it allows a wide viewing angle. However, you can easily use lenses ranging from medium focal lengths. Especially if the scene to be photographed is not very close to you, the photographer, as they allow to capture details of the scene that would not be possible to photograph with smaller focal lengths.
Telephoto lenses can also limit the focusing area to allow the photographer to highlight a specific spot, at a particular distance, leaving the foreground and the background blurred. Other lenses that you can use for this type of photography are the fisheye. This lens allows you to further enlarge the view, or the macro lenses to achieve great impact close-ups.
Many photographers prefer to use fixed focal length lenses. They reach a higher quality and brightness of the captured image compared to the lenses with variable focal lengths.
Nature Photography Lighting and flash
In general, in nature photography, you should utilize natural light so as not to distort the scene being photographed. In some cases, however, artificial light is recommended or even necessary. Use caution when using flash, continuous artificial light, or reflectors to fill shadows is often used when photographing smaller spaces such as dark forest or garden areas.
Given the wide outdoors that tend to dominate landscape photography, artificial lighting is generally ineffective or even damaging because the risk is to get a foreground too bright and the background too dark. The light preferred by most landscape photographers is the Golden Hour (sunrise and sunset). It is, in fact, a particularly favorable light that can generate a dramatic and spectacular atmosphere in your images.
Shutter speed and aperture
Landscape photographers tend to prefer settings that allow focusing on the largest possible area of the scene. This typically requires a reduced aperture (which is a higher F-Stop value) in order to increase the area of focus. The use of a reduced aperture, however, forces the use of a lower shutter speed. This can be a problem if there are moving elements in the photo, such as animals. Even the wind that shakes the trees can be a problem when shooting with a slower shutter speed. One solution is to increase the ISO.
Nature Photography Filters
Filters are essential in nature photography; they serve different purposes.
A neutral density filter helps to reduce the contrast between the various areas of the frame (from the foreground to the background), thus compensating for extremely bright areas.
These filters are particularly useful for long exposures when you want to capture the movements of an element within the image such as water for example.
You can mainly use a polarizing filter to reduce reflections caused by a shiny surface. Obscure an over lit sky while keeping the rest of the scene unchanged with this filter.
Another essential tool for the landscape photographer is the tripod. Although bulky and heavy, the tripod is necessary not only to get sharp images but also because it helps you better study the composition and visualize your image (and therefore create with greater intention). By using the tripod, you are more prone to figuring out the best way to achieve the desired result instead of just pointing, shooting and hoping for the best.
Nature photography is your personal interpretation of a certain location. Keep in mind that good composition and light are the essential elements of landscape photography.
A careful composition allows you to avoid ordinary shots and, over time and with practice, to develop your unique style. The ability to recognize and manage natural light can transform an otherwise unattractive landscape into a masterpiece.
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