Ten Truths of Landscape Photography

1. Sometimes you have to suffer.

2. Scouting a scene beforehand will greatly increase your chances of success.

So, how do you prepare? If you can, it is always beneficial to visit your shooting location at a time of day when the light is less desirable. This will allow you to thoughtfully scan the scene, giving you time to look for foreground objects as well as any distractions. Once you find a nice foreground element, you have to consider where the sun will be during the time of your shoot and try to envision how the light will look at that time. This is easier said than done, but it gets easier with time. Now that you know what you want to shoot and where the sun is going to be, you can decide how you want to frame up the shot. I often bring my camera with me when I’m scouting so I know exactly where to place it when the time comes. Being prepared is the main ingredient in the the recipe for success. Cheesy but true!

3. A perfect shot usually takes more than one try.

4. Filters are invaluable

Neutral Density filters are probably my favorite filters to use. ND filters allow photographers to shoot much longer exposures than they could with just their camera’s native settings. Even though you can combine multiple shots to simulate a long exposure in post, it is by no means the best practice and will more than likely result in “ghosting”. I highly recommend using a quality ND filter instead. Breakthrough makes the most color neutral filters that I have found and they are backed by a 25 year warranty.

What about Graduated ND filters? This is sort of a grey area for photographers. I recommend having at least one 3 stop grad in your bag. I have two, one hard 3 stop and one soft 3 stop. These filters can be extremely useful when shooting near the ocean where you may only have once chance to nail the shot before a wave causes your tripod to sink into the sand. With that being said, there are times that I prefer not to use grad filters. When I’m shooting in the mountains, I sometimes opt to shoot one dark and one light exposure and then blend the two together in post. I use Breakthrough grad filters because they are made of glass instead of resin like most other brands.

UV filters produce no visual effect on digital cameras, but can be very useful for protecting the front element of your lens. UV filters are much cheaper than lenses and I’d much rather scratch a filter than a lens. One thing to be aware of is that UV filters can cause strange refractions at night when you point your camera towards electric lights. I will sometimes remove all filters under these circumstances.

5. A quality tripod is one of the best investments that you can make.

There are three characteristics of a tripod. Weight, durability, and cost. Here’s the kicker though. You only get to choose two out of the three. If you want a cheap and durable tripod, it’s going to be heavy. If you want a durable and light tripod, it’s going to be expensive. never go for the third option which is cheap, light, and flimsy.

I use a Gitzo Systematic as my main tripod and an Induro CLT 303 as my backup. Both Tripods have Really Right StuffBH-40 quick release ball heads on them.

6. Your eyes need to rest.

7. Prints turn out darker than what you see on your monitor.

8. If you want to sell prints, you have to get them in front of people.

9. Don’t judge success by social media.

10. Humble photographers have more friends.

Originally published at https://wardynskiphoto.com on May 20, 2019.

Professional landscape photographer and instructor with a passion for preserving mother earth.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store