Landscape photography

RF 200-800mm F6.3-9 IS USM

Landscapes are one of the most popular and accessible subjects for photography. Shooting at the ‘right’ time of day for the light, using some basic rules of composition and taking steps to ensure that your image is pin-sharp makes a huge difference.

Weather

Be prepared for the weather conditions. You may end up waiting a long time for the best light, so in a cold climate, make sure you have warm, weatherproof clothing – and a good pair of boots! In a hot climate, pack plenty of sun protection, but also take a jumper or jacket if you'll be taking pictures when the sun has set. A spare battery is a good idea too, especially if you'll be using Live View a lot, while a lens hood will shield the front element of the lens from direct sunlight and rain.

A backpack will protect your gear while you're heading to your location and is also more comfortable than a shoulder bag when you're walking a long distance.

Set up

Once you’ve found the perfect location, it’s worth using your camera on a tripod. Doing this will ensure that the camera doesn't move during the exposure, improving your chances of taking pin-sharp shots. It will also allow you to carefully consider the best composition for your picture. Extend the thicker sections of the legs first and only use the thinner lower sections if necessary, so you have a firm foundation. Now mount your camera on the head and, if your camera has one, activate its electronic level be pressing the 'INFO' button. You can then adjust the angle of the camera until the line changes colour from red to green to indicate that the horizon is level.

Shooting mode

Aperture Priority (Av) mode is a great choice for shooting landscapes because it allows you to set the aperture to control the depth of field while the camera takes care of the shutter speed. You'll generally need plenty of depth of field to make a landscape appear sharp from the foreground to the horizon, which can be achieved by setting a small aperture such as f/16 or f/22.

Picture quality

Working with a low ISO, such as 100 or 200, will give you the best quality pictures. The higher the ISO, the more noise (grain) the pictures will show.

Keep your camera steady using the tripod, as the combination of a low ISO and a small aperture will result in a slower shutter speed.

When you press the shutter release to take the shot, you may introduce a little vibration that could cause very slight blurring of your image. This can be prevented by activating your camera’s self-timer which will fire the shutter following a short delay after you press the shutter release. Alternatively, use a remote release to take the picture. If you have a Wi-Fi-enabled camera, you can also fire the shutter remotely from your mobile device using the Camera Connect app.

Composition

The rule of thirds is a composition guide that’s been in use for centuries and your camera has a handy Grid Display to help you use it. You just need to open your camera’s menu to enable Live View mode and the Grid Display, then select the 3x3 grid. Now when you activate Live View mode you’ll see a grid on the screen of your camera.

Aim to position key elements of your scene along those lines and at the points where they intersect. Moving just a few steps to the side, or shifting the camera angle can have a significant impact.

Vivid colours

The hour after dawn and before sunset is often referred to as the golden hour because of the warm light that gives the land a lovely golden colour. The low sun also brings out the patterns, contours and textures of the landscape, so aim to take pictures at that time, especially on a sunny day.

Choose your camera's Landscape mode to boost the blues and greens in the photo. If you're confident using Aperture Priority (Av) mode or Program (P) mode, set the Picture Style to Landscape for similar effect.

Focusing

Generally, the sharp area beyond the point you focus on is roughly twice as deep as the sharp area in front of it. So, to get the maximum depth of field in your image, focus on a point that’s around one third into the scene. If your camera has a touch-screen you can set the focus point by tapping the screen in Live View mode. Alternatively, use the navigation controls to move the AF point to the desired location, then half-press the shutter button to focus the lens.

Review

After you’ve taken your first image, have a look at it on the screen. If you'd like the picture to be brighter or darker, use your camera's exposure compensation control and then take another shot. If you're shooting in Landscape mode, press the Q button and change ‘Standard setting’ to ‘Brighter’ or 'Darker'. Remember to return this to the 'Standard setting' once you've finished.

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