Landscape photography doesn’t need to be all about magnificent vistas, foreground interest, leading lines and the rule of thirds. In fact, reduce a scene to the basics of colour and tone and you can create a stunning abstract landscape photo using a very simple technique.
We’re going to show you how to create a contemporary landscape with a simple but effective panning technique.
The basic idea is to move your DSLR in a horizontal pan during a long-ish exposure, somewhere between 1/4 sec and 4 secs. As the camera moves, the landscape is captured as stripy bands of cool colours that, once printed, wouldn’t look out of place in a contemporary gallery.
It’s not nearly as difficult as it sounds, so let’s see how it’s done…
01 Enable rotations
While this technique is all about camera movement, a tripod is essential as it ensures your horizontal stripes are level and helps create an even pan. Any location can work well, but look for a scene that has interesting colours and tones. This field works a treat.
02 Shoot and select
A shutter speed anywhere between 1/2 sec to 4 secs works best. If you can’t get this even with a low ISO and small aperture (such as f/16), a neutral density (ND) filter is the best solution. These filters block light passing through the lens, helping you to get slower shutter speeds.
03 Perfect the look
Be prepared to experiment and make sure you’ve got plenty of space on your memory card. To pan properly, you need a tripod with a three-way head or a video-panning head – it’s almost impossible to control a pan properly and keep the camera level when you’re using a ball-and-socket head.
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