Landscape Photography Mistake No. 5: Flat, dull light
Professional photographers will wait for days, weeks and even months or seasons to get exactly the right light for a shoot.
Light quality makes a huge difference to an image, bringing colours to life and accentuating the contours of the land. Conversely, flat light and overcast skies can result dull, uninteresting images.
However, even the most enthusiastic photographers have demands that mean they don’t have the luxury of being able to wait and then drop everything because the light is right.
Many people are more likely to only be able to shoot outside of work hours and when family commitments allow.
Naturally this means that if they have some time to shoot a landscape, they want to make the most of it. This can mean shooting whatever the weather or light.
One way to deal with dull light is to switch to shooting monochrome images. If the sky is uniform and featureless why not borrow a sky from a shot with a better sky?
You need to match the nature of the light, but there’s nothing to stop you using a sky with a few heavy clouds rather than a featureless mass of grey or white.
Shoot raw files, or raw and JPEG files simultaneously with the camera set to its monochrome mode to allow you to see how the scene looks in black and white while still having a full-colour image to convert.
When you make the conversion use the contrast and dodging and burning tools to create atmospheric monochrome landscapes.
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Landscape Photography Mistake No. 6: Strong shadows
The opposite of dull light, strong sunlight, brings its own problems – deep shadows and harsh highlights.
As a rule it’s generally best to shoot landscape images early in the morning, late in the afternoon or in the early evening; the key being that the sun is at a relatively low angle in the sky.
As well as being stronger and brighter in the middle of the day, the sun is almost directly above the landscape and objects cast short, deep shadows that reveal little detail.
The lower, weaker sun of morning and evening results in longer, softer shadows that accentuate the form of the land.
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