Outdoor photography ideas: how to shoot striking, alternative pictures of nature

Outdoor photography ideas: how to shoot striking, alternative pictures of nature

In our latest Professional Photographer to the Rescue post our pro takes our apprentice on a trip deep into a Scottish forest, sharing his best tips and outdoor photography ideas for shooting striking scenes from nature.

Outdoor photography ideas: how to shoot striking, alternative pictures of nature

Meet our professional photographer

Niall Benvie has been a professional photographer since graduating from Dundee University in 1993. By that time he had already founded the Scottish Nature Photography Fair. Nowadays, he has moved on from traditional landscape and nature photography, concentrating on innovative communication projects that typically feature collages of pictures. You can find out more at www.niallbenvie.photoshelter.com

Meet our apprentice

Melanie Stevens is a consultant clinical psychologist specialising in complex brain injuries, and splits her time between Bath and Edinburgh. She is a keen traveller and mountaineer and bought her Nikon D7000 18 months ago so that she could take better pictures on her expeditions. She asked to be an apprentice so that she could learn new artistic tricks for recording the fascinating things she sees on her travels.

Technique Assessment

Is Mel set for survival in the great outdoors?
 As they headed down the woodland path alongside the North Esk waterfalls at Edzell, Niall gave Melanie some suggestions on how to improve her DSLR set-up…

Outdoor photography ideas: turn on highlight alert

Bring on the blinkies
Niall says… With digital imaging you need to shoot pictures that are as bright as possible, without the highlights burning out. Using your histogram and ‘exposing to the right’ is the pro way of ensuring you do this, but a good first step is to ensure you turn the Highlight Alert on in the Menu; go to Playback Menu>Playback display mode>Advanced photo info>Highlights.

When reviewing a shot, use the up cursor until you get the Highlights view, and the parts of the picture that are too bright will blink (hence why this feature is known as the blinkies). I recommend people learn to shoot in A mode, and use exposure compensation to alter the brightness as necessary.

Outdoor photography ideas: get a ball head tripod

Ball control
Niall says… A good tripod is essential for landscapes, but it is the head that lets most people down. I find that people who attend my workshops struggle to set up pictures if they use a pan-and-tilt head, like the one on Melanie’s Manfrotto. Mel was impressed at just how much easier my Really Right Stuff ball head was to use.

PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Outdoor photography ideas you can use anywhere
PAGE 3: Final tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day

READ MORE

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The Decisive Moment: how nature photographers can make the most of it
Forest photography: tips for shooting your local woodland
Garden macro photography: tips for shooting stunning pictures at home