Why shots work: Try a telephoto lens to improve your scenic shots

Why Shots Work
(Image credit: Getty)

Why do some photographs just work? By examining successful shots, and breaking down the factors that make them so effective, we can make improvements to our own photography.

While the most important thing when it comes to good photography is good technique, you also need the right tools with which to apply that technique. So here are five factors that make the above image work… 

1) A strong focal point
With such an ethereal quality in the scene, a strong focal point is essential and Glastonbury Tor does a fantastic job of holding the composition together. And although tiny and difficult to see, the figure standing in front of the tower provides additional interest and a sense of scale

2) Good use of layers
Layers in the landscape help to add depth to misty scenes, and the inclusion of the tree line at the bottom of the frame helps to accentuate this to great effect. The hilltop in the background further adds to the sense of depth that benefits from the apparent compression created by using a telephoto lens.

3) Golden Hour light
Mist is most common in the early morning and quickly dissipates when the sun rises. And with a temperature inversion like this, a clear sky is likely – so to capture such soft pastel-colored light with clouds filling the sky is a perfect example of being in the right place at the right time.

4) Sharp shots every time
The Nikon D7100 is an impressively versatile 24MP APS-C DSLR. With no low-pass filter over the sensor, it can create incredibly sharp images – ideal for capturing detail in landscapes. The D7100 is also a great low-light performer: noise doesn’t become an issue until around ISO2500, so you can shoot effectively at any time of day.

5) Try using a telephoto
You don’t always need a wide-angle lens for landscapes. Here, the D7100 has been paired with a Nikkor 70-300mm f/4-5.6. With a huge focal range and optical stabilization, this lens also delivers the bonus of extra reach – an APS-C sensor gives a 1.5x crop over standard-size 35mm sensors, so the effective focal length of the 70-300mm lens with a D7100 is 105-450mm.

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