There are a few important things to take into account before setting up at a location for your landscapes. I want to share with you my top 3 tips on setting up on location.
The photo below was taken at Look At Me Now Headland in Emerald Beach, NSW. We had gone for a swim on the beach around the corner and we took the long walk home to check out possible locations for that afternoons sunset. The headland has a multitude of locations to shoot from and come sunset the mountains on the horizon add another dynamic.
For this shot I really wanted to capture the motion of the breaking waves cascading down the cliff-face walls. To do this I would need an exposure of at least a quarter of a second, probably longer. Timing is everything in a shot like this. By using a cable release I could concentrate on watching the waves role in and at the high point of the wave on the cliff reel off the shot.
Tip 1 – Whether its a sunrise or a sunset always take a good reliable torch with you. The torch will help you when focusing in low light by simply pointing it at your foreground subject and using the Auto Focus. Once you have got focus switch your lens to Manual Focus so you do not need to keep setting the focus from shot to shot. Just remember to set it back once you recompose or put the camera away.
Torches are also handy for making sure you can safely enter or exit your location. If you are looking at buying a torch go with something that has a nice long throw of light and is fairly rugged as it will probably see some tough days.
Tip 2 – Some locations are dangerous so always think about yours and the safety of others with you first. This weeks location involved a very steep rocky edge with plenty of loose rubble. One wrong step and I could plunge 2o+ meters to the base of the cliffs. I first attempted at getting into position for the shot without my tripod and camera to make sure it was safe. Always take into account the weather conditions as the wind or rain can make a once safe location a disaster waiting to happen. Putting your life on the line for a landscape is just silly so look for somewhere or something else to shoot. Where possible shoot with a friend and keep an eye on each other.
Tip 3 – Walk around your locations without your eye to the camera. Try different angles and take it all in. Work out what specific features you want to capture and how you would go about capturing them. What lens will you use? Will it be a landscape or portrait orientation? Do you need to use any filters? Once you have done this you can then put the camera to your eye and squeeze off a few tests.
Keep returning to the same locations for years to come because they can be so dramatically different from day to day and who knows maybe you will find something you have missed in the past.
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