- Chris Nowell
(blog 2 ) 2022
A lot of what we do in landscape photography comes with luck. The right place at the right time for example as the light starts beaming through the trees on a perfect hazy morning somewhere in your local bluebell woodland. However sometimes and for many reasons it is better to plan your landscape photography and this all begins with the location. Scouting different areas researching on Google Maps as well as social media resources. Then the good old-fashioned getting your boots dirty and going for a nice walk. Therefore for my next blog post I thought I would discuss a few ways of how I put together a photograph when I am looking for new locations.
Firstly Location scouting the vision then finally the creation. This is not for one minute telling you what to do it is just an idea of a guide and how I feel a little processes before the shutter is taken may help you with your landscape photography.
Sometimes before getting out for a walk a quick search on google maps using the street view or checking the elevation of hillsides can be an excellent resource of information. I have been to this location before however it was many years ago way before the pandemic. Therefore with my knowledge about the location already knowing it provides fantastic high views which can then provide scope for different types of photographs this location would be a great place to start. At this area I have the availability for a single shot the opportunity to create a sweeping panoramic or zooming in and photographing the little Village of great Longstone down in the valley. Therefore if we are lucky one morning and the landscape provides decent sidelight or a fantastic misty morning this location would be perfect for my project. The location is also fairly nearby just under half an hours drive and with perfect parking by the side of the road meaning there's practically no walking to be had on the right morning.
There are also a number of helpful applications available on smart phones these days. One in particular which is almost 100% accurate and I happily use on a regular basis is Sun cal. With this application you can find the area of which you are wanting to explore then it gives you a good example of whereabouts the Sun will rise and set. Then using this information you can set your bearings correctly for your landscape photography for this example we are looking for the sidelight direction to avoid harsh light in the photograph. At the same time we are checking the map for any obvious obstacles or objects of which we will not like in the photograph using all these resources together gives you a good idea of where your photograph will be best placed. However like I mentioned at the beginning there's nothing better than getting out there yourself and having a good look at the landscape so that's exactly what we did.
These applications and maps are always helpful however as I previously mentioned there's nothing better than seeing it for yourself. So one morning when the weather was set to be pretty pants on a free Saturday morning myself and a local friend decided to have a proper look for ourselves. Watching which way the Sun would rise looking for any obvious objects of which I would not like in the photograph I'm just watching out for anything I don't like the look of. Doing it on a day like this on a cloudy morning is a perfect way to use your time productively.
This was a terrible iPhone photograph but I hoped the following day would be much better.
Now I have completed my location scouting it was time to plan the vision in my head. Of course we can never create the perfect conditions we want such as fog or mist sweeping through the valley however we can have an idea in our head of the kind of photograph we want. We've picked out the direction of which the Sun would be rising that way I know I want to be placing my tripod to the opposite side giving me a perfect sidelight instead of harsh bright sunflear.
In my mind I had two photographs I wanted to put together. The first would be a long and large photograph showing the great scale of the landscape. With no zoom it would either be one individual photograph or a stitched panoramic sweeping across the landscape. Secondly I would most probably zoom down on the village at self picking out any houses or buildings for sharp focus every time using a tripod. In fact I do not take a photograph without using a tripod it is not something I can do without. As I have mentioned many times I am a proud ambassador of Vanguard photo UK therefore I am very proudly use their tripods for that perfect stabilisation.
Once we had done our location scouting followed by an idea of the vision we were trying to create next it is time to create the photograph. I am not getting into the argument of do you take a photo or create a photo I am simply just saying this is my next stage this is how I put my photography together.
The forecast had provided decent light however very limited clouds in the sky which creates more colour on the horizon therefore although we would get some decent light I was aware that this photograph would be a little bit flat. Still happy enough though to create the photograph after all you need to make the most of the good light when it is available.
Canon 5D 3
F13 1/4 secs
Vanguard VEO 3+ Tripod
Kase Wolverine reverse grad filter
The second image I wanted to capture was that of the village of great Longstone itself. I still want to return one day when this location can be improved due to fog or mist down in the valley however I was still quite happy with this image trying to pick out the sharp detail of the village itself. Roughly 20 minutes after the first image and slightly more aimed towards the right with less harsh sunlight. On the first image you can see Chesterfield in the distance however this one is all about the village of great Longstone. This is the photograph I wish to return to once more on a better morning. The potential of this little village underneath the morning mist as it clings to the trees like the skeletons is full of great promise.
These are just ideas and plans that I put together that help me for my landscape photography. I am not telling anyone that this is how it should be done these are just ideas that could potentially help you save some time and in the long run improve your landscape photography.
As always thank you so much for taking the time to check this out and I welcome any feedback also if you have any other further questions don't hesitate to get in touch. You can check out the logos below which will direct you to the websites of gear I use for my landscape photography such as Vanguard and Kase Filters