There is only one source of lighting for landscape pictures – the sun. You cannot control it by using a flash or a twist fill. Professional photographers prefer to emphasize the time of day rather than the type of lighting when making landscape photos. You need shadows to give your pictures a three-dimensional feel. You do not get shadows when the sun is overhead, or just off to one side. They come from strong side light. It is better to choose an angle where the sun does not shine from directly behind the subject or directly at the subject. That’s why it is better to take your photos in the early morning or late afternoon, when light is warmer. Everything in the shot will take on an attractive golden hue and it will reveal interesting textures in all surfaces.
Photographers should always take advantage of the magic hour. This is the time in the late afternoon when sunlight is warm and there is an abundance of orange and red in the sky. The film in your camera will pick up these warm colors in everything you shoot and your pictures will positively glow.
One popular landscape photograph is the setting sun, which can be a tricky subject to capture. The brightness of the sun will affect the camera’s light meter, which measures a scene’s light. The result is underexposure of the foreground, creating a silhouette effect. In this situation, it is probably best to bracket the exposure, which simply means adjusting the exposure up or down one or two f-stops and shooting a frame with a couple of different settings
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E X E R C I S E S
Before you venture outside, obtain a book of landscape photographs and find a few that you like. Try to identify what feelings the photos bring out in you and analyze the elements in the pictures that help create those feelings. Is it the light? The perspective? The graphic shapes? Learn all you can from the photos, then go out and try to put those elements into your work. You might go as far as to replicate a photo that you particularly admire.
Another exercise is to return to one spot at different times of the day. Study how the differences in light affect your photograph. Finally, take a picture of your favorite neighborhood as if it were a spectacular and alien landscape. This is an exercise at looking at the familiar through fresh eyes. Try to see if you can discover something that you have not seen before. One of the secrets of successful photographers is that they have developed the ability to look at the world around them as if for the first time. They continue to discover something new, where others fail to see anything at all.