Landscape Photography: on location

The last lines of my blog post “Landscape photography: how to prepare” are search for a foreground subject and a good composition and get your gear ready in time. I have written about how the make a good composition for a good landscape photo in an earlier post (Dutch). In this blog post “Landscape Photography: On location” I will talk about the importance to het your gear ready in time and wait for the right conditions to take the picture you want.

The picture on top of this topic is a typical example what can happen if you wait for the right conditions.

I saw a heavy raincloud appearing in the sky when I drove by this grain-field. I stopped, got my gear ready and started taking pictures of this scene. I saw the raincloud go toward the village of Kloosterburen and saw the sun on the church tower in the background. I looked around me and knew this situation would stay the same because the sun came from the right at the back and would not disappear behind the clouds during the rain. After a while the raincloud went over the little village of Kloosterburen and it resulted in this picture.

You can see the difference in the pictures above. The first picture was taken a moment earlier. You can see the rain-clouds in the right corner. You can see the waiting was worthwhile. The sky is much more dramatic and makes the picture more attractive.

Another example of waiting for the right conditions is the one above. It was a windy evening and I saw the clouds getting into the land. The sun disappeared behind the clouds, emerged sometimes and its warm light fell upon the windmills in the field.

I waited for the right condition. In the beginning of the evening there were clouds on the horizon and the sun was behind the clouds behind me. I saw the dark clouds behind me getting closer and waited until the clouds were above and behind the windmill, because I knew the white windmill would attract the attention even more against the dark grey clouds. When the clouds were at the place I wanted them to be, I waited until the sun lit the windmill and it resulted in the picture on the right.

As you can see the picture on the right is much mure attractive than the picture on the left. Just wait for the right moment and you can see what the difference can be.

As you can imagine these situations can also appear when you start shooting. That is exactly why you have to get your gear ready in time. Before you know the right situation is gone even before you started your photo shoot.

Tips for on location:

  1. Before you arrive at the location, ask yourself why you are taking this picture. Als yourself what the subject is in this picture. (In the case above it were the windmills)
  2. Get your gear ready as soon as possible.
  3. Find out how to draw the attention to the subject. (In the case above it were the clouds,sunlight and the lines)
  4. Look around you and know were the clouds are, what the light is going to do a moment later.
  5. Find your composition and simplify it. Find yourself a moment to look around and ask yourself the question: “Is this thing necessary to tell my story?”. If not, leave it out. Look at the lines in the landscape and find a good foreground subject.
  6. Start shooting pictures and keep looking around and above you for the good circumstances and the good light.
Have fun out there!

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