Landscape photography, by pro Mike Nakamura
Posted by sibylle in books, films, photography (Tuesday October 12, 2010 at 7:54 pm)


Painted Hills, in Central Oregon

Guest post by Mike Nakamura

Climbers often visit spectacular landscapes.   Ever wonder how to capture the feeling of being there?  As a professional photographer, I’ve been asked to share a few tips for taking landscape photos using a digital camera.
Do: place the horizon near the bottom or top third of the scene.
Tilt the camera up or down to achieve this.  Unless the sky is the subject (eg; amazing clouds), you’ll often place the horizon line in the upper third of the photo.  Even a lightweight tripod will improve your images.  You’ll spend more time thinking about the shot and less time worrying about blurry shots caused by camera movement. Pick a high vantage point if possible.  It opens up the scene as in this image of the Painted Hills  (Central Oregon).  If you’re visiting Smith Rock, this makes a nice rest-day diversion.
The single biggest mistake:  placing the horizon in the middle of the shot.
Check your exposure (ie; too light or too dark) by looking at the viewfinder.   Or, if your camera offers a histogram mode, use it to judge the exposure.  Not right?  Use the “exposure compensation” to adjust.  Experiment with the exposure.  After all, a few extra shots are free.
Know how to determine whether your camera is correctly focused.  For most landscapes the preferred focus point is at “infinity”  (ie; on the distant mountain, not on the wildflowers next to you).  Some point and shoots will show the active focus point in the viewfinder.  For others, you might need to take a shot and zoom in after the fact to see if distant objects are in focus.  On an SLR this will be simpler. 
Mike Nakamura

8 comments for Landscape photography, by pro Mike Nakamura »

  1. thanks for the tips. beautiful photo, mike!
    sybille, still want to play scrabble with you!

    Comment by deborah fryer — October 12, 2010 @ 8:15 pm

  2. Nice picture! Now for me to capture the freshly snow-dusted gore range…

    Comment by Tristan — October 12, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

  3. Talk about an “aha!” moment. Thanks, Mike. Great ideas that I’ll take in the field with me :) Lynne

    Comment by Lynne Krasnow — October 13, 2010 @ 6:21 am

  4. Mike, thanks for the landscape photography tips. I had a slightly guilty feeling at the mention of the biggest mistake (horizon in the middle). I just know I’ve done that. Now I plan to be more vigilant.

    Comment by Beth Partin — October 13, 2010 @ 8:05 am

  5. Wow, gorgeous shot. Thanks for the tips.

    Comment by Reed Glenn — October 13, 2010 @ 9:13 am

  6. These are invaluable tips, thank you. I especially appreciate the Composition hints. I have a question about your Exposure and Focus tips–I think maybe my digital camera (Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3) does that for me?

    Comment by Gail Storey — October 13, 2010 @ 9:34 am

  7. Thank you everyone for your comments. I’m glad my tips were helpful. Also thank you for the compliments on the Painted Hills image.

    Gail: Most cameras have auto-focus and auto-exposure. Unfortunately, they may not work as desired in difficult situations, hence my tips to check focus and exposure for important shots.

    Comment by Mike Nakamura — October 13, 2010 @ 8:37 pm

  8. Because I am not a photographer, I appreciate the beauty of this shot and the complexity of making it happen. Thanks

    Comment by Marian Thier — October 14, 2010 @ 3:33 pm

Leave a comment


(required but not published)

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Sports Blog Top Sites