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More Than A Snapshot provides online photography education.

The Grand Landscape


This is the blog for More Than A Snapshot's Online Photography Classes.  In these blog posts I will give photography tips, tutorials, and show images.

The Grand Landscape

Gary Detonnancourt

Guest Blog Post by Marion Faria

Landscape photographers are dreamers, artists and visionaries. I believe this. When the landscape painter, Joseph Mallord Turner, was on his deathbed, his last words were, "The sun is god"...he was correct.  For landscape photography, especially for the grand landscape, which happens to be my favorite style, the light is god. You must always be aware of the color of light, the time of day to shoot and your composition; however, for me it all comes down to image must feel right on many levels.

Ok, so you have decided to photograph the grand landscape... you feel it... you want to be one with the earth and its cycle of light and dark; but what equipment do you need?

Here are my recommendations:

  • a rugged yet light tripod without a center column
  • a ball head (I use Really Right Stuff)
  • a full frame camera (you want to capture the whole image) with L bracket: to easily shoot vertically or horizontally
  • a wide angle lens (I use the Canon 17-40 mm)
  • a cable release to prevent camera shake
  • filters and a filter holder:  2 and 3 stop graduated neutral density
  • 3 stop solid neutral density
  • circular polarizer        

If you have never used any of these filters, you will have to read and practice until you are proficient: it is critical to control the light and dynamic range when shooting landscapes, you cannot rely on Photoshop to fix things, remember, the longer the light hits the sensor, the better will be the color and saturation.

What settings to use in camera?

I almost always shoot in Aperture Priority, the best landscape photographers in the world shoot in Aperture priority so don't go screwing around with Manual.  The only time I use manual is when the sun is down and I am making long exposures, greater than 30 seconds.

I almost always use an f-stop of 20 or 22: it will give you great depth of field, people will tell you about diffraction at those apertures, and it can happen, but you have to test your lens..if it happens, then use 16 or 18, my  17-40 mm F/4 is excellent at f/22, it is my favorite aperture.

ISO needs to be 100 or 200, whatever is the native lowest ISO for your camera, you definitely don't want noise.

Let your camera set the shutter speed based upon your f-stop and ISO.

You have all the stuff, you feel adept with the filters; but when do you shoot? 

The Golden hour:  

  • an hour before sunrise and an hour after
  • an hour before sunset and an hour after or longer

These are the times of day when the sun is low and the blue wavelengths do not penetrate the sky, thus, the sky becomes magic with amazing color.

Landscape photography is all about celebrating the earth.  I don't often photograph people or animals, but I love this planet and its moods, if you do too, try photographing the majesty of Earth.

About Marion Faria

I am a quirky and passionate landscape photographer, concentrating primarily but not exclusively, on landscape photography.  I have been published in NANPA "Expressions" magazine, won many photography awards, images have been Bing and Shutterfly Images of the day, Earthshot photo of the day, finalist in Outdoor and Popular Photography magazine competitions, book cover for Lonely Planet; my stock work is represented by Getty Images, my photography is the best part of who I am and ever will be...