Learning to see – as a landscape photographer.

The location for this shot was pure blind luck. Like many others, I struggle to see a good landscape image in my own area which is relatively flat, apart from Charnwood Forest) littered with pylons and steel sheds and all the hedges seem to be tall and scruffy so there is no real view wherever you look.The river Soar at Stamford on Soar.


I determined to take some pictures of the river Soar. Research in Google Maps suggested three good locations the first two of which were so overgrown with trees you could hardly see the river. Just outside Loughborough the maps suggested a long stretch in view and when I got there beautiful broken could lay in one direction and thick grey cloud the other – in the direction I expected to be shooting. I got out of my van and decided to see if there was a decent view looking towards the better clouds and found this and the another view. This shot was made on a Canon 5DMk3 with 17-40 lens at 29mm f16 @ 1/100 pre-focused to the hyperfocal distance with an ND grad to hold in the sky. It needed just a little processing in Lightroom to make it “pop.”

I think the biggest thing about landscape photography, and I still have to work at it, is that if you don’t have “the grand view” to work with you have to really work to learn how to see what detail within the overall surroundings will combine to make a good picture. I recommend looking through the viewfinder (so the whole of your surroundings are not visible) and then slowly panning with a zoom lens to vary the content of the frame. Sometimes a picture will pop out, after enough practice using this the photographer will start to see the elements separated from the whole without the aid of the viewfinder.The river Soar at Stamford on Soar.


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