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Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography

Lesson 18 of 21

Photographing Landscapes


Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography

Lesson 18 of 21

Photographing Landscapes


Lesson Info

Photographing Landscapes

I firmly believe that we need to keep going back to the same place again and again because every time you go back there you can see it in a different way and you become much more intimate with that particular area. It could be someplace close to where you live. It can be bouchard gardens where you keep going back to every april or every may. You go back there or you try to go that several times a year I was going back to yellowstone every every year for many, many years. And there was an area out by with lamar, but what's the other hidden valley and there's this one tree out there in hidden valley, actually that's amore trees right over here. But there's this one tree and I found this on a snow machine one one year when I was out there, when they allowed us to go out with snow machines and I kept coming back to photograph the same tree. And I kept getting it in different ways in different times in different years and different amounts of snow. And I always wanted to have some bison wal...

king up through here, and the crazy thing was that somebody told me that there is such a picture and of course is its mendelssohn who has the picture, um I think he's got blowup bison that evening he blows them up when he puts him where he needs them he's going to see this and he's going I'm going to get an email you watch or somebody's going toe call him on the phone and say that I said this I forget that I'm talking to a lot more people than these people right here but every year it's a little different and treat it looks to me like something has been eating around the base of the tree and I'm wondering if it's getting girdled by the bark being eaten around the base of it and it might be that bison themselves that are doing that and someday maybe that tree will die and then this picture would be more valuable but a lot of people have photographed this tree and they have seen these pictures that I've shown over the years and I've seen it win contests the same angle on view and everything but every year is different and you could make this picture your own go to yellowstone go in the wintertime nowadays you'll have to rent a track machine to go out there because it's forty five miles from from the nearest place to stay but it's just beautiful and this was the best of all the times I was there I had god raised coming down into it we had good snow on it and I converted it to black and white so you khun change it any way that you wanted all the black and white images you see today are actually color images that have been converted because I think there's only one or two cameras that should only black and white on there's no reason to you just convert it to black and white and it's fine another similar type of story I was photographing in the tetons looking around late in the afternoon and somebody had told me about this secret place schumacher landing I think was the name of it and I said wow that would be good that be perfect to a photograph with the reflections in the water and everything so I went over there I found the spot then the next morning when the sun came up I was going to be right at that spot and I made note of it went back the next morning before it was any light it was pitch dark I went back to the spot and I couldn't find a parking place there was forty some photographers and you can see them all around the outer edges of here there was a couple of workshops and everything else going on down there I finally thought that the place that I had figured out I wanted to shoot from there was already three people in there all set up to go and so I found a place along the outer edge here and as the sun came down and lit up the tetons and the reflections were right there in the water I was taking my pictures but what you see here is a you don't see if I can make this thing go away I can uh so we've got this nice reflection we've got the trees we've got the light coming down onto here so this is a panorama this is about four or five vertical pictures and it is an hdr as well it's a panorama hdr so every time I would take it I would take fifteen pictures I would take or three fifteen pictures and you would hear my you'd hear made my camera going t I mean, it was just crazy and then I'd look around me and they would be click click, click and I'm thinking to myself, what are they getting and how are they going to open up the shadows and how are they going to get enough image there to blow it up fairly good sized by not doing a panorama so there's a way that I mean you see this all the time somebody got the cameras set up and you say you look and say, what are you photographing? We do that a lot and in my case I think they missed it I could be wrong but I think they missed it this is a little intimate landscape and I remember this taking this photograph very vividly I found it was in the last day that I was in yellowstone it's a little creek coming into the lamar valley and the little ice formations we're just and I saw a way off in the distance I had toe walk through the snow and everything to get to it, and it had these beautiful areas of ice, and I took this panorama of it. And remember, we talked about when we did the panorama of the sunflowers every time we moved a bit further, we changed the focus, changed the focus, changed the focus so that it was a gradual movement as we went through it. So there's a lot of distance from the top here down to here, and the reason that it all is in focus wasn't because I had stop that way way down or used it uh uh, tilt shift or anything like that is changed by focus slightly and each one of those shots, but there's pictures within pictures, and you could imagine what I'm going to do with the fifty megapixel camera where there's pictures within pictures uh, always now, and they're going to be a reasonable quality when we do it. But I remember this because just before I left for yellowstone to do these images, I read by sons little motorcycle, and it crashed it and I kind of hurt my wrist and smashed my glasses whatever didn't think much of it and it was hurting more and more as I was there and buy that last day it was where I could hardly even move this harm this arm and I found out that I had broken my wrist and I was working out there for a week with a with a broken risk so I remember this because of the hurt, but this is the ultimate nature photography in my mind you're out there all by yourself, you have found something that nobody else has found you're able to photograph it in a number of different ways there are pictures within pictures it just doesn't get any better than this unless you don't have a broken roof but here's just some more I just loved to do optical extractions we use that term earlier on to that you're looking for pictures within pictures and you can spend a number of hours in one spot and you have it to yourself and I've gone back to that same spot year after year it's never been there and if you didn't shoot it that day, you're not going to get it to think, well, you know it's my last day I got to get home, I'll it'll be here next year when I come back, I don't want it just won't be there

Class Description


  • Create a variety of dramatic panoramas.

  • Capture rapid movements, such as the flapping of a bird’s wings.

  • Take close-up shots that depict the beauty and vibrant colors of flowers.

  • Capture images of snowflakes using specialized equipment and intricate techniques.

  • Photograph and take videos of lightning storms.

  • Use various types of additional lighting, including electronic flashes.


Are you a major gearhead who loves hearing about the latest and greatest photography equipment on the market today? Do you want to learn some amazing techniques that will take your outdoor photography game to the next level?

If you want to shoot like a pro and get an inside look at how one of the greatest outdoor photographers around makes his magic, then this is the course for you. Celebrated photographer George Lepp shares some of his best-known photographs and describes the techniques and equipment needed to capture images of wild animals, beautiful flowers, and awesome landscapes.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Paint with high-powered flashlights during long exposures.

  • Use special techniques and post-processing software programs to extend your depth of field.

  • Take macro photography shots using special lenses and extension tubes.

  • Utilize tele extenders and other tools to get high-magnification shots.

  • Use HDR to get natural looking contrast control.

  • Perform time-lapse photography with movement and panning.

  • Discover a variety of DSLR video shooting techniques.

Experienced photographers interested in exploring the intricacies of outdoor photography will love hearing George’s thrilling stories about his great outdoor and travel photography shoots all over the world like Africa and his close calls with wild animals. By the end of this course, you’ll be inspired to challenge yourself and experiment with these truly incredible techniques.


  • Experienced photographers who want to learn about cutting-edge equipment and innovative techniques for outdoor photography.

  • Photographers looking to be inspired by one of the greats and wanting to hear about his personal experiences.

  • Those who are new to outdoor photography and want an inside look at what it’s like to be a professional in the field.


George D. Lepp is one of North America’s best-known contemporary outdoor and nature photographers. His passions for natural beauty, technical precision, cutting-edge technology, and environmental responsibility are revealed in his beautiful and compelling photographic images. He is also widely recognized for his unique dedication to sharing his photographic and biological knowledge with other photographers through his seminars, writing, and inventions. George Lepp is a leader in the rapidly advancing field of outdoor photography and digital imaging. 

Lepp’s images have appeared in some of the world’s most widely viewed venues and on the covers of many books and magazines, including Natural History, Car and Driver, PC Photo, and Outdoor Photographer; at prestigious galleries and museums throughout the United States; and at the corporate headquarters of Canon USA, Eastman Kodak, and Epson America. He was chosen by Canon USA as one of the first members of its Explorers of Light program, which features the industry’s most influential photographers. He is known both for his sweeping panoramas that capture the magnificence of exotic locations and his stunning high-magnification macro renditions of subjects such as snowflakes and butterfly wings. His stock and assignment photography is represented by Getty, Corbis, and Photo Researchers. 

Lepp is regularly read in popular photographic magazines; he has contributed for thirty years as a field editor and columnist to Outdoor Photographer Magazine and more recently has published technical articles in Europe’s c’t Digital Photography Magazine. He is the author of many books, including Wildlife Photography: Stories from the Field, Golden Poppies of California, and Beyond the Basics I and II: Innovative Techniques for Outdoor and Nature Photography, as well as hundreds of articles on photography. He has taught at Photoshop World, Santa Fe Workshops, Palm Beach Workshops, and founded the Lepp Institute of Digital Imaging. Lepp is a founding board member and a fellow of the North American Nature Photographers Association and winner of many awards for his work, including Photo Media’s Photography Person of the Year and the prestigious Progress Award, the highest given by the Photographic Society of America. 

First trained in wildlife and wildlands management, George Lepp later earned a BPA and honorary MS in Professional Photography from Brooks Institute. Contact him through his web site, www.GeorgeLepp.com.


  1. Class Overview

    Get an overview of what you’ll learn in this course on creative outdoor photography, including how to do panoramas, extending your depth of field, and time-lapse photography.

  2. Types of Panorama for Outdoor Photography

    There are many different panorama techniques, from composite to hand-held to multi-camera. You’ll learn about all of them and the basic techniques for creating them right here.

  3. Gigapan and Action Pano for Outdoor Photography

    Learn to take a Gigapan panorama and get extremely big and detailed shots.

  4. Additional Lighting: Light Painting, Flash and Ambient

    George discusses options for additional outdoor photography lighting, including electronic flashes, the Better Beamer Flash Extender, and using high-powered flashlights to paint with light during long exposures.

  5. Extended Depth of Field

    Sometimes it’s important to have objects in the foreground, middle ground, and background all in sharp focus. Learn about various software programs and techniques to achieve extended depth of field photography.

  6. Macro Photography Techniques

    Learn about macro photography techniques, lenses, and extension tubes.

  7. Tele-extenders and Outdoor Photography

    Learn about using tele-extenders and other tools to get high-magnification shots of things such as a butterfly’s wings.

  8. HDR as a Tool

    High dynamic range (HDR) allows you to take multiple exposures at once and achieve natural looking contrast control within your final image. George offers a variety of HDR photography tips.

  9. Time-lapse Outdoor Photography

    Learn how to shoot time lapse photography with movement and panning.

  10. DSLR HD Video

    Learn about DSLR video shooting techniques and the essential equipment you’ll need.

  11. Cinemagraphs for Outdoor Photography

    George talks about the cinemagraph for outdoor photography, which is a still image with an element that moves.

  12. Photographing Birds

    Digital photography allows you to take incredible shots of birds and their movements. Get some bird photography tips and learn about shutter speeds and the equipment you’ll need to take your best images.

  13. Photographing Mammals

    George discusses wildlife photography techniques and his experiences shooting mammals, including speedy cheetahs, angry elephants, and hungry hippos.

  14. Photographing Birds and Mammals Q & A

    George offers some wildlife photography critiques and answers questions about his wildlife photography, including using a flash when taking pictures of birds and mammals.

  15. Macro Photography and Flowers

    George shares his flower photography techniques and confirms how he took glorious shots at Keukenhof Gardens in Holland.

  16. Photographing Butterflies

    Get some photo tips for photographing butterflies, including the importance of having a telephoto lens and a flash.

  17. Photographing Snowflakes

    Get the scoop on what you’ll need for snowflake macro photography, including special lighting, a copy stand, an adjustable base, and really cold equipment.

  18. Photographing Landscapes

    George offers some landscape photography tips for beginners and talks about some of his favorite places and landscape images.

  19. Photographing Lightning

    Learn how to photograph lightning and how to take video of lightning storms.

  20. HDR Landscapes and Time Lapse

    Learn about HDR landscape photography—compiling a series of pictures to capture various levels of light.

  21. Final Outdoor Photography Q&A

    Students get a chance to ask some final questions of George about outdoor photography ideas, including things such as panoramas, extenders, and white balance.


R. Hetrick

Amazing class! I particularly loved the macro and how to correctly take panoramic photos sections. George was not only a great teacher but he was super funny too. Would be happy to take any of his future classes.


I watched the entire class, and found it to be a very negative experience - in contrast to all of my other experiences with Creative Live, which had been very good. The problem with this class was the instructor. Mr. Lepp, rather than giving us practical, useful information, and techniques for approaching the subject of Outdoor Photography, instead used his time to show off his seemingly endless array of incredibly expensive and cutting edge gadgetry. For the first half hour or so, Mr. Lepp seemed pleasant and interesting, but it quickly became apparent that this class was NOT about anything relating to the art of outdoor photography. Instead, it was basically a seminar highlighting exotic equipment for the 1%. I have well over $25,000 of photographic equipment, but the arena in which Mr. Lepp plays begins somewhere around the $100,000 mark, and then requires a staggering ongoing budget for chartering helicopters, hiring guides, and constant upgrades to remain on the bleeding edge of gadgetry and accessories. From his gyroscopic mounts to his 40" printer, Mr. Lepp has it ALL and continues to spend, spend, spend. I admire his deep pockets, but I would have appreciated some real insight and technique and useful knowledge on actually getting great shots. (And I must say... Mr. Lepp's work... did not impress me to the degree that other teachers on CreativeLive have.) I believe those giving positive reviews here were more or less wowed by the sheer magnitude of his extensive, well-funded travels and his off-handed way of revealing the endless contraptions and combinations of gear he uses. The passion here is clearly about the gadgetry, and NOT about finding an original and creative voice in the arena of outdoor photography.


George really prepared a lot of information for his class. It is true, he does have a lot of expensive equipment and we may not be able to do some of the things he does with a smaller budget, but it is good incentive for us to plan for the future. He seemed to share new information constantly and stay focused and I was able to take a lot of notes. He talked about many kinds of equipment as well as software and websites he uses. I am pretty impressed that he is so up to date with recent technology. He especially loves macro/micro and stacking hundreds of images for minute focus on really large enlargements (for example, over 600 photos for one butterfly wing). That can get boring if you are not interested in doing that. I can take those tips and apply them to landscape photography though. I think it is more helpful for someone already doing outdoor photography and looking for new inspiration or new techniques as opposed to someone new to photography in general.