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Nature and Landscape Photography

Lesson 1 of 27

Course Overview

John Greengo

Nature and Landscape Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

1. Course Overview

Lesson Info

Course Overview

all right welcome everybody to nature and landscape photography my name is john gringo and we have got a great two days of learning ahead of us here I have been working long and hard putting this class together I've got a lot of new stuff ready for you many of you know that I teach a lot of other classes here and I'd like to do a lot of visual stuff so you can expect a very visual class in store for you over these two days let me tell you a little bit about what we're going to be going over in short it's tools techniques and tips were going to be talking this morning about all the tools that nature photographers use and how they use the techniques for using those tools lenses and cameras tripods filters and all those other little goodies we're talking about that in depth today and a lot of you know that I'm a bit of a gear head and I kind of like this subject so we are going to dive right into it even talking about tilt shift lenses and for the rest of the class we're going to be talki...

ng about all the other techniques and tips for a variety of different situations and I've kind of reorganized broken this down into a very logical system that I think will make it very very easy to learn so I think this class is also going to be good for people with a wide variety of skill levels obviously the less you know the more you stand to gain from a class like this I have a friend who makes his living full time shooting nature in landscape work and his philosophy is and he takes classes and watches other photographers he might be watching right now and his philosophy is if I can learn one valuable tip it's worth my time and so I think you're gonna be able to walk away at the end of this two day class with lots of tips to help you out now I've been teaching classes for quite some time and in a number of my classes I hand out surveys give surveys to my students I want to find out how I'm dealing how come prove and what type of photography my students are interested in learning about and having done this for several years the number one choice is nature and landscape photography that seems to be what most amateur photographers most desire to do and I think I know why that is so number one it's accessible thankfully our society has put at least a small reasonably small importance on parks and we have set aside natural areas to be only lightly manipulated by humans slightly impacted and so there's places all over the world that you can go that are great places with beautiful astounding nature scenes so it's accessible it's something that we can all get out and actually do the second thing is that well let's face it this is a pretty enjoyable work environment if this is what you consider work it all is they're great places to go for getting the camera just to go there and enjoy it to go for a hike to go for a walk or a picnic these places are really nice to be and so that seems like a pretty nice way of spending your time and the third thing is that it seems pretty easy let's just take our lead photograph here title photograph up mount rainier national park now this is just a couple hundred yards from the visitor center and you drive up there and you walked a couple hundred yards on a paved path and boo you pull your camera and you take that picture and it's as easy as that that's all nature photography is or so some people would think and as you can see is we get through this it's much more challenging that you might expect I know when I got started in this I was terrible I was having trouble with all sorts of things it was it was a huge challenge for me when I go out now it is still a challenge for me and I know it's going to be a challenge for the rest of my life and that's one of the great things is having that challenge but I was thinking what if I was granted one wish and the wish to be used only for nature and landscape photography in order to take better photos what would I wish for and I ask you this question what would you wish for asking people on the facebook page the other day I was getting some interesting answers and so we would like to find out from you what would you wish for in order to take better nature and landscape photographs and the only rules I'll give you is that your wish has to be singular and specific you can't wish for a million wishes all right you gotta have one thing that you are choosing and what would that be now off course the gearhead in me came up with some ideas and while we're waiting for some some answers coming in I'll tell you a couple of my ideas my first idea was the infinite pixel camera which has infinite number of pixels and when you take a picture and you zoom in you just keep zooming in and in and in into your shooting macro and then you're shooting at the atomic level and then you're shooting a picture of the higgs particle and you could just shoot everything super sharp if you wanted to print a picture of the entire earth one the one you just make a copy of the earth and we look exactly the same and of course if you're going to have that you might as well have the infinite zoom you know the zoom that zooms from one millimeter ten thousand after one point owen it weighs one ounce that would be kind of nice to have and so can I don't know if we're getting in some answers but I would love to hear what some people have to think about what would they choose lutely well let's start off with I loved jim kotecki our own c l jim's yesterday which wass I wish I could fly I think ariel person that was one of my top choices and there's two reasons I think flying would be great number one you're standing here and you're like I wonder what it looks like a pawn that ridgeline just and you're up there the second reason why I would really like it is in a place like this where you're not supposed to trample over the flowers you could just hover over and take your pictures from wherever you wanted and so positioning yourself and getting from a to b that would be fantastic I like that one we've got john in our studio audience excellent control over the light control over the light so you're going to control the sun where the sun iss and everyone stars starr's gonna move the stars around okay that's very powerful I like that that's a good one I was thinking the same thing john in terms of the ability to control that natural light just like you can control fix light when you're in the studio and what have you but we have a lot coming in from folks at home dwayne brinkley says being able to jump tele port like the movie jumper then you could get shots and no one else could without a lot of trouble to reese api hq unlimited travel account with a private guy that knows the world like the back of his or her hand that will never leave me wrong and knows all the languages and when I saw that I also think it be great to know all the mating calls of all the way out there in the animal kingdom so that you could get them fernando says he wishes he could be invisible another great skill and uh let's say one more jewels bucklin to be able to rearrange the clouds or the mountains or whatever to get the perfect shot with everything how I see it in my mind moving those little bits and pieces around and finally emily long who is we're going to see very soon in person says I wish I could shoot like john gringo well thank you emily but uh you know some of my favorite was flying and controlling the weather that would be really nice it's really frustrating when you have so little control out there and so would you like to hear my idea and so we all we all have different challenges and this kind of represents what frustrates us and what we need help and my my wish would be for power I want a special power and it's not going to seem very impressive at first like moving the stars air changing the weather I wish that I had the power of ultimate recognition I would like to be ableto walk into a scene and instantly recognise that is the best subject this is the best place just a hand with this lands it's this is the best shot in the whole area because right now let me let me let you in my mind set when I'm out shooting pictures walking down the trail that's got a nice that's kind of nice who that looks kinda nice over here this looks pretty good if I shot this with wide angle lens but that looks kind of nice over here but I would need to be back there with the telephone but you know this is still pretty good over here and it's just fran frantic in my mind trying to figure out exactly where is the best shot and I don't know and sometimes I get it figured out but many times I don't and it's frustrating when you don't get it figured out and you feel like you're so close to the answer because there are great answers and there are times that I have taken pictures and I've come back with something that I was very happy with and I would kind of stand up and I walk away from the scene and it was this this little sphere that I was in just banishes it's like I would never know that this was a good shot from right here but when I get right down here I suddenly see the shot I suddenly realized it so I would like to present to you gringos great photo theory now before anyone takes this out of context I am not saying green goes great I'm not saying that this is a great photo theory I'm just saying it's my theory on great photos all right so this is my theory on great photos and theory is you are never more than five minutes away from a great photo opportunity so right now those of us here in the classroom there is a great photo five minutes away in less than five minutes if you had your camera and the second part of this if you only knew exactly what to do you at home there is a great photo right now somewhere five minutes into your future if you know exactly what to dio you got the right tools in the right mindset of finding and I think if you walk around with this attitude it's a very hopeful attitude there's something good here it's just a matter of me finding it and so when I'm out walking around looking at the mountains walking down the trail you have to be prepared because something could come along in the next moment I look back at some of my favorite photos and I try to think back what was I doing five minutes before that photo did I know that I was onto something and sometimes it's you know it's kind of like you're a detective and you're sniffing something I think there's something here I just got to get that the angles worked out and I got to get this worked out we got to get the light just in the right spot sometimes you have no idea and it comes upon you so very very quickly so I have some goals for you in this class I don't like to give people goals you should set them yourselves but I think when you see these goals I think they're very good goals if you want to improve your nature and landscape skills and this is what I hope to help teach in this class is things that are going to help you out on these goals and so here is the first one increase your observation skills you should be more aware of your surroundings you need to be looking around remembering what's going on noticing the minute details of your environment and their changes you need to be that person at the company picnic who's sitting there and says hey did you notice the clouds have been blowing south all day but now they're blowing northeast and that usually represents a clearing over in the west we should go over to the bluff because I think it's going to clear off and be a nice sunset that's the type of skills that a good nature photographer will have its because they're picking up on all these other details I love being out on a boat with a bunch of people because it often times especially with nature photographers there's a little bit of a little bit of a competition sometimes in spotting wildlife about there's an eagle about a half mile down river do you see it and you want to be that person that's picking up on all those details do you see the deer over in the woods there yeah no it's just moving its back a little bit no to the left of that rock yeah right there it just moved again you want to be the person that's picking up on all of that stuff it's going to help you and identifying subjects out in the field all right your second goal hone your ability to recognize potential I think a lot of us can recognize greatness when we see it but can you recognize potential that's not yet great but has the potential of being great given the right lands the right angle the right light and that's a skill set that takes some time we're going to be going over some of the clues to look for this has the potential of being great if it develops but finding those skills in some ways you're like a talent scout and you're not just looking for someone with ability you're looking for somebody who's got growth potential the third goal expanding your imagination of what is possible what can you do with your camp what can you see what can you imagine doing and in this case I like to study other people's photography I like to study art work I want to really know my camera what is everything that my camera could do did you know it's got this setting and I could do this it's got that sitting and I could do that so really taking full advantage of everything you have and when I look at photographs I I often instantly try to judge them do I like them do I not like them but one of the most important questions I ask is would I have thought to shoot that especially when I like the shot and I get very embarrassed to say that a lot of time times I would never have even thought to shoot that picture and suddenly that's just opened up a new doorway for me and so in my class I have a lot of visuals and I will be sharing a lot of photographs with you and some of them are my favorite photographs and some of them are just examples and some of them are bad photographs to show you leading to a better photograph is but each of those uh is a way to learn new possibilities now I have a question for all of you this is a weird question but how good a photos do you want to take all right that you say you want to do this what do you really mean and what I'm also asking is how much are you willing to invest in this endeavor is this something that's just a passing interest or do you really want to be good at this well I have come up with what I call the nature photography efforts scale and I'm going to tell you how good of nature photographer you are going to be by where you answer on this list and its scale goes from one to ten one would be a very bad photographer and ten would be the best photographer in the world ok so this is how much effort the maximum amount of effort you are willing to expand to get a photograph all right so think about what are you willing to do in order to take a picture all right level one on this you're willing to go as far as opening the camera app on your phone but no further if that's all you're going to do you're not going to make it very far in this industry number two are you willing to stop walking for a brief moment it drives me nuts folks when I see people walking down the street they pull out their phone and they don't even stop walking to take the picture they're just no not that important I'm not going I'm not going to take two seconds to do it next up on the scale how about rolling down the car window that is an indication that you are starting to take photography kind of seriously folks we're moving up the scale quickly here how about number four would you spend up to fifteen seconds looking for a photo wait honey just a moment I want to get the right angle here just no no over here no come over here that's it fifteen seconds all right getting serious number five do you own an actual real camera that doesn't have cellular service so a real camera you know that's like the only thing it does this is just take pictures now you are an official photographer having fun with you you and your mobile photography one of these days one of these days it is a thing all right number six moving up on the scale how about would you buy carrie and use a normal sized tripod I'm not talking one of the little table top ones I'm talking like a normal one you can stand up at and shoot pictures up that's going to be very helpful we're going to talk about that quite a bit more upper in the tool section okay would you be willing to wake up early and walk a long ways for a photo I was testing the slide out on somebody and I was asking them this question and they asked me what do you mean by a long way and I said you're probably level six then number eight would you plan a weekend around a photo opportunity hey we're gonna have a new moon it's going to be really dark I want to go camp up on the top of the ridge to photograph the stars would you be willing to do that because that's what it might take to get a really good photo number nine would you take a one week vacation from work just for a photography just so that you can get good pictures you're going to get some good ones if you can get kate a whole week to a park or a couple of parks now just to let you know I am not a level ten on the scale I'm about a nine point three I think level ten would you be willing to fly around the world for a single photograph there are photographers who are more than willing to do that and they're some of the best nature photographers in the world so ask yourself how much effort am I willing to put out and that's pretty much what you're going to get back out of this you can't just casually say aloud just roll down the window and take a snapshot as I'm driving down the road sixty miles an hour it's going to require a little bit of effort and the hard thing is its effort in a way that you might not have imagined and instead give scott from boston a shoutout who says I love that you define investment mohr by effort than money so that's really resonating with people I mean the money issue it's there and I'm aware of that but some of the nice equipment is expensive but I think we can all have workarounds for getting into something that does the job for us but it's getting up at four a m in the morning that's where a lot of people aren't really doing to ask the time it's true although scott says some of us are more sun centers than sunrise are very good I want you to think about your motivation for doing this what are the reasons that you want to get into nature and landscape photography maybe you want to be the world's greatest landscape photographer well I am not going to quite be able to deliver you to that level this might be the start of that journey but that's that's like on a whole nother level maybe you want to sell your landscape photos well this class doesn't deal with selling and marketing photographs and that's an admirable thing to do but we're not even going to get into that in this class if you want to take beautiful landscape photographs we got you covered here that's what we're gonna be doing in this class if you want to participate in an activity that you really enjoy you're in the right spot because you can't expect to go out and take great pictures you have to go out and say I'm going to give it a try and maybe something will happen maybe it won't because this is a very ungh arent ead business

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Beautiful landscapes are all around us – they are a joy to experience, but a challenge to capture in a single photo. In Nature and Landscape Photography, you’ll learn the essential tools and techniques for taking photographs that reflect the splendor of landscapes and the captivating details of nature.

In this class, award-winning photographer John Greengo will use illustrations, animations, and photographs of destinations from around the world to teach you the thought process behind great nature photography. You’ll learn which gear is suited to the environment you want to shoot and how to plan for ideal light and composition. John will help you master exposure and focus so you get a better shot in camera and improve your edits by taking you through hands-on photo critiques.

From complicated cameras to challenging environments, several obstacles stand in the way of you taking a photograph that reflects the landscape as you see it. This class will help you take nature and landscape photographs that reflect your unique perspective.

This course is part of the landscape tutorials series. 

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Composition Keynote

Equipment Keynote

Exposure Keynote

Focus Keynote

Light Keynote

Subject Keynote

Timing Keynote

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Thomas Hamlin

Most of nature's beauty has been photographed by lots of people over the years. However, nothing compares to actually visiting famous places, buildings, mountains, etc. and taking your own photographs. John Greengo provides the necessary equipment information, photographic principles, and techniques in a manner which inspires you to put in the extra effort to take the best nature photographs that you can with the gear that you have. His unique illustrations, actual real life photographs, and easily understood explanations are top notch. I highly recommend this outstanding course. I have several of John Greengo's photography courses, and I highly recommend them all. His vast experience with film and digital photography, gained through traveling and working with some well known photographers, gives his courses a unique perspective.

a Creativelive Student

I love this course, John. It is one of my all time favorites. First of all I loved your effort scale. I knew as soon as you went through the scale that you are a guy that I want to listen to. To me, the effort part IS the fun part of photography. When you asked the question about one wish ... the first thing that came to my mind was that I wish I had more time for photography. I like the technology, but I do not wish for any special powers. To me, that would take the challenge away. Photography is wonderful because every subject challenges the photographer to get the angle right, the light right, the settings right ... I love that challenge. I think you do too, John, and that is why this course is so special. The attention you pay to every detail comes from the drive you have to meet the challenges with every thing you've got. That is why your class is so special. Your work ethic is exceptional. SandraNightski

a Creativelive Student

While delving more thoroughly into Nature and Landscape photography in a smaller format, John Greengo provides us with an amazing companion to his outstanding courses Fundamentals Of Digital Photography and Travel Photography. Here he gives us another necessary treatise to study before packing our gear and heading out in a car, a plane, a boat (or just for a long hike), and it’s as entertaining as the others. Thank you again John Greengo and Creative Live for these expert and brilliantly illustrated programs. I just hope you keep finding more subjects to photograph and provide the instructions for.