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Nature and Landscape Photography

Lesson 23 of 27

Types of Light: Direct Sunlight

John Greengo

Nature and Landscape Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

23. Types of Light: Direct Sunlight

Lesson Info

Types of Light: Direct Sunlight

in this section we're going to be talking about light obviously one of the most important things to a nature and landscape photographers working with the best light possible but you need to have an understanding of the types of light what they're good for because no matter the light there's probably something that you can shoot if you have the right conditions and in this section I've kind of had to go back to the rule book and start from scratch piece of paper you might say it likes you to paper and start over and kind of thinking about how different types of lighting work and so this is going to be a bit different than the previous lighting sections and I imagine every photographer has their own view on lighting so let's let's start off with the ideal so this is the ideal scenario is that you choose a subject and you figure out what the absolute best light iss and then you photograph it and that rarely ever happens in photography at least a nature photography what tends to happen is ...

that you go to a particular location and you shoot what you can while you're there and you get lucky with good light or you get bad luck and you don't get good light and you come back and you try it again and again until you get the right light and so we're often having to deal with what hand is dealt us so let's dive into the light and I going to quickly divide this into two different categories we have natural light and artificial light and a lot of times when I'm grouping things little things that have just a few things to him I want to get out of the way so let's just deal with artificial light real quickly that's talking about speed lights those are the lights that we stick on our cameras the flashes on our cameras that are dedicated for him strobe units those are things that you would use in a studio for instance and then light bulbs which is pretty much everything else from the car headlamps to the headlamps in you're on your head or in somebody's house and we're going to be dealing with natural light in this class and so we're going to be talking exclusively natural now weakens further subdivide natural light into several different categories and I have I decided to change up the terminology that some other people use in in order to try to make it as clear as possible and so I have direct sunlight is there any question dorrit as to what direct sunlight is okay I think we can all no direct sunlight is illuminating this scene here there is in direct light we're going to go through both of these now the other there are some other types of natural light for instance fire lava lightning and there's certain objects that are certain creatures that are bioluminescence that actually produced light themselves and they're pretty rare they don't produce a lot of light and so we're not gonna be talking about these other categories in this class and the two main categories is direct sunlight and indirect sunlight and this these air terms that get used in many different ways of describing this sunshine daylight obviously but indirect light is often used in many many other different terms that I don't think are really clear about exactly what is going on and so realize that I'm kind of using some new terminology here that's a little bit different than other people let's start with direct sunlight okay pretty obvious throw definition up it feels kind of stupid to do so but I'm going to define all of them so that you really know what I'm talking about okay what are the advantages of working in direct sunlight it's very very powerful so it's going to be very very easy to make shutter speeds and aperture choices on your camera it's going to be easy to hand hold your camera for instance because you're going to have very fast shutter speeds our eyes the human eyes that we look at the world with well seymour saturated colors when we have a very powerful light and so if the light is very strong we're going to be able to see colors very easily you'll notice that when the lights go very dark around your house it's very hard to see colors when we're in night time we're basically in a black and white mode we cannot see colors very easily when it's dark now our cameras can actually see colors when it's dark because sensors work differently than our eyes but in general we're going to notice these bright bold colors in that sunlight when we have that direct sunlight we will have some shadows which are kind of nice for revealing a little bit of depth and texture as in these sand dune photo and this can work for very well in the black and white image genres we talked about in the previous section and so direct sunlight is a good time to go black and white as well so the disadvantages with shooting in this direct sunlight is that it has a very wide dynamic range and what's happening in those shadows even in this particular photograph is kind of lost it is just too dark of information this is going to make many scenes very challenging to shoot in bright sunlight and so we're losing important information and we don't like to lose information this high contrast is not going to be good for a lot of types of scenes any scene that has a lot going on that has what's called a cluttered but just has a lot of visual elements going on is probably not going to let good and bright sunshine because there's going to be shadows and it's going to make it look very complicated and so this works okay in very simple scenes like in some of the desert shots and it also makes things very difficult toe work it sometimes it's just plain old hot but other times as I've mentioned before it's really hard to see the back screen of your camera to see if you are getting sharp images and so working under bright light conditions I find the muralist cameras which haven't evey f that you could hold up to your eye and see the digital version of your image much easier to work with that an slr so some tips for you for working in the direct sunlight if that's what you happen to have when you are there best when the sun is low on the horizon so we're talking just after sunrise just before sunset often going to be very good with a polarizer so you wanna have that handy and this is often where you're going to get those great landscapes where you have the sun just raking across the ground very low having a little bit of sky in the background so that's a good time for shooting lens big landscapes but you don't want to include too much sky unless there's a very specific purpose for it now I'm going further subdivide the direct sunlight into sub categories that basically falls a line a direction line so either is the sun is coming from directly in front of you it's coming from the sides it's coming from in back well actually in back of your subject or overhead and high up so it's just a matter of one of the directions so let's start off with front light which basically means that our subjects front side is illuminated by sunlight so the sun is behind us or essentially over our shoulders the big advantage on this is that it's a very powerful light very very strong and you were building the use um very fast shutter speeds you're going to have a minimum number of shadows which may be good or bad depending on your subject and you're going to get some very saturated colors this is a lot of times the type of light that is used for postcard images it's rather simple light but it's often very powerful in its colors and brightness and they can't have a pretty good impact if you really want to showcase you know the basic scene what is the scene actually look like not it's kind of artistic nice area but just show us the straight scene this is going to be a good way of showing that type of environment now the disadvantage is that this is what's considered a flat light in this photograph of delicate arch the sun is pretty much directly behind me it's a little off to the right hand side and it's very hard to see textures in the foreground because there's no shadows you can't tell is that rough is that smooth how how high humps are there in that photo and so this is going to hide the textures which doesn't work for many types of photographs those those shadows are going to reveal depth and that's another element that it's nice to have in a photograph but it's very difficult to get when you were working with front light and frankly it could be just too harsh for certain it certain types of subjects and it's probably the least interesting and exciting of light it's it's kind of a nice documentary light but it's not real good when it comes to the artistic side if you do have to work with front light try to shoot with the sun as low on the horizon as possible so obviously sunrises and sunsets in this case when the sun is directly behind you the polarizer is goingto have virtually no impact at all be careful of your shadows you don't want to have your head popping into the frame unusual saddles don't look good this will often look good sometimes for flattish looking subjects and when I mean buy a flat subject these are hills and they're certainly not flat but I'm kind of shooting them in a flat compressed way using a telephoto lands and I'm not getting any shadows here it's very tough to tell the texture and the depth in these because we actually have two mountains in the foreground one in the background and with side lighting you'd be able to see this much better and I would kind of like to have a sidelight version it's just that I was hiking through and I wasn't there at this time but this is a good example of flat light shooting with flat light very early in the morning this is landscape arch in arches national park it's probably one of the longest thinnest arches that you will find anywhere on the on the planet and this is one that is likely not toe last for very much longer if you look at how thick that isthe they've had a number of arches fall in recent years and arches and this one is probably next on the block for having gravity take it down and I made very special accommodations to get there as soon as the sun got up over the horizon and this is really only about five or ten minutes after the sun got across the horizon this is the wave down in arizona we'll be talking more about this in the composition section middle of the day that's one of the rare times where I've taken a shot that I liked right near noon time but very flat light shows the detail of the place doesn't show a lot of depth not my favorite shot of the location but really shows what is there very very clearly next up let's move the light off to the side so when we move the light to the side this is one of the photographer's favorite positions for the light to be in and there's a lot of advantages of having light to the left or to the right hand side this is where you are get going to see some texture and death you see those little dimples in the snow that's giving us some idea of where those mounds of snow are and what that ground looks like this is work going to work really well with polarizer is you have the sidelight that is exactly the setup you want for using a polarizer in this particular case I was timing this to be the very last eruption of steam from old faithful before the sun went down so I'm trying to shoot with the sun as low on the horizon as possible and this is really going to help separate this foreground subjects from the background subjects once again helping out with the death the disadvantage is that this is only available for a short period of time it's really maybe half hour forty five minutes maybe an hour at most in the morning and in the evening there are limited shooting directions I mean you might have great sidelight but there's nothing to shoot in that direction and you're going to be forced into a different condition and so there are only a few places where you can move at any position you want to shoot it so you're really going to be limited as to where you can stand to photograph that this is something that you're only going to find an open territory obviously at the bottom of a canyon it's not going to happen there you're only going to get the light kind of raking in from very high angles so it's just not going to be an option in many locations and for some types of photographs it's going to be to contrast and so it's generally a very good one but if you should really early in the morning the contrast levels are lower and that's when you're going to get the best chance of shooting with that sidelight so tips obviously using a polarizer finding a subject with texture on it keeping that sun as low as possible and work in the morning and evening hours so some examples of working with sidelight the baobab alley in madagascar africa one of my favorite locations in bryce national park right at sunrise just after the sun has come up over the horizon and a little tiny stand of what they called toadstools in utah sidelight just before the sun's coming down fromthe west cutting across creating some really nice shadows and textures and death in this photograph the light's not real strong in this photograph it's very subtly concede there's some shadows in there but this is in yellowstone national park and we're getting just a little bit of shadows to give you a little feel of death on this this's mammoth hot springs in the northwest corner of the park and so once again that sidelight really helping you show that death shadows can really help a photograph show the shape of those subjects within there all right so we'll get theirs are light behind the subject our subject is backlit and this could work out for certain types of situations and subjects very very well the advantages with this is that if you have a subject that is transparent like a fern or a leaf it can really just illuminate that subject and it it kind of looks like it's glowing in some ways which could look really nice and photographs there's a rim lighting effect I'll show you a photograph is an example of that and on the front side of the subject if you're shooting for the shadows it could be very even lighting in the shadows and so you can kind of let the highlights just go really bright and that will hold the details in the shadows if you are shooting for those shadows this is very tricky lighting work with and there's a lot of caveats to shooting in this because getting the right exposure is very difficult and often requires several different test shots and so I would highly recommend manual exposure and a number of test shots because auto exposure is likely to get this wrong there is also the potential for flare wait a question in an earlier section about using lens hood's and having flare when you're shooting straight into the sun and there are some cases where you're just going to get flair on this particular shot one of the things that I did one of the little tricks that idea is even though the sun was coming right at me I stood in the shadow of a tree but I was shooting something that was heavily backwards so I did not have any son hitting the front lens of the camera this is often going to be a little bit darker it's not as bright as working with full sun on your subject and so you are gonna be working at slower shutter speeds which means you're probably going to mean to be working with the tripod as well so let's look at some tips for a shooting with backlight obviously the transparent subjects so looking for foliage which means we're talking about springtime maybe summer possibly fall time as well as when we're going to have most of these not going to happen is often in the wintertime could it happen easiest it's going to be easiest when the sun is low in the sky that's when you're going to get that back lighting happening in most cases and as I said in this example I was kind of standing behind a tree having the light blocked the front of my lands to reduce that flare and then you'll also notice in this one I am having the backlit ferns uh in the foreground and in the background those ferns are not getting hit with sunlight I've specifically chosen tow line up the photograph so that it has a dark background and so if you have this transparent subject in front of a dark background it really pops out in front of it so a few photographs for that clouds are transparent and so backlit through the clouds are great way to shoot as I said those leaves backlit are going to glow the light coming off the edge of these tulips that is some of that rim lighting also little bit transparency coming through the flowers and in arches national park these air fins and those little bright lights the bright light along the edge that's the rim lighting you'll hear studio photographers talk about that and so this is we're letting a little bit of our exposure go very bright and this helps show a little bit of depth and texture in it as well and so it's a challenging like to work with but can yield some very nice results with certain subjects is it okay if I think this is from jack as as well as there is a big discussion and has been about lens hood's and so when do you use wth um and why so lends her and when you're not well it's more fully explained in my fundamentals class but the short quick version of it here is it blocks light from hitting the front of the lens and light hitting the front of the lens will often bounce around into frack and cause optical problems resulting in flare and ghostie and so any bright strong light hitting the front of your lands is potential to cause problems that you don't one and so blocking that light is done with a lens hood or lens shade for each lens that is made there is a specific lens hood designed to get the maximum effect without being visible looking through the lands so for any lens there's going to be a dedicated lens hood from that manufacturer that's available for blocking the light when should you use him in my opinion about one hundred percent of the time there's only a couple reasons why you shouldn't use lenses but for me it's kind of a matched element and it's part of the whole system so it should be used in my opinion all the time great and that's what you do that's what I do okay thank you don't just preach it I live it uh thank you okay so we're on the subject of backlight this kind of leads into silhouettes because this is a backward situation but it's kind of a special situation of being back with and so silhouette city sort of distinctly shape subject in front of a nice colored background in many case is going to look good now the advantage of shooting in this manner is it makes for a very simple subject okay folks have a very fancy graphic for you on this image look at this image now and look at this image now you can still read pretty easily what that same images this image is not really size dependent and if you ever need to have a very small image and you have the option of choosing a silhouette it's going to translate and read much easier if you have to print a really really small size image it just it's a very simple image and you don't need a lot of space for obviously going to be very good when you have that color at peak color sunrise and sunset and just has a very nice dramatic look to it now this is obviously not going to look good with many different types of subjects this is only going to get look look good with subjects that have a nice outline to it and this is only available at very brief times today that sunrise and sunset difficult to get the exposure correct you probably wouldn't want to be in the manual exposure shooting a couple of test exposures and you're obviously gonna have to be an open terrain for this to happen you can't not be able to shoot this in the canyon's got to be up out in the open so some tips on this is get out there for the sunrises and sunsets look for things with very distinctive shapes to it I love some of the rock structures down in utah because they're great to shoot as silhouettes and it's kind of ah multiplication factor how good is the color and how good is the shape and that's how good your impact is going to be color time shape equals impact math that I don't think they taught me in school and if you want to have a little bit more color one of the things that you want to do is slightly under exposed image make it just a little bit darker when you make an image a little bit darker it increases the color a little bit and so for instance baobab alley death back down to madagascar it's a fairly dark image and so my light meters thinks I'm not letting in nearly enough light but it's the right color tone for getting those shapes correctly and getting the light with its saturated colors we talked about this one earlier in australia or along the oregon coast bandon beach really simplifies the subject and I really like this because it's clean the dark kind of hides a lot of unwanted elements so we're on the subject of backlight we've done silhouettes something else that you a lot of people have been interested are the bursting stars what's causing the starburst how do I do it how do I get it so this is basically just lens flare caused by the apertures in the lands and let me give you some tips on how to do this you want to stop the aperture down fairly far f eleven to f twenty two it can happen at other apertures you know of course if you could get down to thirty two are beyond but you're going to get it maury's aly the more you stopped down the apertures and it helps if you slightly obscure the sun a little bit behind a tree or a branch or a mountain or something solid and what you're trying to have a small of light source as possible and the sun is not small enough in the sky and so if you could make it a little bit smaller by hiding portions of it you'll get even more of a bang from it having a dark object around it you'll notice in this photograph how much easier it is to see the light race on the bottom half of the sun where I have a dark mountain as opposed to the top half where it has kind of a bright sun to it so trying to get trying to get it to poke through a very dark area and you'll have a little bit more impact with a wide angle lens then you will with the telephoto lens and it is kind of a photographic little trick it's kind of a side effect but it's kind of nice to have in there and I will stop down first off just because I want the depth of field but it's nice to have that extra little pop you might say in the photograph now one of things that you might notice this is mesa arch in canyon lands very heavily photographed position is noticed the number of star points coming off the star and you'll notice that as I use different lenses there is a different number of star points so let me explain how this works it depends on the number of aperture blades in your camera and cameras will have anywhere generally from five up to nine blade so let me show you how five six and seven blades work wherever these blades meet up is where you're gonna have your light rays coming out and so if you have five blades you will have five points coming out of it but because of the way the light reflects around lens it's also going to come out in the opposite of where each of these race comes out so if you have an odd number of blades you're going to have an even number of light rays coming out so five will actually give you ten star points with six you're going to get your six coming out between the blades what's in the opposite direction well that's exactly where other blades are so when you have six you're going to end up with six as well and so you are always going to end up with an even number of stars flares coming out from the lens and if you have seven you basically you're gonna have to double that because it's an odd number of blades and you will end up with fourteen points now what you like is up to you on dh I find that different lenses have slightly different looks to them and you can see that I shot with three different lenses that have three different aperture set ups which are getting slightly different flares from them and this is partly controlled by the number of blades as well as the optical formula and how will that controls flair and so forth and so there's a number of factors that are going into this can I have found that just on a personal note I've been shooting with the cannon seventeen to forty and I've recently upgraded to the new sixteen to thirty five in the new sixteen to thirty five has a very clean lens flare from it that I think looks much better in this much less messy you might say then from the seventeen to forty and so looking for those bright sun lights breaking through obscuring the sun a little bit by the trees in both this case and once again I'm waiting for the light to kind of get right between these trees down it reflection like okay so let's talk about overhead light all right where do you think the light is it's straight up in the skies is the middle of the day light what do you think I'm going to say about this okay so this is available that convenient hours yes we can get out there a noon time and we can shoot for pretty much all day long if we want to shoot in this overhead light it's going to allow us to use fast shutter speeds and have great depth of field we're not going to have to use our tripods it's going to be optional in many cases because we have more than a lot of light its abundant light okay the clear disadvantage with this is the wide dynamic range which means those shadows have gotten very dark so dark we can't see in them anymore and we're losing those important details that are important to us in many of these photographs this is kind of a flat light that doesn't show depth and texture in many situations very well and so it's not going to be very good for really showcasing the landscape and finally it has a very ordinary look to it you know I think that morning light an evening like look good for a number of reasons but partly one of those reasons is it just looks different something different is going on so some tips for shooting in overhead light number one tip and I should probably just stop right here avoiding all right but I realize you're out there you only have so much time you might as well try to make do with what you can so if you can find shade you can shoot there because there are plenty of places that you can shoot and get some great shots in the shadows and so finding shadows that actually work for you because not all cases are shadows bad news sometimes they can actually help and look for areas that have natural reflectors so some examples uh this is back I think this is eureka dunes in death valley this is a terrible photograph folks flat light does not show the texture does not show the hills and landscapes of these dunes very well at all here's another bad example of lighting it is way to contrast it is way too complicated what's going on in this photograph shooting this in the middle of the sun with these shadows and bright sun does not work very well bright sunshine not so bad here partly because we have a much more simple subject let me just jump back to the previous photo this is a very complicated subject in the sense that there's a lot going on there's a lot of lights and darks here this is a much simpler subject and the shadow actually works for us because the shadow becomes a shape and adds to the photograph water is often a great place to shoot around because it does a very good job reflecting light and so the underside of this iceberg is getting light reflected partly from the iceberg and partly from the water so that the bottom side of the iceberg is not just a black hole with no detail we can see what's going on in there and up with the tulip fields again the bright dirt actually reflects light up to the bottom side of the flowers and if I don't include too much of that dirt area it actually can help out lighting in this situation because it's bringing the light in from the bottom so let me kind of walking through another shooting session I had up at the skagit tulips like to go up there been up there several times in the last few years and they've all these different fields and they're constantly moving him from one area to the next and so you can go up three four years in a row and you're going to be working with different backgrounds in different lighting in each of these situations and you end up with a ton of these shots which are nice little pattern shots and there's a lot of people doing goofy things around and walking around and you want to get up there nice and early before you get the crowds up there so that you could kind of work in the fields and I got to this one field and I was like the on ly person working there which was great because I could pull out my fisheye lands and I could shoot super wide angle and nobody else was in the shop you know the thing that the reason I'm showing you this shot is I want you to notice that the trees in the background and the way the sun is kind of cutting through those trees and casting a shadow over the field of flowers and I wanted to try toe work with that in some ways because that's kind of an unusual position tau have light dark light dark and I was playing around with a number of different compositions and I shot this one is a good example of a bad photo and the problem here is that the area that is in focus is in the shadows and is very dark and hard to see it would be much better to have the area and focus that is in the bright area and this your eyes kind of drawn to the area of brightness but then you don't want to look there because it's blurry and so this is a bad focusing or compositional set up and I found this one set up where these red tulips were a little bit taller than the next door purple ones and it was kind of a matter of working around trying to find the right shadows waiting for the light to cut through and in this case the light cut off from the purple flowers too much so I had to work a slightly different section so that just a sliver of light was illuminating the purple flowers some of them were just in the edge of the shadows as well as a shadow on the top edge of the frame so it is essentially framed with shadows both on the top and the bottom side and we have some nice very vibrant colors right through the middle of the frame and so look for the lighting around you see where the sun is see where the shadows and really try to work with it one of the areas I showed you several photos before is from marine lake up in vamp national park and I went down there and I knew from research that this is where I wanted to go to get some shots and I was hoping for something great I arrived tuesday at ten fifty three and I just wanted to go there as quickly as I could to scout the location I don't know maybe it be good pictures right there obviously it's overcast and not as dramatic as I would like there is this large hill that you can climb up on and shoot from and there's a lot of different very subtle areas that you can shoot from for different composition and I was just trying to experiment shooting at different areas so I'm working around this area on tuesday trying to figure out the best place to shoot and then I work my way down to the lake and trying to figure out if there's some foreground I can work with down there these air all basically scouting shots they have a dock down there where they rent canoes for this is one of the most expensive canoe rentals I've ever seen it's like I forget the exact price but it's around forty dollars for half a hour uh it's a real premium to go out on this lake for just a little bit of time but there's a lot of visitors they've come a long ways and it looks like such a great lake for going out on but they have all these colored canoes which are kind of nice it wasn't really quite sure what I wanted so I said okay I need to be here first thing in the morning so I got up right nearly I'm there ready to work before six a m looking for the right shot working around starting to get some light on this is starting to look interesting they're starting to be some pretty good color the clouds started blowing off and I'm thinking okay we're onto something really good but the fact of the matter is it just kind of petered out and I didn't get any more shots that day at all so that was tuesday and wednesday I took thursday off with someplace else to go shoot and then I came back friday morning once again I was there pretty early in the morning seven o'clock and now I have kind of a nice mixture I have clouds but they're not totally obscuring the sky so they're letting the sunlight and letting it it hit the mountains in the background and now I'm finding my right famous or my favorite composition and I like having some of those trees in the foreground just as a framing device loved the color of the lake unlike the blue in the sky I'm going to give this just a little bit of a crop I occasionally crop my images too fit the frame I've actually cropped a lot of my images to fit the hd aspect ratio just particularly for this class with sixteen by nine but I also like that look for the horizontal image and so this was my favorite shot of three days of shooting at the lake and I think it was just the right mixture of light any later in the day the sun would have gotten two bright on the mountains and they would have become overexposed with everything else in the foreground because those rocks and trees in the foreground those are in the shadows and I am using both a polarizer and a split neutral density filter on this image and I've probably gone into light room and lightened up the shadows over on the left side just a little bit and when I was holding the graduated neutral density filter on this I wasn't holding it straight down I was holding it at an angle because it's brighter over here on the right hand side of the frame and it was definitely dark over here so I wasn't it was trying to not make this any darker than it originally was so I was just trying to darken down this kind of bright angled upper right hand corner on the frame another example of working with the light and trying to get the most out of it for a particular situation is another famous classic location monument valley so monument valley is in arizona it's on indian land it's not a national park because it is on indian land and there are these mittens they're known as the mittens because they right hand in the left hand there and very famous location where they filmed a lot of old western movies john wayne movies and I was scouting locations in the middle of that I the middle of the day because that's where I had arrived and so I mean what here at noon time trying to think well would this make nice foreground in the evening or in the morning shot and I'm kind of logging these locations and I'm not actually writing them down but I'm just kind of put a mentally on a checklist what this parking lot we got this but then over here there's another location and I done all this scouting looking at different areas and this is where they'll drop the busload of tourists off they will take their millions of photos here at noontime well I had scouted and I had found a really nice location and went back to my tent and was eating dinner kind of waiting for a sunset to come around and then it started to rain and there was this huge rainstorm and I was kind of cowering in my tent eating dinner inside thinking well this was my one day and my one chance to shoot at monument valley for a nice sunset and the clouds have totally wiped me out one of those times where you only get one shot at it and the rain finally stopped around seven o'clock and then there was a little bit of ah break on the horizon I looked off in the distance and I could see some sunshine hitting hitting some of the mountains in the distance and this was that break on the horizon you can literally see the clouds moving off from left to right and this is that break on the horizon that you just dream for and you wish for and unfortunately because it was raining I was nowhere near my ideal location I didn't think that there was going to be a shot at all so I ended up going to shoot something else and all of a sudden I realized that I wanted to be a half hour away but I had ten minutes to get the shot and so I'm looking in the area okay I need something in the foreground and honestly folks the only thing that I could find it interesting was this little tuft of grass it's not much but at least it's something in the foreground to have some element besides these great mittens in the background and so once again kind of that grand landscape concept of having everything in focus having something in the foreground having nice light a little bit of sky a little bit of clouds in there this is with a twenty one millimeter lens it's f sixteen and of course I met s o one hundred we're going to move into kind of the next subject I'll just do a quick check on any sort of questions or anything yeah you bet I do have another lens hood question but if you don't mind I sort of really people no evil but it's ankle lives hoods that's actually a good one because we talked about it and sew a bunch people voted on this one my lens hood impedes the ability to adjust my circular polarizer what do you how do you do that you've got the lens hood on who got the polarizer that you've got to move tough tough take the hood off get it set put it back in line where you go people that's that's it no I totally understand pentax and maybe some other company has addressed this issue what they did is on their lens hood they put a little window down at the bottom so that you could reach your finger up in and adjust the polarizer which is a very cool and innovative idea and I wish others would do it it does add a little bit to the balkan clunkiness of the hood but generally I'll take it off I'll adjust it once you get the polarizer adjusted your generally not changing it that much from shot to shot because you're not moving it you're gonna affect get it to the setting you want and generally always you're not you're not gonna always leave it there but generally there's not that much adjustment I do understand the frustration and it's just it's part of the process when I said at the very beginning of the class embraced the process this is part of the process this weeds out the lazy people okay you are willing to do it you were going to be one step ahead of the people who are like it's too much trouble to take off the lens hood and adjust the polarizer so we're just separating the group here

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.