Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Learn Landscape Photography Series:Where?

Want breathtaking photos? Well the simple answer to making beautiful images is to photograph beautiful places. It may sound stupid, but trying to make an awe inspiring photo in your backyard is going to take either an amazing backyard or a lot of luck, creativity, and Photoshop skills.

I have the unbelievably good fortune to live in Utah, home to five national parks, forty-three state parks, and over nine million acres of national forests. Spectacular scenery for photography can be found across almost the whole state. So what I'm saying is don't move to Utah, you won't like it.  What I am recommending though is to explore in and around were you live. There is something that will be uniquely your own that someone visiting for a week just can't quite replicate. So shoot somewhere close and often and then work your way to those grand landscapes!

Local Wilderness can be as small as a park down the street to a national forest a few hours away. They also provide a good starting point to refine your skills. The way to find something worth photographing in these locations is to go out and find something worth photographing. Go for hikes and walks near sunrise and sunset, begin to see places you've seen before in literally a different light. You may be surprised at how many landscape and nature opportunities will present themselves just by being there at the right time of day.

State parks are one of my favorite places to visit. Often they are less crowded and less photographed than the national parks, but offer up some seriously stunning landscapes just the same. With over 6,600 state parks in the U.S. there should be a few nearby.

National parks are at times overwhelmingly beautiful and can make your head spin trying to decide when(which we covered here) and where to shoot. Chances are though, with a little research you can find the best times for each of the highlighted areas in the park and the better you have planned before the visit the more likely you will come home satisfied.

The Remote Wilderness is perfect for when you grow tired of the crowds. Exploring the more secluded and even less photographed areas of nature is an experience not to be missed. Wherever this seclusion takes you just make sure you are completely prepared for the trip and don't let this wondrous pursuit cause you to write off popular destinations forever just because they are popular. Be open to photograph and really just experience the wilderness wherever it may be.

Helpful Tools: For researching and planning trips I always use these tools. Google Earth is an obvious, yet easy program to scout locations and even plot out the sun's movement across the landscape. I also use the Photographer's Ephemeris. The Ephemeris can track both the sun and the moon in very specific locations as well as give the times for their rises and sets for any date. GPS is a life saver and more and more a must have. It's most important function is keeping you from getting lost, but it also serves as a locator for destinations that otherwise could be missed.

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