Shooting in paradise
David Webb wants to make the most of New Zealand’s scenery
Before I retired three years ago I had only really taken holiday snaps, but my wife and I wanted to see more of the world. New Zealand was high on my list of places to see, so we spent two months there, and my passion for photography, and landscape photography in particular, was given full rein. My camera bag was, of course, near to hand wherever we went. I currently shoot with a Nikon D610 coupled with either my Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens or my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR.
New Zealand’s obvious attraction is its dramatic and varied scenery. I am still learning about photography and I try to produce images that reflect what the human eye can see, and above all, create a reaction. When reflecting on my photography experience in New Zealand I have learned many lessons. I forced myself to shoot totally in manual mode, as I feel that this makes you appreciate and work the relationship between shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Shooting in RAW also gave me more latitude to make adjustments later in Lightroom. I was attracted to different light conditions and feel that being able to understand light is key to improving my images. I have also learned the value of a solid tripod and a patient wife!
The stunning scenery created its own unique challenges – the paths are well trodden. I wanted to capture images that were somehow different or had an unusual feel to them. I was therefore constantly looking for different angles, lighting or subjects.
David, you certainly had a beautiful country to photograph. You’re almost there with your images, and if you worked on the composition just a little more you would have some very powerful photos.
Try splitting the scene into parts: foreground, middleground and background. Textured rocks, wood and flowers all give the viewer something to focus on in landscape photographs. If you can, make the foreground object accentuate what’s in the background. For example, a piece of driftwood creeping into the frame could point at the glorious mountains behind.
Don’t be afraid to move in order to include an interesting object in the foreground. The children in shot 04 are slightly too central and have too much negative space below – it would have been nice to see them at the top or bottom of the frame.
If you can, try to capture complimentary colours, and make the most of contrasting textures (so if part of your scene is smooth, make sure the other part is rough). Repeated shapes and patterns also excite the eye – the jagged mountains stacking behind each other could be something to concentrate on for your next photo project.