PHOTO SKILLS: GET IN THE FRAME
A BURGEONING TREND IN LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY IS FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHER TO STAND IN THE SCENE FOR SCALE. JAMES ABBOTT SHOWS YOU HOW TO SHOOT SUCCESSFULLY WHEN YOU ARE PART OF THE IMAGE…
A tutorial on taking a selfie! Surely not? There’s more to this on- trend outdoor technique than meets the eye
Landscape photography is a hugely popular genre because so many of us enjoy being outdoors with a camera to document our adventures. and what better way than capturing yourself in the scene. We’re not talking cheesy selfies or awkwardly composed record shots, but carefully considered landscape images worthy of inclusion in your portfolio.
the aim is first and foremost to shoot a stunning landscape at the best time of day for the location. For some this will be at sunrise, while for others it will likely be sunset. But don’t forget some locations are best shot in the morning or afternoon, despite these not generally being the ‘ best’ times of day to shoot landscapes. For instance, strong, bright light can work well with photographs of people in the landscape.
Including a figure in the landscape has long been a successful way of adding a human factor to landscapes, as well as adding a sense of scale with locations where it’s difficult to judge the size of the elements within the scene. In recent years, and with the rise of social media, this technique has become hugely popular. While it’s always easier to have someone posing in the shot for you, there will always be times when you are the only person available.
When the job of outdoor and adventure model falls in your hands you simply need your standard landscape photography gear, so at the very least you’re going to need a tripod, a kit lens or an ultra wide- angle zoom. If you have one, a wireless remote to fire the shutter will be a great help although not essential because you can use the camera’s self- timer. nd grads and a polarising filter will also be useful for maintaining sky detail at different times of the day, but again these are optional. having all the kit you need, let’s take a look at the skills and techniques you can use to guarantee stunning images of yourself standing in the landscape.
Carefully compose the shot knowing where you’ll be standing in the scene. If possible, place yourself so that your position conforms to the rule- of- thirds. To get the perfect position you may need to take a test shot and adjust the camera angle as necessary. Using Liveview is a great way to compose because you get such a large clear view of what’s going on in the frame and can ensure the horizon is level. 2 CAMERA SETTINGS Shoot in aperture- priority mode at around f/ 11, which will provide good image quality and a sufficient depth- offield. Set ISO to 100. To focus, select a point in the scene that’s one third of the distance into it from the point in the foreground you want to be sharp. Set manual focus and magnify the desired point in the scene using the Liveview image on the LCD monitor for precise focusing.
FILTERS If you have filters for landscape photography now is the time to attach and adjust them as required. ND grads will be most useful for scenes where the sky is much brighter than the ground, which is common at sunrise and sunset. However, if you’re shooting around midday, you will most likely find that a polarising filter is most effective for maintaining sky detail and reducing glare. 4 ENTER THE SCENE You’ll ideally have a wireless remote to release the shutter, but if not set the camera’s self- timer to 20 or 30 seconds to allow you time to walk into position and take a test shot. If you’re standing on the edge of a rock or close to a drop, like in this image, then take a great amount of care. If you’re using the self- timer and struggling to get into position in time, don’t rush and consider another location.
5 ASSESS EXPOSURE You may find the exposure is different with you in the frame. Apply exposure compensation to lighten or darken the shot as necessary and use the histogram to help assess exposure, making sure either end isn’t butted up against the edge, indicating shadows or highlights have been clipped. Shadows are represented to the left of the histogram, while highlights are indicated on the right.
All by myself… Images like this help the viewer to envision themselves in the landscape, offering a great sense of adventure. Exposure: 1/ 4sec at f/ 13 ( ISO 100)