Landscapes with mood
Start your spring photography adventures off in style with stunning scenic photos
What is the key ingredient to all successful landscape images? Composition, creativity, timing and exposure are all vital, but mood is the thing that will ultimately make your shots stand out. But how do you create a genuine feeling of awe? Well, a variety of things can produce mood, but Mother Nature is often the biggest contributor. The light and weather can be the difference between a good and great photograph. For example, rays of golden light, a crimson sky, or wisps of mist are practically guaranteed to add atmosphere to your landscapes. Thankfully, spring is a season that delivers changeable and photogenic weather conditions.
Study the forecast
First, maximize your chances of being in the right place at the right time by forward planning. Throughout spring, regularly monitor the forecast. Many weather sites and apps provide good detail, with satellite views showing cloud cover, predicted windspeeds, and when atmospheric conditions like fog and mist are likely. Some apps, like Skycandy, even predict the likelihood of there being a colourful sunset. British weather is particularly hard to predict, but be prepared to take a chance on the forecast – all it takes is the tiniest gap in a cloudy sky to create extraordinary conditions. You know what they say – the harder you work, the luckier you get!
Magical spring conditions
Atmospheric weather is often short lived. Misty conditions are not uncommon during spring, but will disappear quickly. You ideally want to be on location before daybreak, so be prepared to set your alarm early. Mist is most likely to appear in valleys and over wetland or large bodies of water. It will cloak the land to create eerie and irresistibly photogenic conditions. Elevated viewpoints can work well, or consider venturing into woodlands – fog combined with trees and spring
“The ‘golden hours’, just after sunrise and prior to the sun setting, typically provide the richest light quality”
flowers make an irresistible combination. Mist can fool your Canon’s metering systems into underexposure, though, so keep an eye on histograms and apply positive exposure composition when required.
Light is a photographer’s language and is the element that enables us to convey mood and depth. The light’s warmth and clarity during spring can be magical, particularly the ‘golden hours’, just after sunrise and prior to the sun setting. So, it’s important you plan ahead and get on location and in position for the best composition in advance of the best conditions. The sun is more diffused at dawn and dusk and, with its intensity reduced by its low position, consider including it in the frame. By doing so, you may be able to capture a sunburst effect by using a narrow aperture (eg f/16 or f/22) to add further drama to your shots. Given the right cloud and conditions, at sunrise and sunset, colour can radiate all around – so remember to look in all directions, not just towards the sun itself. And don’t miss the afterglow by packing up your camera gear too soon.