5 Tips in 5 Minutes – Chasing The Light

For those that joined my Chasing the Light workshop at the 2019 Bright Festival of Photography or for those that just want to improve their landscape photography in the quickest way possible, the following words might help you.

The easiest way to capture beautiful images of landscapes and wilderness is to let nature do what she does best, and that is let her shine. Beautiful photographs don’t just happen by chance, and in most cases, there is a lot of planning involved to capture the perfect images (if there is such a thing), but the one thing you can guarantee with pretty much every beautiful image you have seen, is that the photographer has ensured they were in the right place at the right time. They have timed their photographs in sync to when nature will look its best. It’s the classic rule of right time of day, Golden hours.

Tip 1: Time of Day

  • The hours around sunrise and sunset (Golden Hours) are usually the best time of day to capture landscape images, hence why the BFOP crew had me and my gang up Mt Buffalo before the sun was even slightly interested in rising.
  • The light is softer, the colours are warmer, which makes creating beautiful images a lot easier, as opposed to shooting in the middle of the day, when the sun is at its highest point, contrast levels are high and the light very harsh.
  • Get up early, stay up late and you will be rewarded by Mother Nature every time

Tip 2: Weather

  • Chasing light isn’t all about the time of day as such, there are a few other factors to look for when heading out to capture some landscape imagery. Weather, and what the weather is doing can have a huge impact on your final images
  • Don’t be a fair-weather photographer
  • Get out into the elements, prepare for the elements, and get out into the weather
  • Rain, frost, storms, heat, dust, wind, and everything in between
  • Adding some dramatic weather will not only increase the interest in your images, it will also help create some amazing lighting.

Tip 3: Patience

  • As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait
  • Be prepared and get to your location ahead of time
  • Don’t rush yourself
  • Set up your camera, scope for the best compositions and angles
  • Landscapes change very quickly, they don’t wait for late comers
  • Shoot for and towards the light that captures your eye
  • The greatest photographers, like Tasmanian Peter Dombrowski, would walk for days throughout the Tasmanian wilderness, and set up a shot and wait for the exact right time to press his shutter – Patience
  • Stop, set up, wait, and wait some more to get that ideal image

Tip 4: Location

  • As they say, Location, Location, Location – it matters!
  • Good images come from being at good locations. Scout and take note of really cool photographic places in your journeys and then return when the time is right
  • Plan your trips be researching beforehand locations worthy of visiting
  • Look for big horizons, jagged mountains, big lakes, wild rivers, and dramatic landscapes to add value to your images
  • Return, and return again to locations until you get the shot you envisioned
  • Try and find new locations that haven’t been shot to death and posted online

Tip 5: Seasons

  • Every season offers its own unique light and weather opportunities
  • Winter for its dramatic snowscapes, Autumn for amazing colours and ripper sunsets, Spring for new flowerings and freshness and Summer for warm, dry scenes and epic storms
  • Allocate locations to each season as you come across them in your travels
  • It’s amazing to see how much scenes change season to season, use that to your image advantage
  • Use the natural colours of the seasons to your advantage in your images

Tips authored by Cam Blake

With a rugged beard, a low centre of gravity and an eagle eye for incredible photography Cam Blake was built for Taswegian wilderness photography. Cam is a big supporter of BFOP, founder of Tas Photo Festival and a guide for some of Australia’s most scenic photography trips!

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