How to do outdoor photography – or at least, how to try! (Part 2)

If you missed reading Part 1, check that out first.

Wait for the decisive moment

Wait for the decisive moment

NOTE: This is one opinion on the subject. Other people have different theories – I change things up too, considering how varied situations can be.

 

Most importantly, know whether you’re out for photos or out for activity. If it’s photos – great – take your time and go at the time of day that best suits the images you want to make. If you’re mainly out for hiking, climbing, biking etc, do that and take what photos you can. You’ll probably be out in the middle of the day and light might not be great. That’s OK – if you are expecting it.

Sometimes, just getting to the top is enough for a great shot

Sometimes, just getting to the top is enough for a great shot

Take a moment to choose the right view point - the first place you stand is rarely the best place

Take a moment to choose the right view point – the first place you stand is rarely the best place

Scenario One: let’s assume you are out hiking and want some “memory shots”. This ends up being my main MO, hoping to get passably good holiday pics. Here goes:

Take a camera you can run with (you never know when you’ll get left behind!) and one lens. No time to change lenses and fiddle around! Here are my recommended gear configurations:

  1. If you want to be ready for any shooting situation (landscape one shot – animal pictures the next) take an all in one lens that goes from wide to long – just know that image quality will (quite likely) not be stellar.
  2. If you want excellent IQ, take a prime lens (one focal length) and have in your head what shots you want: wide angle landscapes and “location” portraits mean you will need a 24, 28 or 35mm lens. Details or tighter shots? Take an 85mm or a macro lens.
  3. If you are He-Man (or She-Ra) take two bodies, each with a different focal range, like a 16-35mm and a 70-200mm. Not recommended for this scenario, unless you really want excellent photos and a good hike with friends and you are fit and strong.
  4. Bonus option: Lately I have been using my newly acquired iPhone 6 to good effect. IQ is pretty darn good, focal length is fixed but useful (esp. with the panorama mode) and I can really run with it!

Point here is you generally have choices to make – wide, long, portable, or are you willing (and able) to run with two cameras attached to your body (you don’t have them hidden in a pack, I hope!)

Being able to zoom in allows details to be recorded

Being able to zoom in allows details to be recorded

Remember to capture moments that show who you're travelling with

Remember to capture moments that show who you’re travelling with

Having a camera with you, always, means you're able to capture fleeting moments. This tent was just set up on the track (where it should not have been) but it looked cool.

Having a camera with you, always, means you’re able to capture fleeting moments. This tent was just set up on the track (where it should not have been) but it looked cool.

Don't be afraid to edit your shots, so that they reflect your vision

Don’t be afraid to edit your shots, so that they reflect your vision

 

Scenario Two: let’s assume you are going hiking so that you can take excellent photos. This is actually easier. Kind of.

You will not need to cater for the pace that other people are setting, so you can take exactly the gear you need / want and you can take your  time.

  1. You will (you should!) have a destination or landmark in mind
  2. You will (you should!) have a shot list planned and
  3. You will (you should!) have a time of day/month/season/year for everything to come together.
When the light is right...

When the light is right…

A little HDR goes a long way - sometimes a bit far...

A little HDR goes a long way – sometimes a bit far…

All that’s left is to pack your gear and go. Oh, and to know how to take awesome pictures! Let’s leave that for next time…meanwhile, here’s a few extra pics to tide you over:

Quick, where's my camera?

Quick, where’s my camera?

This guy  scared the pants off me when he scuttled up the branch. Then I shot him (with my camera:P)

This guy scared the pants off me when he scuttled up the branch. Then I shot him (with my camera:P)

Having the ability to focus close can yield great results

Having the ability to focus close can yield great results

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