A Landscape Photo Shoot Deconstructed

I’ve often admired some of the best photographers that have shared their technique for those that wish to learn the craft.  Chase Jarvis is a classic example of this approach.  He is not only an incredible photographer, he doesn’t hold back in trying to make you one as well.  This entry follows that philosophy and it shares with you how I created the photo included in my last blog post using a minimalist’s approach.  I had family in town who wanted to see one of the famed Lake Huron sunsets and I was only too happy to play tour guide.  My SLR made the trip too.  I admit to falling into the trap of needing all of my gear (a future post as well so stay tuned) but I decided to travel lightly and see what the evening had to offer.  No filters, no tripod, no shutter remote and only 1 lens.  Sounds like a photographer’s nightmare!

If you were to ask me for advice, Step 1 to get you out of snap shots and into creating photographs would be to include a foreground (right Trish!).  As we were walking along the beach these rocks presented themselves as the ideal opportunity to see what we could do with the camera.

Step 2 of creating good landscape photographs could be slower shutter speeds and see what cool effects you can create with the incoming waves.  I tried something reasonably risky for my 24-105mm lens and I set the camera down on the beach.  Not recommended for those that get queasy if their gear gets a scratch (or in this case the possibility of sand in the lens).  If I could get a mulligan, next time I would grab my GorillaPOD tripod which is easy to carry around if you want to travel lightly…it would have saved a few sand grains bouncing around in my focus ring!

You’ll see that I had to place a small twig underneath the camera help level the horizon since we left the house so quickly I still had my tripod plate on the bottom.  You’ll also see the benefit of having Liveview on your SLR.  Even though it looks awkward getting these types of shots even with Liveview, constantly looking through the viewfinder and trying to time the waves is even harder!  The second key to gear minimalism is using the 2 second timer so that pushing the shutter button doesn’t introduce shake (which makes for blurry images).  Included below are a few of the (mis)takes and then my favorite that received the 5 star rating.  The final shot has minimal processing with Aperture (cropping, S Curve) but no filters or HDR processing.  I can’t remember if I had a circular polarizer on the lens (which I usually do on the 24-105mm since its my walkabout lens) but I definitely didn’t have any ND grad filters.

Here are 2 misses on the shoot, 1) the rocks were covered by the waves taking out an interesting part of the composition and 2) The rocks were placed in the middle making a static composition

Here is the final image that I liked the best and ‘might’ be for sale on the main site in mid July! Note that the horizon is not in the dead center of the frame and neither are the rocks which will force the eye to search for more within the frame.

I hope this helps your photo shoots.

You can Like me on Facebook for all the updates or head to the main page of the blog and enter your email address to be included on the email list.  As always, full resolution photos can be viewed and purchased at www.finnerphotography.com.



PS, My brother Chris took the photos of the camera setup and me working the scene with RIM’s Playbook.  Looks like RIM included a decent camera!

3 thoughts on “A Landscape Photo Shoot Deconstructed

  1. Wow Jay…You just keep getting better and better. This is a real tribute to your eye for perception of the detail!
    Incredible the way you can capture the dimension of beauty.

  2. Thanks for the tips. My 14 year old daughter is just getting into photography & wants to do a seaside photo shoot during her Spring holiday. (It’s just coming into Spring here in Australia.) I’m sending this on to her.

  3. Thanks for dropping by Kathy and commenting, I’m glad to help out where I can. Its a very fun hobby and sharing is the one of the best parts of the process. You can ask any questions you wish I can help out either by email, on the Facebook page so perhaps more can see the question/answers!

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