Photography is more than just art and expression. As they say, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’, photographs capture a moment that is gone forever and impossible to recreate. Only the essence of that moment is captured and framed in a matter of milliseconds.
Every photographer needs a subject and object of interest to take a picture. When it comes to nature photography, the landscape to be captured is the subject matter and everything included within are objects of interest that capture your attention. The natural world offers many opportunities to capture some amazing moments. Most photographers prefer landscapes when it comes to nature photography.
Before you can figure out the best way to take a picture, you must understand your camera equipment. It may not be possible to carry multiple lenses, tripod supports, and extensive camera gear to remote and difficult to access locations. No doubt, a breathtaking landscape will certainly put your photography skills to the test to capture the best possible result.
Consider the following points if you are just starting out as a wildlife photographer.
The devil is in the detail
Often, vast landscapes with breathtaking views and color combinations will capture your fancy. But you might miss wonderful little occurrences that can be seen only through a powerful camera lens. Always carry a good zoom lens with macro settings that will allow you to take close up shots and focus on the minute details of the landscape.
Use a professional grade camera
A Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) will serve your purpose better when it comes to professional nature photography. You will be familiar with various camera components like the shutter, aperture, and ISO settings for light sensitivity. However, it is important to practice with different combinations of the components to yield the best possible results out in the wild. The final output will also depend on factors like histogram settings, perspective, depth of field, and lighting modes inbuilt with the components.
Understand important camera settings
Even as an amateur photographer you must know camera settings better than the back of your hand. This will allow you to make quick adjustments while taking a picture to produce quality photos. Always take pictures in a RAW (uncompressed) format using a low ISO setting. A low ISO will allow natural light to compensate for the default settings with the aperture and shutter speed of any professional grade camera.
Patience is key
Photography is not for those who are impatient. Before you can even take a photograph, you have to find your object of interest. Even finding the perfect landscape to capture in a single frame will be pointless if you end up taking the picture with improper natural light and settings. It is difficult to control the elements out in the wild which is why you must adjust camera settings accordingly and wait for the right moment to click a picture.
Know the basics of capturing a frame
If you know all the camera settings, then you are off to a great start. However, knowing the settings is just one part of the spectrum and is not as challenging as composing a frame. Factors like the depth of field, the type of camera lens, internal and external filters, the rule of thirds, foreground and background elements, prime focus areas, etc. are all basics you must be familiar with to capture a decent frame. You must be able to creatively manipulate the settings to achieve desired results that translate into a stunning frame, capturing the very essence of the subject matter.
Some standard settings will provide you with a base for making adjustments until you find the right frame and moment to capture the beautiful landscape. It is advisable to use autofocus in a continuous servo mode to capture rapid moving objects. Do not blindly rely on the image preview as the histogram will provide a better preview of the primary colors that make up the image. The histogram will reflect perfect color tones of the image and is a handy tool used to compose a frame. A small aperture setting in the range of f/16 and f/22 will allow you to create depth of field to keep objects in the foreground and background sharp.
Patience and practice will allow you to develop and hone vital skills you must possess to become a professional photographer. The learning curve is slow and continuous but is definitely worth the time and effort spent to capture that one magical shot.