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Thread: Landscape photographers - help needed

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    Egyptian Face's Avatar
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    Landscape photographers - help needed

    Good Morning Everyone ... from Egypt

    I am planning to travel to an oasis here in Egypt ... my first time to shoot in desert ... I need any help support about the camera settings i should have and any additional tools i can use to improve my photos .... i am afraid that this oasis is soo far away and i am not planning to go there again
    My Camera is Canon 550D

    Waiting ur help and thank u in advance

  2. #2
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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Egyptian Face View Post
    Good Morning Everyone ... from Egypt

    I am planning to travel to an oasis here in Egypt ... my first time to shoot in desert ... I need any help support about the camera settings i should have and any additional tools i can use to improve my photos .... i am afraid that this oasis is soo far away and i am not planning to go there again
    My Camera is Canon 550D

    Waiting ur help and thank u in advance
    Hi Sara

    A few comments if I may

    I usually use AV mode for landscape shots at least as a starting point. I also usually use an aperture setting of about f/11 as this gives a good depth of field for landscape shots. I'll take a shot in AV mode and then check the exposure on the camera histogram display (and also check for any blown highlights by looking for flashing sections of the display - see your 550D handbook). If necessary, adjust the exposure either by the exposure compensation button or by going to full manual control.

    I imagine the light would be fairly harsh in the desert so blown highlights need to be avoided as above. Also, it's probably preferrable to shoot in the early morning light where possible. A Circular Polarising Filter (CPL) may help as the light gets stronger - but I would try shooting with and without it because in my experience, it's hard to know whether it will improve things or not.

    For sunsets and sunrises, take a tripod and also you might think about getting some GND filters if your budget allows.

    That's about all I can think of for now but hopefully others can cover this more thoroughly.

    Dave

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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    As well as the technical aspects, which have been covered by Dave in his post, I suggest you could usefully spend some time in imagining the sorts of pictures you want to make. I acknowledge that you have not been there before so do not know details of the location. But you can imagine what it is going to look like and begin to create pictures in your mind. For example, do you 'see' pictures of wide open spaces, or is there a town or village at the oasis and do you 'see' more detailed street scenes and close-up shots of buildings.

    So, for me an important part of preparing to visit somewhere is to think what sort of photographs I will want to take.

  4. #4
    Egyptian Face's Avatar
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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    Quote Originally Posted by dje View Post
    Hi Sara

    A few comments if I may

    I usually use AV mode for landscape shots at least as a starting point. I also usually use an aperture setting of about f/11 as this gives a good depth of field for landscape shots. I'll take a shot in AV mode and then check the exposure on the camera histogram display (and also check for any blown highlights by looking for flashing sections of the display - see your 550D handbook). If necessary, adjust the exposure either by the exposure compensation button or by going to full manual control.

    I imagine the light would be fairly harsh in the desert so blown highlights need to be avoided as above. Also, it's probably preferrable to shoot in the early morning light where possible. A Circular Polarising Filter (CPL) may help as the light gets stronger - but I would try shooting with and without it because in my experience, it's hard to know whether it will improve things or not.

    For sunsets and sunrises, take a tripod and also you might think about getting some GND filters if your budget allows.

    That's about all I can think of for now but hopefully others can cover this more thoroughly.

    Dave

    Thank u soooo much Dave
    About the aperture is this a good value (i mean the range in Canon 550D is 5.6 to 22) and yes i know about this flashing sections ... i bought a CPL and i will try it today before i go there but people said that the polarizer may affect the sharpeness as i know

    Regarding GND filters ... i don't know i can see grades but i can't understand the difference like 4, 8 , ... etc

    What about the HDR?

    Thank u Dave for your kindly support

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    Egyptian Face's Avatar
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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    As well as the technical aspects, which have been covered by Dave in his post, I suggest you could usefully spend some time in imagining the sorts of pictures you want to make. I acknowledge that you have not been there before so do not know details of the location. But you can imagine what it is going to look like and begin to create pictures in your mind. For example, do you 'see' pictures of wide open spaces, or is there a town or village at the oasis and do you 'see' more detailed street scenes and close-up shots of buildings.

    So, for me an important part of preparing to visit somewhere is to think what sort of photographs I will want to take.
    Well Donald, you are totally right ... i am trying to read about the place and google for some photos to gain some views for shots ... wish me luck

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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    Hi Sara,
    One detail which may sound trivial: if you really travel in the desert, do not forget that dust and sand are the ennemy which can ruin your camera. My suggestion would be that you use an all around zoom lens so you don't need changing lenses and expose the inside of your camera to dust and grit.
    Regards,
    Guy.

  7. #7
    Egyptian Face's Avatar
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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    Quote Originally Posted by gpzt View Post
    Hi Sara,
    One detail which may sound trivial: if you really travel in the desert, do not forget that dust and sand are the ennemy which can ruin your camera. My suggestion would be that you use an all around zoom lens so you don't need changing lenses and expose the inside of your camera to dust and grit.
    Regards,
    Guy.
    Thanks Guy in real i think i will use a wide lens almost the time but indeed u r right too

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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    I'm envious - I'd love to shoot in Egypt ! My 2P.

    Use a zoom lens - its easier to frame your shots. My personal preference is NOT to use GND's - I actually own a set but don't use them any more. Instead take 2 exposures and combine them in Photoshop or any one of a number of PP apps. To get your exposures right use your camera as a light meter - set it to your chosen aperture (F8 or F11 are good starting points) set the metering mode to spot and then meter the scene & note the exposures - I try to minimize the number of shots I take - 2 is often enough - but meter the parts of the scene you want to emphasis & note the exposures for each part. Next set your camera to manual mode and set the aperture to the same aperture that you metered with and then take your shots, varying the speed of the exposure to match the speed you obtained when metering. To delineate each set of exposures shoot your finger - its often hard to remember what goes with what. Its pretty easy to find a tutorial on the web on how to combine the exposures in Photoshop. To combine exposures in an HDR program look at SNS HDR - its very easy to use and gives natural looking results.

    A good tripod is a good investment for a landscape photographer - don't skimp - its a good investment.

    Lastly its important to know what you are going to shoot before you go to the location, good light is available for a short period of time during each end of the day so its important not to waste time looking for a location & setting up your shots - find your locations and compositions before you go to shoot.

    Good luck !

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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    Quote Originally Posted by escaladieu View Post
    I'm envious - I'd love to shoot in Egypt ! My 2P.

    Use a zoom lens - its easier to frame your shots. My personal preference is NOT to use GND's - I actually own a set but don't use them any more. Instead take 2 exposures and combine them in Photoshop or any one of a number of PP apps. To get your exposures right use your camera as a light meter - set it to your chosen aperture (F8 or F11 are good starting points) set the metering mode to spot and then meter the scene & note the exposures - I try to minimize the number of shots I take - 2 is often enough - but meter the parts of the scene you want to emphasis & note the exposures for each part. Next set your camera to manual mode and set the aperture to the same aperture that you metered with and then take your shots, varying the speed of the exposure to match the speed you obtained when metering. To delineate each set of exposures shoot your finger - its often hard to remember what goes with what. Its pretty easy to find a tutorial on the web on how to combine the exposures in Photoshop. To combine exposures in an HDR program look at SNS HDR - its very easy to use and gives natural looking results.

    A good tripod is a good investment for a landscape photographer - don't skimp - its a good investment.

    Lastly its important to know what you are going to shoot before you go to the location, good light is available for a short period of time during each end of the day so its important not to waste time looking for a location & setting up your shots - find your locations and compositions before you go to shoot.

    Good luck !

    Envious!! ... Hope that u r giving me the right support

    In real i don't have GND filters ... as long as i am not looking to get long shutter in the evening What about the polarizer filter? but in real i can't understand the light metering issue "meter the scene?!" i know about the aperture ok to be F8 - F11 and change the metering mode to spot .... then i am lost

    i have a good tripod yes
    I am trying to do so and get some ideas like ( panaromas + HDR + Portraits + long shutter + Star Trails) but i am afraid that i won't be able to get good results especially in HDR ... and the sharpeness of photos and the sky look

    Thank a lot Jeff
    Wish to see u soon in Egypt u r the most welcomed Jeff

  10. #10
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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    Hi Jeff !
    I hardly ever use my 10-20 mm zoom any more and prefer to follow the technique you suggest. The older I become the lighter I like to travel. Post processing allows me to make "ultra wide angle" images with my 18-200 mm zoom and I don't carry my GND filters any more. So many corrections can be brought through PP that a good tripod is the only thing I take along, together with my 105 macro.
    Best regards
    Guy

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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    I see a lot comments on using a circular polarizer. One thing I would mention is that they do not work very well with super wide angle lenses. I don't know if you have one or not in the 10-18mm range, but they will vignette like crazy due to the wide angle. What lenses will you be bringing on this trip?

    I'm jealous too... I have always wanted to visit Egypt and see the Giza Plateau... among other things.

  12. #12
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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    Quote Originally Posted by gpzt View Post
    Hi Jeff !
    I hardly ever use my 10-20 mm zoom any more and prefer to follow the technique you suggest. The older I become the lighter I like to travel. Post processing allows me to make "ultra wide angle" images with my 18-200 mm zoom and I don't carry my GND filters any more. So many corrections can be brought through PP that a good tripod is the only thing I take along, together with my 105 macro.
    Best regards
    Guy
    Well Guy ... thx God i don't have GND i can see everyone is against
    The question is why it is better to use the zoom lens than the wide one?
    Thx Guy

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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Momo View Post
    I see a lot comments on using a circular polarizer. One thing I would mention is that they do not work very well with super wide angle lenses. I don't know if you have one or not in the 10-18mm range, but they will vignette like crazy due to the wide angle. What lenses will you be bringing on this trip?

    I'm jealous too... I have always wanted to visit Egypt and see the Giza Plateau... among other things.
    Darren ... okay i have just 2 lens : 18-55mm and 55-250mm ... in real i am willing to use the wide one ... so what do u think?

    U r the most welcome to EGypt .... I wish to see u there Hope that u can come one day

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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    Hi Sara, one of the planning activities that will often benefit your use of time while you are in a location that you have not previously visited is to see if you can get any detail using Google Earth. It may not show you much for an oasis but for more populated areas the detail can be really useful in locating shooting locations and subjects. This is particularly useful for locating things of interest that are hidden from view at ground level.

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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    Sara,

    I have not visited Egypt but, I have shot fairly extensively in the deserts of the USA and here are some of the things which I have learned. I am sure that much of this is quite basic but, I have just included a group of random thoughts some of which I hope might be helpful.

    The time of day (as well as the time of year but, even more so, the time of day) is extremely critical due to the angle of the sun. Often mid-day shots are not as interesting as morning or afternoon shots. However, mornings can be quite different from afternoons. Unless you can find some information in books or on the Internet, you will only know which is best for your particular location after visiting it. Prepere do do some early and late shooting.

    Although many photographers will automatically select a wide or ultra-wide lens for landscapes; do not count out longer focal length lenses. They often will give a more interesting view by being able to select certain portions of the landscape (cropping in the camera) and long lenses can compress distances. When using an ultra wide lens, it is quite often best to include a significant foreground object (rock, plant, etc.) to give a feeling of depth. If possible, framing your image with foliage, etc. also provides a feeling of depth. If shooting with a longer focal length lens, shooting a several frame pano will often provide the coverage left to right that you need.

    IMO, lens hoods are absolutely essential in this type of photography. However, I always use lens hoods for all types of shooting. A rain umbrella can often be used to shade your camera and lens (and yourself) from the sun.

    I personally like circular polarizing filters for desert work because the landscape is often comprised of rocks and sand which are reflective. Reducing or eliminating the reflections will often provide more interesting texture/colors. A CPL can, if the angle of the sun is correct, darken the skies which will both improve the colors and accentuate whetever clouds are visible. The CPL can also reduce the dynamic exposure range between skies and foreground to a ratio more easily captured by the sensor. However, if you are using a UWA lens, a CPL will sometimes give uneven polarization across the frame.

    A tripod is a wonderful addition to any landscape work. Shooting around f/11 of so will often provide the best quality imagery.

    Canon DSLR cameras are capable of Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) and when you have selected AEB and are in burst mode, the camera will shoot 3-shots at different exposures and then stop shooting. If I were in any area in which I would not expect to return, and which might have difficult exposure problems, I would definitely opt for AEB, at 1-stop intervals, to ensure that I nailed the exposure. I would always opt for Aperture Priority exposure because that way my f/stop would stay the same and only the shutter speed would change. The three frames exposed in this fashion would also be appropriate for High Dynamic Range Imagery (HDRI) which will often be a great way to even out the exposure in a high dynamic range subject (those with deep shadows and bright highlights).

    I would either use a remote release for my camera or shoot using the time delay which will reduce/eliminate any camera movement caused by tripping the shutter. If I were working with a solid tripod, I would not worry about mirror lock-up unless shooting at some very slow shutter speeds or with very long lenses.

    Finally, protecting your camera/lens is critical in desert photography. Winds often blow sand which will cause havoc with your equipment. I always carry some sort of a camera cover. The OPTECH Rainsleeve is great but a plastic bag can also work. Combine this with a lens hood and a protective filter and you will keep your camera safe. Selecting a zoom lens will reduce the need to change lenses in the field and help keep your sensor clean.

    Many photographers use graduated neutral density (GND) filters. These can allow you to shoot a single exposure which will be correct for both sky and foreground.

    BTW: it goes without saying that protective headgear, sunglasses and an adequate supply of water is mandatory. High-top boots or shoes often will protect your feet from hot sand and sharp rocks.

    Finally, it is sometimes beneficial to use flash fill if you are shooting subjects close to the camera.

  16. #16
    Egyptian Face's Avatar
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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Hi Sara, one of the planning activities that will often benefit your use of time while you are in a location that you have not previously visited is to see if you can get any detail using Google Earth. It may not show you much for an oasis but for more populated areas the detail can be really useful in locating shooting locations and subjects. This is particularly useful for locating things of interest that are hidden from view at ground level.
    Thank u so much Frank ... I will try the google earth

  17. #17
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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    @ Guy. That 10-20 is a pretty specialised lens - there seems to be a misconception that an ultra wide is essential for landscapes - I find myself shooting max 24mm most of the time, and often take landscape shots at 50mm, 85mm and above. A 24-120 "street zoom" will fill most requirements. The ultra wide is good in some landscape situations however. I use either a 28-300 or a 24-120 70-300 combo & carry extension tubes instead of the 105 macro.

    regards

    Jeff
    Last edited by escaladieu; 11th April 2012 at 07:13 AM.

  18. #18
    Egyptian Face's Avatar
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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Sara,

    I have not visited Egypt but, I have shot fairly extensively in the deserts of the USA and here are some of the things which I have learned. I am sure that much of this is quite basic but, I have just included a group of random thoughts some of which I hope might be helpful.

    The time of day (as well as the time of year but, even more so, the time of day) is extremely critical due to the angle of the sun. Often mid-day shots are not as interesting as morning or afternoon shots. However, mornings can be quite different from afternoons. Unless you can find some information in books or on the Internet, you will only know which is best for your particular location after visiting it. Prepere do do some early and late shooting.

    Although many photographers will automatically select a wide or ultra-wide lens for landscapes; do not count out longer focal length lenses. They often will give a more interesting view by being able to select certain portions of the landscape (cropping in the camera) and long lenses can compress distances. When using an ultra wide lens, it is quite often best to include a significant foreground object (rock, plant, etc.) to give a feeling of depth. If possible, framing your image with foliage, etc. also provides a feeling of depth. If shooting with a longer focal length lens, shooting a several frame pano will often provide the coverage left to right that you need.

    IMO, lens hoods are absolutely essential in this type of photography. However, I always use lens hoods for all types of shooting. A rain umbrella can often be used to shade your camera and lens (and yourself) from the sun.

    I personally like circular polarizing filters for desert work because the landscape is often comprised of rocks and sand which are reflective. Reducing or eliminating the reflections will often provide more interesting texture/colors. A CPL can, if the angle of the sun is correct, darken the skies which will both improve the colors and accentuate whetever clouds are visible. The CPL can also reduce the dynamic exposure range between skies and foreground to a ratio more easily captured by the sensor. However, if you are using a UWA lens, a CPL will sometimes give uneven polarization across the frame.

    A tripod is a wonderful addition to any landscape work. Shooting around f/11 of so will often provide the best quality imagery.

    Canon DSLR cameras are capable of Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) and when you have selected AEB and are in burst mode, the camera will shoot 3-shots at different exposures and then stop shooting. If I were in any area in which I would not expect to return, and which might have difficult exposure problems, I would definitely opt for AEB, at 1-stop intervals, to ensure that I nailed the exposure. I would always opt for Aperture Priority exposure because that way my f/stop would stay the same and only the shutter speed would change. The three frames exposed in this fashion would also be appropriate for High Dynamic Range Imagery (HDRI) which will often be a great way to even out the exposure in a high dynamic range subject (those with deep shadows and bright highlights).

    I would either use a remote release for my camera or shoot using the time delay which will reduce/eliminate any camera movement caused by tripping the shutter. If I were working with a solid tripod, I would not worry about mirror lock-up unless shooting at some very slow shutter speeds or with very long lenses.

    Finally, protecting your camera/lens is critical in desert photography. Winds often blow sand which will cause havoc with your equipment. I always carry some sort of a camera cover. The OPTECH Rainsleeve is great but a plastic bag can also work. Combine this with a lens hood and a protective filter and you will keep your camera safe. Selecting a zoom lens will reduce the need to change lenses in the field and help keep your sensor clean.

    Many photographers use graduated neutral density (GND) filters. These can allow you to shoot a single exposure which will be correct for both sky and foreground.

    BTW: it goes without saying that protective headgear, sunglasses and an adequate supply of water is mandatory. High-top boots or shoes often will protect your feet from hot sand and sharp rocks.

    Finally, it is sometimes beneficial to use flash fill if you are shooting subjects close to the camera.
    Thank uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much Richard ... it was really very useful for me thanks a lot for your time and your kind support <3 ... Wish me luck

  19. #19
    DavidM's Avatar
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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    I'm not qualified to give advice, this just a quote I like, from Fred Williams, the Australian painter:

    "To see the desert is like peeling the skin off a landscape."

    Good luck

  20. #20
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    Re: Landscape photographers - help needed

    The only thing I'd add to the excellent advice above is have a look at The Photographer's Ephemeris -

    http://photoephemeris.com/

    It is free to download for PCs and Macs and shows the direction of the rising and setting sun (and moon) for any day in any location.

    I find it very useful when planning landscape shots.

    Dave

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