Hi Kathy, I like the first one best because there is an interesting subject (mountains) and an equally interesting foreground treeline and lake) to complement it.
In the second one, the subject (mountains) are equally interesting to me and the more dramatic sky offers a better backdrop. Unfortunately, the foreground doesn't have the same degree of colorful detail and sweeping lines provided by the trees and water.
The second one could provide an outstanding background for a foreground subject such as a horse and rider?
#1 is a really lovely shot.
Very nice!! Beautiful scenery
I like the 'panoramic crop' compositions on these.
On the first shot, two things puzzle me - the trees look quite 'smudgy' (to use the technical term!) and I wondered why.
That led me to look at the EXIF data which revealed; 22mm, 1/200s, f/6.3 and iso 200
So the 'smudgy' probably isn't wind blur of the moving branches and I am therefore wondering if you are shooting jpg and perhaps don't have it on the Fine/highest quality setting? Because this is what I get with the jpgs from my non-DSLR cameras on dark detail like this.
The other odd thing, as revealed in the EXIF data, was that the flash fired.
Now I suspect this was because you shot in Full Auto mode - and with much of the shot not sunlit, the camera decided to use the flash, it not being smart enough to see the subject was too far away!
One of the first things I did with my D5000 is set the flash manually to OFF, that avoids it popping up whenever it feels like it. Having the flash firing when not wanted will also cause unexpected things to happen to your shutter speed - it won't go above 1/200s when sometimes it needs to.
I also think you need to progress to at least say, Aperture priority semi-auto, so you are in control of something else - Depth of Field, granted, not a big issue on this shot that's mostly infinity, but it's a start
Hope that helps,
In addition to the other comments...
In the first one, if you have the post-processing skills to eliminate the vignette (probably caused by your lens) in the top corners of the first image, doing so will improve the image.
In the second one, try backing off on the saturation in the left area of the sky.
Dave asked if you are shooting JPEG files that are not "Fine/highest quality." I appreciate that things could be confusing, especially considering all of the options that are available to you, but I think it's important that you attend to that issue. You might not be aware (understandably so) that the the two settings that you mentioned don't have anything to do with your JPEG setting.
That's actually pretty easy to sort out once you understand the reasoning, so I'll offer some help.I can't wait until the day when I can look at a landscape and know exactly what settings to use!
I recommend that you shoot either RAW or the best quality JPEGs that your camera produces when shooting landscapes. If your reason for not shooting RAW with your point-and-shoot is the lag time to wait to shoot again, that should not be an issue with landscapes. On the other hand if you want to shoot the largest and best quality JPEGs, that should be okay also for now, at least until you progress to a particular need to shoot RAW.
I also recommend that you shoot in Aperture Priority mode. Doing so, you'll be able to control the aperture, and thus, the depth of field and sharpness to suit your needs. Most landscapes beg for an immense depth of field and sharpness. That's especially true of your two images.
When using any lens, an aperture that is approximately in the middle of the available settings on your lens will probably be the sharpest. That's usually f/5.6 - f/8. Happily, that range of aperture settings will also provide you with immense depth of field in a typical landscape with any focal length, assuming the subject is a long distance from the camera.
The only thing you then need to be concerned about is the shutter speed and only if it is windy. You want to be sure to stop the action of the leaves blowing in the wind. If that becomes an issue, I recommend cranking up the ISO a bit to achieve a faster shutter speed of about 1/500 (only needed if it's really windy) rather than using a larger aperture. That's because using a larger aperture might decrease sharpness a tad.
All of these ideas are generalities, so I'll suggest a summary of landscape settings to serve at least as a starting point: Aperture Priority, f/8, shutter at 1/500 if it's really windy. Start with the lowest available ISO and increase it only if you need a faster shutter speed. RAW or the largest, best quality JPEGs.
Last edited by Mike Buckley; 27th June 2012 at 02:40 AM.
Last edited by Kathy O; 27th June 2012 at 02:46 AM.