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Industrial landscape photography

Industrial landscape photography - Landscapes don't just have to be about trees and hills.

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Category : Landscape and Travel
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Think of traditional landscape photographs and smoking chimneys, power plants, cement factories and oil refineries aren't the first thing that springs to mind, but these unlikely places can in fact be the perfect locations for landscape shots with an edge. Of course, the sort of sites we have just mentioned are heavy industrial sites and there are many other aspects of industry to consider.

Gear
For any number of reasons including healthy and safety, you won't be allowed access to most industrial sites so you will have to shoot from off-site. This might mean you'll need a telephoto zoom lens but wide-angles can be useful too.

A polariser, neutral density and UV filter are always handy to have. If you want to shoot early or late on in the day, a tripod is advised but you probably won't need one most of time.
Industrial landscapes
Photo by Camairish.

Technique
You can use buildings and other man-made structures compositionally in the same way other landscape photographers use trees and rolling hills. Wind farms, harbours, cement works, power stations, quarries, pylons and building sites are just a few of the industrial landscapes you can photograph. You can find them by simply opening your eyes and looking as you drive around.

If you want to shoot something like a power station, check the relevant OS map to see where the public right of ways are around the subject you want to photograph. Make sure you walk along the path and don't stop at the first fantastic vantage point you find. The lighting for such scenes is important so don't waste your time it the lighting is flat and dull.

A lot of industrial places are huge so try zooming in to frame a particular part such as the chimneys to create an interesting shot then zoom out to capture a wider vista that has the whole factory in the wider scene. Cooling towers and other larger chimneys work well silhouetted in low light and if you have a group of them place them slightly off-centre to create a more aesthetically pleasing shot. As with mountains and hills, mist looks great round the base of tall industrial buildings and for this shot you'll need an early start and try positioning yourself so the light hits the side of the building, emphasising shapes and patterns.


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