I'm losing heart, help me


Fishnet 15 5.0k 5 United Kingdom
31 Dec 2008 12:26AM
So, I'm living in beautiful countryside and seaside land now and landscapes are pretty much on the menu, but I am crap at them.

I can't get my exposure right, I don't have the right lenses (I think), they look good on the camera then I get home and on the PC they look mediocre and nothing.

How come everything around me looks beautiful but when I photograph it it looks boring?

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pennyspike 16 2.1k 29 United Kingdom
31 Dec 2008 12:38AM
What time of day are you out with your camera Anna?
I can't do lansdcapes either and I think the main reason is I'm not dedicated enough to find the right light.
Console yourself with the knowledge that your self-portraits are anything but boring and maybe try to get to a landscape meet and learn from others. If there isn't one in the offing why not start the ball rolling?
All the best for 2009
Penny
Snapper Plus
15 4.4k 3 United States Outlying Islands
31 Dec 2008 12:41AM
One of the things about Nikon DSLRs is that they tend to show a well-exposed shot on playback even when the shot itself is over or under exposed. The histogram is your friend here Anna, and you might find yourself using it more often than in other types of photography. I don't know all the lenses you have, but your portfolio suggests you have lenses that will cover quite a few types of landscape. Just keep at it, since it is almost free with digital!
Slippery_Jim 12 597 England
31 Dec 2008 12:49AM
Don't get disheartened, landscape photography takes time, patience and practice, choose a place that you want to photograph, keep a weather eye open and revisit under different conditions.

This isn`t meant so much as advice but more as encouragement, and I've had a few beers too...
tepot 15 4.4k United Kingdom
31 Dec 2008 2:01AM

Quote:So, I'm living in beautiful countryside and seaside land now and landscapes are pretty much on the menu, but I am crap at them.

I can't get my exposure right, I don't have the right lenses (I think), they look good on the camera then I get home and on the PC they look mediocre and nothing.

How come everything around me looks beautiful but when I photograph it it looks boring?



Your problems are exactly why i gave landscape up, i found i reached a level that i just couldn't improve on and it was nowhere as good as some images i have seen from other people on here, i got tired of spending money on petrol running around different places only to find the weather didn't co operate and i came home with nothing far too often, you have to be there at the right time, just when the light is right, it is way too frustrating for me so i am looking at another genre of photography, in fact the only good thing about landscape was that it got me out of the house for a few hours.....lol
Franticsmurf 17 837 Wales
31 Dec 2008 7:30AM
It's worth persevering. You have to figure out what it is about each photo that you're not happy with and then try experimenting to change that. For example, if you're not happy with the exposure, composition and lens, start with the exposure and get that right. Then move on to the composition and once that's cracked, try different focal lengths. There are a few 'rules' - rule of thirds, wide angle lens for landscape etc - but these are just your starting points.

You could also look for other photos of places in your area and have a go at copying them (horror!). See what makes them tick and apply it to your own photography. You'll develop your own style and move on but it's another good starting point.

As has been said in other comments above, patience and practice is the key.

I've had a quick look at your portfolio and it seems to me to be a case of minor tweaks rather than major changes.

Dave
DaveU 13 1.4k 125 England
31 Dec 2008 7:59AM
Well I'm no landscape tog but it seems to me that the important elements are light, composition and location in that order. With light then you're either lucky or a "pro" who goes to the same spot over and over again till he gets the light he wants. Composition you can learn and it sounds like location is'nt a problem to you.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the "good" landscapes we see on EPZ have a fair amount of post-processing work too. I'd love to see some of the top landscapers load the original out of camera shot as a version to the final image.

You could do worse than look through keithh's, sut68's etc PF's to see how they handle composition. You can learn a lot about what works and what does'nt that way.
PatriciaWilson 15 615 58 Greece
31 Dec 2008 7:59AM
Heart breaking to give up landscape photography!

The view through the viewfinder can be spectacular, and even with all the right settings the monitor view is often disappointing. HANG-ON-IN!

Light is the essence of all good landscapes, so timing is crucial.
Don't make my Early mistake of shooting on say f32, bring it back and focus just before your subject, or even take multiple shots of foreground, middle ground and background and merge them.

Use filters, a polarizer and a grad are essential bits of landscape kit.

Experiment in PS (or whatever you use). Try for a subdued image, then realistic colours, then take everything to the hilt. compare the results and experiment.

Skies can make or break a landscape so build a sky library, with lots of ordinary skies as well as the outstanding, and always take a separate shot of the sky when you have that great landscape safely in camera.

Wear sunglasses, even at sunrise and in winter, to see what your camera will see with a filter on.

Put an ePz meet on and encourage other local members to come along. you will get lots of help, advice, and make new friends with the same interests as yourself.

Listen to everyones advice, but don't take it as gospel (mine too), experiment and make your own judgments.

Good luck!
P,X
PatriciaWilson 15 615 58 Greece
31 Dec 2008 8:24AM
Sorry, had a power cut and had to go.

Also, allow modifications and post the original shot in versions. I learned more from this than anything else, some of the mods where so inspiring.

Wish I hadn't taken that earlier work off now.
Paintman Plus
13 1.3k 177 United Kingdom
31 Dec 2008 8:35AM
Don't be discouraged, I think it's a case of adjusting to a new genre of photography. It's never easy as you probably have to think in a slightly different way than you're used to.

I would suggest using a wide angle lens for starters, the Sigma 10-20mm comes to mind here as it's relatively cheap and is a very good lens.

A tripod is fairly essential for sunrise and sunset shots as it gives greater creative freedom. You can use long shutter speeds to show the drama and path of the water running through rocks, etc. Also it helps to take at least two photos of the same scene, one exposed for the sky, the other exposed for the beach and blend the best of both into one image. This will help with the problem of duff exposures. Graduated ND filters are another way of balancing the exposure of the sky and land together. This has the problem of making anything that protrudes above the filter line darker than it should be.

Try to find something of interest in the f/g, mid-ground and b/g and compose around these elements. For the f/g even a puddle of water with a rock in it, or a knackered old buoy can be used to add interest. Try to leave out as much as you can and simplify the composition to start with until you're more familiar with landscape.

If you can, use lead-in lines to add a sense of dramatic perspective to the image. Also get down low for a few shots to see how your view point changes the emphasis on the f/g and other compositional elements.

You can copy and paste the addresses below into your address bar to see examples of some of the suggestions I've made. This list is only a sample of seascapes I could find in a short time that illustrate different points and many more can be found.

Regards, Alan.

https://www.ephotozine.com/photo/476395

https://www.ephotozine.com/photo/521456

https://www.ephotozine.com/u37544/gallery/1077635

https://www.ephotozine.com/u37544/gallery/1006590

https://www.ephotozine.com/u37544/gallery/867948

https://www.ephotozine.com/u37544/gallery/877098

https://www.ephotozine.com/photo/848398

https://www.ephotozine.com/u51725/gallery/858905

https://www.ephotozine.com/u29257/gallery/508390
ZenTog 18 7.9k 1 England
31 Dec 2008 9:11AM
I also have tried landscapes unless it got some moving through it 60mph I cant do them either, my landscapes have to havea human interest for me to be interestred at all, like others have said try something totally different, do some out door modeling, take some pretty gurls to the beach and photograph them nude
Fishnet 15 5.0k 5 United Kingdom
31 Dec 2008 9:33AM

Quote:I also have tried landscapes unless it got some moving through it 60mph I cant do them either, my landscapes have to havea human interest for me to be interestred at all, like others have said try something totally different, do some out door modeling, take some pretty gurls to the beach and photograph them nude


You wouldn't be coming at this from an entirely selfish angle would you ? Wink


Thanks for all the advice everyone.
I'm really limited as to where and when I go anywhere as I don't drive so rely on the Mr to take me and then of course the whole tribe has to come which is very frustrating.

The lenses I have are 70-300mm and and 18-70mm, I won't be able to afford any more for a long time so I need to try and use these as best as possible.


Quote:One of the things about Nikon DSLRs is that they tend to show a well-exposed shot on playback even when the shot itself is over or under exposed. The histogram is your friend here Anna, and you might find yourself using it more often than in other types of photography. I don't know all the lenses you have, but your portfolio suggests you have lenses that will cover quite a few types of landscape. Just keep at it, since it is almost free with digital!


That is it exactly! Yesterday was a gloriously beautiful day and I took loads of photos, I checked the screen and it was flashing all the white areas, indicating blown out highlights, so I underexposed by -0.5 and they looked perfect on the camera, bright and perfectly exposed and the camera wasn't flashing any areas but when I put them on the PC they look dull, ever so slightly too dark and the sky became a horrible weird grey/blue colour.

I was so excited looking at the photos on the camera and seeing how perfectly exposed they are that the deflation when I got home was depressing.

I always try to get my photos right in camera rather than do any PS work afterwards but the 100 odd photos I took yesterday all need work doing to them now and I can't rescue the skies at all.

I'll upload them all this week and desperately want advice and critique on them.

I am finding it very difficult and weird taking photos without people in them, it feels alien to me.

There is a Suffolk met soon which I am going to do my utmost to get to as I think it will a great learning opportunity for me.
mattw 16 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
31 Dec 2008 9:49AM

Quote:like others have said try something totally different, do some out door modeling, take some pretty gurls to the beach and photograph them nude

For the sake of humanity, I would urge you to keep your cloths on Zen.
There are easier ways to photograph girls running away.
keith selmes 16 7.4k 1 United Kingdom
31 Dec 2008 10:40AM
I'm not a landscape expert, but have done a good deal of disappointing outdoors pretty country photography, and do have some thoughts.

You either need to spend time and money on filters, or on software, and sometimes you need to do both. The sky often is too bright and the land too dark, so the famous ND grads come into play. Possibly also the polariser that intensifies skies and reduces reflection. For minor adjustments, software that brings out shadow detail from the ground and reduces highlights in the sky might help.
(Curve tool is useful)

I have heaps of pretty countryside available, but it can look pretty boring in a photo. Finding a good composition that brings out the feeling is part of the answer, it might look nice and feel nice being there, but will it make a picture ?

The sort of day and time of day that people often want to go out often has the worst light.

Sunny summer walks in beautiful woodland are extremely difficult with a camera, the trees make a big green filter, and have thousands of reflectors, and all cast black shadows.

My seaside photos sometimes have a bright sparkly sea, bright sky, and the beach is a shadow with half seen figures. It can work, but its not what you saw.

You can find yourself hoping for an overcast day, going out at peculiar times, even waiting for stormy days so you can actually have a sky in your photo.

The real problem is, the camera doesn't record what we see, or what we think we see, it just records whatever mess of light is bouncing back at it, as best it can.
strawman 16 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
31 Dec 2008 10:53AM
Anna I understand your frustration often feeling it myself. My view for what it is worth is that your existing camera and lenses are fine for what you are trying to do, I would advise that you use a decent tripod and I would also advise that you get a few graduated filters, the common set of 1,2,3 stops would be fine and from memory you can get a set of Cokin P series ones with a holder for under 40.

As the others say the landscape depends on the light on it, but also look for the weather as the changing conditions can add so much. I love being up on a hillside in the morning or evening watching the weather blow over, but enough of my fetish.

Re exposure, that sounds that by the time you stop the sky blowing out the land is looking dull and boring. The good news is that if you have kept the ISO low (hence the need for a good tripod) you should be able to brighten the land by about 1 stop in a RAW photo. You can do this by curves, or shadow recovery it depends what tools your RAW converter has.

Re settings on the camera at your wide angle setting you should be able to get away with f8 to f11, this should be the best working range of your lens and at these conditions. Also regarding lenses, everyone will tell you to get a 10-20 and its a good lens, but I found it needs a new approach to photography, well it did for me. I like the lens but its only one part of photography and you can do a lot with your 17mm plus lens.
And last thing, I found it helped if I consciously knew what attracted me to the scene and started to think of it in terms of composition. Is there a central subject, if yes what takes you eye there. Is there a logical stratification, where do the thirds lie, is it the sky or the land, what gives balance...

But honestly, you should be able to give landscapes a go with any dSLR and a 18 to 50 or so lens, with filters and a tripod giving you a helping hand.

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