Make the most of extreme landscapes

Lauren Scott

Follow these top tips for photographing in the heat and cold locations of your landscapes

Many landscape photographer’s thrive on the extreme conditions that Mother Nature has to offer. When the weather takes a turn for the worse, most photographers head indoors – but if you see a challenge in extreme conditions, follow these simple tips to enhance the journey.

Photographing in hot climates, deserts and plains

Make the most of extreme landscapes

Golden hour – Most photographers know that when the sun is low, the golden hour around dawn or dusk provides light with warm tones, long shadows and less harsh detail. Using this timing especially in landscapes with ‘layers’ or successive ridges – particularly in desert locations – will create images with increased depth but a soft tonal palette.

Get close – A wide-angle lens forces you to get close to your subject and can result in some creative outcomes. The compositional impact of lines and patterns will become exaggerated to create impact.

RAW highlights – If you shoot in RAW then always expose for the higlights. This is particularly important under bright, sunny conditions, and you can use the histogram on your camera’s screen to check the exposure.

Dust and light – Dust, sand and smoke are sometimes useful to accentuate and show the direction of light. Look for subjects where motion or action will stir up the dust and smoke. That being said, it’s also important to protect your kit from the elements. In the desert, strong winds can blow the sand up in all directions, so never change lenses outdoors, but wait until you can get to a sheltered location. Always keep kit in it’s protective casing and spare lenses in pouches for extra protection.

Photographing in the cold

Make the most of extreme landscapes

Layer up – It sounds obvious, but make sure you dress appropriately for cold climates, as you won’t be able to concentrate on, or let alone take the shot with freezing fingers. When hiking with your camera, wearing layers means you won’t get cold when your sweat starts to freeze. Always take more layers than you think you’ll need, and you can always take some off later.

Avoid metal – Wrap your tripod up with some insulation so that the metal wont suck the heat from your hands. As a cheap option, a plastic coated masking tape works well.

Bring backups – Cameras slow down when batteries get cold, so keep spare ones in a pocket close to your body.

If you’ve got any landscape images to share with us on the DP website, simply register and create your gallery today! It’s quick and easy to do! For some more tips and techniques on creating your own extreme outdoor landscapes, grab a copy of The Outdoor Photography Book now.


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