Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Landscape Photographer of the Year 2010

The Landscape Photographer of the Year 2010 competition has been announced this morning. The standard of the entries for 2009 was stunning as you'll see from the winners page of the Take a View website.

It's well worth taking a look at the winners page as there are some wonderful inspiring images. Even if you don't plan on entering the competition I guarantee you'll gain ideas and inspiration or just look on in awe!

A South Downs Landscape © Ian Pack

Remember, it's all about the right light, previsualisation and planning. Very rarely do you chance upon the perfect light and landscape. Do your research. Look at maps and guide books. Use a sun compass (see below) to calculate where the sun will rise and set on a particular day or season. Compose your shots carefully and use a tripod and low ISO to get the best quality image. Don't let your images be degraded by camera shake. Use live view or mirror lock up and a remote trigger for the sharpest results, especially when working with slow shutter speeds and small apertures.

The image above was shot with a 100 - 400 mm Canon zoom lens so a tripod was essential to maintain sharpness. Any camera shake would be magnified significantly by the long lens. As a rule, 50 mm equals x1 magnification so a 100 mm lens would be x2. The landscape above was shot with the lens set at 400 mm 8x magnification on a full frame sensor or 640 mm equivalent on an APS-C or cropped sensor - more powerful than some binoculars!

Pett Levels at Dusk © Ian Pack

This image of Pett Levels was shot with a Canon 24 mm f3.5 TSE lens at an aperture of f22 and the shutter at 1/30 th second. The tripod was not only an aid to composition but allowed me to use the small stop to attain good depth of field from the foreground to infinity.

There are various sun position compasses on the market, but I've developed my own which you can download here. It's very easy to use in conjunction with a magnetic compass such as a Silva. Some GPS units have a sunrise/sunset function but I still tend to stick with the analogue solution.

For those of you with an iPhone there are some great apps available. I use Sunrise and Set Pro for times and positions. If you're working by the sea you will also need to know the time for high and low tides for this I use Marine Tides Planner.

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