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Alley Cat's tips to great photography

Alison Watkins
Landscapes can have landmarks in it, say a very famous bridge. Most landscape photos are meant to be beautiful but they also need some composition too. In this one there is reflection, motion, depth, and dominance of object. Photo by Alison Watkins.
Alison Watkins
ABOVE: Taken on vacation in South Tahoe, I used the snowy ground and the cloudy sky to frame the trees and the mountains. BELOW: I used rule of thirds to plant the horizon right on the bottom line in my imaginary tic-tac-toe lines. Photos by Alison Watkins
Alison Watkins
Follow this column for photography techniques and advice from Alison Watkins.

Chapter 7: Landscapes

Some of the most classic wallpapers on our electronic devices are vast landscapes. Our human brains live to see landscapes because most everyone does not see them on an everyday basis. Another quality our human brains see in landscapes is the feeling it can evoke, like purity or adventure. Not all landscapes have to have a purpose; some can simply be pretty shots to show where you went on vacation.

When taking landscapes, be sure to follow one rule ... use a small aperture! Aperture matters so much because it affects two things, the amount of light let in by the lens and the depth of field. The smaller apertures are F/22 and F/32. Adjust your other settings accordingly. Landscapes are vast photos and they are very deep, in a sense. Everything should be in clear focus, otherwise unfocused parts may be distracting to the viewer. Always keep in mind a small aperture is F/22-32 and a large aperture is F/1.4-3.5; small apetures are used for many other types of photos, but not landscapes.

Your lens choice is very important as well. By using a wide focal length you can get a lot of land and make the photo seem even more vast. A wide angle lens can be 18-55mm, 35-80mm, or 24-70mm. Rarely will you use a zoom lens for a landscape unless you need to zoom past an obscurity.

Just because the outcome is a landscape does not mean that composition and design do not play a roll in the photo. Horizons should be horizantal, hence, horizon.

As I’ve said before, a photo is a once-in-a-lifetime moment captured in a single frame. So if possible, visit the desired landscape multiple times because the light changes, the clouds change, and the seasons may change too. Try shooting at different times of the day, including sunrise, sunset and night.

Next week I will be discussing how to capture a long exposure photograph, which would be necessary for certain types of nighttime photos because of the lack of light, or certain effects.

Check back at the same Alley Cat time, same Alley Cat channel!


Alley Cat's
Photo Tips


Start shooting
Sunrises and Sunsets
Black and White
Long Exposure
Shoot in RAW
Back Button Focusing
The Challenges of      
      Sports Photography
Studio Photography
FX and DX
Street Photography
Painting with Light
Bokeh vs. Blurry
Tripods and Mounts
File Naming and

-Printing and Resolution

-Paid Gigs
-Gadgets and Gizmos
-Film Photography


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