There is a saying that goes like attitude determines altitude. We have discussed the skills and gears of landscape photography in the previous chapters. We will cover the most neglected part in this section, which is the attitude. Even if you have got the best gears in your hands and you have mastered the skills of landscape photography, you will probably miss numerous shots without an appropriate attitude.
Nature is the stage of landscape photography, which is ever-changing. Weather plays an important role in landscape photography as it affects the lighting and atmosphere of the scene, yet it is highly unpredictable. Unexpected weather conditions could ruin your photos easily especially if you were shooting sunset on a beach or sea of cloud on the mountain top. There are definitely some other ways out for certain circumstances. For example, you planned a sunset shooting session on that day but you found that it was an overcast day when you arrived at the destination. You could still try to shoot with long exposures in black and white. It turns out unexpectedly decent on some occasions as long as there were moving elements in the photo (ex. sea, clouds).
Unfortunately, there are no remedial measures available for some scenarios. For example, you were heading to a peak and planned to shoot some breathtaking photos of the sea of clouds. Sometimes, you will be inundated by fog and clouds if you are not lucky enough. You could shoot nothing when the visibility drops to nearly zero. Therefore, you should bear in mind that there is always a chance that your effort will be in vain. Failures are sometimes inevitable. If you want to capture those stunning scenery, you have to be prepared for failures and be persistent.
I shot this in black and white as it was an overcast day.
We all hate heavy bags and gears. But hey, no pain, no gain. If a photo shoot is the major purpose of your trip, you should grab all the gears you will need. Magnificent scenery awaits you. It is too late to regret when you saw them. I love hiking in the mountainous area around Hong Kong. Although it is quite a burden to bring a full-frame DSLR, 17-40mm ultra-wide angle lens, a telephoto lens and a tripod up to the mountain, you will have no regret when you capture all those heart-melting pictures. Undoubtedly, I do not recommend you to pack all the professional yet bulky gears into your bag if you are going to travel for leisure. You would never want to take out the camera from your bag after the first two days of your trip.
I had been to Malaysia three years ago. I only brought a 50mm lens and a crop frame DSLR due to their portability. Although 50mm lenses are versatile in many occasions, it is not the case when you plug it on a crop frame DSLR as it becomes 85mm equivalent. I can only capture the candid moments on the streets with such focal length, but hardly the natural scenery there.
I only brought a 50mm prime lens for that trip to Malaysia. It is not enough to handle some of the scenes.
If you are determined to capture the breathtaking sunrise or the dazzling starry night, you will either have to stay up all night or get up early. The famous landscape photographers out there are determined to overcome tiredness and laziness. In some cases, they may stay in the wilderness for more than a week just for some shots. Even the weather is not as expected, they will probably stay behind and wait for the moment that sunbursts and clouds break.
Also, keep in mind to be physically fit before daring to endure extreme conditions for the sake of taking an A-Class landscape photograph. Some of the fascinating scenarios actually require a proper training before even think of visiting them, as well as a good medical check up. An altimeter may seem a good device to carry around in order to know when you’re going to reach the height limit that your body can stand up for.
This is the last chapter of the series of Mastering Landscape Photography. I hope you have enjoyed this series. If you missed the previous chapters, make sure to check them out.
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