52 Assignments: Landscape Photography is the latest book by Ross Hoddinott andMark Bauer with ideas for a whole year. In our exclusive, abridged excerpt, we’ve got four assignments for you Mission: landscape
Assignment 01: To the fore The essence of composition is to select elements from the scene the different planes together – one that invites the eye into the picture. Complementary shapes,
in front of you and organise them in the image frame in a harmonious way. It is important to direct the attention of the viewer of your image into the frame and toward the main subject; or, with a landscape (which may not have a ‘subject’ as such), to the focal point of the composition. One way to do this is by using foreground interest. The principle is simple enough: by getting in close to a foreground object with a wide-angle lens, the object will loom large in the frame, with the background stretching out behind it. This enhances linear perspective and creates the impression of depth in the image. However, there are a couple of points that you should bear in mind. For the technique to be effective, your close foreground needs to be sharp, as does your background, so controlling depth- of-field is vital. This is done by calculating the hyperfocal distance (see ‘Field notes’). Choosing the correct foreground subject is also critical. It can be tempting to set up in front of the nearest big boulder, but you need to select a foreground that is sympathetic to the background and helps tie
textures and colours will help to unify the foreground and background. So, when working on this assignment, don’t just concentrate on the technical side of things, but look for a foreground that works with the scene in front of the camera.
“WHETHER YOU ARE a newcomer to landscape photography, a hardened enthusiast or even a seasoned professional, it is important to keep learning and to have a purpose. This is where the role and discipline of assignments comes in to help you add to your skill set. “Undertaking self-assignments or personal projects is key to any photographer’s development. The aim of these tasks is to spur creativity, assist with problem-solving, teach new techniques and generally help you to evolve and progress in your photography. By doing so, you will become a more able, assured and versatile photographer, capable of seeing
and capturing the ‘standout’ images we all crave. “To that end, we have set you 52 assignments. Some are relatively quick and straightforward, while others are longer-term projects. But all will help broaden your horizons and keep you motivated and creative. This is absolutely essential in an age when it can sometimes feel like everything has been photographed or ‘done’ before. “We hope each assignment teaches you something new, however small it might be, and that we help you on your photographic journey. Experiment, don’t be scared of making mistakes and, most important of all, have fun!” Ross Hoddinott &Mark Bauer
BUY THE BOOK 52 Assignments: Landscape Photography by Ross Hoddinott & Mark Bauer, price £12.99, Ammonite Press, available online and from all good bookshops ammonitepress.com
ABOVE With this extremely close foreground, it was necessary to shoot at a small aperture of f/22 and set the hyperfocal distance to ensure enough front-to-back sharpness
LEFT A 1sec exposure combined with a small amount of intentional camera movement can create dreamy-looking results
Assignment 09: Go slow Cameras today can offer shutter speeds of up to 1/8000sec. However, going slow – using an exposure of one second or more – can offer more creative options. Subjects such as moving water or clouds will blur during a long exposure, producing images that convey motion with added visual interest. There are two ways to generate a creatively long exposure. You can shoot in low light – at dawn or dusk – when the exposure is naturally long, or you can use a neutral density (ND) filter to lengthen the exposure. These filters absorb light in various strengths, up to 15 stops, allowing you to create long exposures even in good daylight. Your camera’s through-the-lens (TTL) metering will normally compensate for the filter’s density, adjusting the exposure time automatically. For this assignment, try shooting different things – such as people or vehicles – and experiment with different shutter speeds, using ND filters of varying strengths. Also try different ISO speeds to control the amount of movement recorded. What effects do you like best? Settle on your favourite subject and approach, and use them to create a portfolio of ‘go slow’ photographs.
SPECIAL KIT l Tripod l Remote shutter release l Neutral density (ND) filters l Smartphone app, such as PhotoPills TIPS l Avoid auto ISO when using ND filters or shooting in low light. l A sturdy tripod is essential and triggering the shutter remotely will eliminate the risk of any camera shake; use a remote shutter release or set your camera’s self-timer. l Focus and frame your shot before attaching your ND filters.
l Many cameras have long-exposure noise reduction, which is usually activated when exposure length exceeds 8secs. This works by making a dark frame of the same duration as your exposure. Be aware that you will be unable to take photos while this is happening. The function can be switched off via the camera’s set-up menu.
l The longest automatic exposure for most cameras is 30secs. For exposures longer than this, you will need to select Bulb mode, which allows you to lock open the shutter for longer exposures. l To help you calculate longer exposures using dense ND filters, use a smartphone app such as PhotoPills.
30 Photography News | Issue 83
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