James Hope Photography
Having recently spent some time studying up on landscape photography and subsequently putting this into practise in the Peak District, I wanted to share some tips on things that I found particularly useful along the way. Clearly there is a lot that could be added to this list but these are my top three tips for landscape photography.
1. Getting maximum depth of field - Hyperfocal Distance
This is an easy way to ensure your pictures are always in razor sharp focus. The hyperfocal distance is the shortest focussing distance from which everything after that distance (and a certain amount in front of that distance) is nice and sharp. It therefore gives you a range from 'x' meters in front to infinity behind. It can be found by using any number of depth of field apps on your smart phone and then dialling in the distance straight onto you lens while using manual focussing. As you would expect the range increases with increasing aperture. The advantage of using this technique is that it keeps things simple and means you have very little work to do to get nice sharp images. You just have to be careful to input the correct information into the app (things like focal length and f/stop) and not have anything in your image that is required to be in acceptably sharp focus closer than the near limit.
2. Getting maximum sharpness - Avoiding diffraction
You may think from reading the above that, ignoring shutter speed, all you have to do is select the smallest aperture to get the maximum depth of field, focus to the hyperfocal distance, and in turn you will have the sharpest images possible. However due to the diffraction of light through very small apertures it can actually cause your images to soften if you select an aperture too small. Selecting your aperture is therefore a trade off between increasing your depth of field and choosing the sharpest aperture (which typically tends to be around f/8). What you select depends on the shot. When shooting landscapes I often go as wide as my lens will allow, 24mm in my case. I therefore find it very simple to set f/8 in aperture priority, use the hyperfocal distance of 2.4m (giving a range of 1.2m - infinity) and just leave it there for the entire shoot. That way I know my images are going to be sharp all day and I don't have to keep changing settings. Of course if I need a greater range or want to zoom in then things will certainly need to change but on the whole this works for most of my landscape shots.
3. Setting the white balance - Ignore Auto
When you make all the effort to get up at silly o'clock in the morning or head out late in the evening in order to catch the golden hour at its finest, it seems daft to try and let your camera neutralise all that beautiful golden light by using auto white-balance (AWB). By sticking with daylight instead, you're allowing all the yellows and oranges to look their best. If you make sure you shoot in RAW as well then you've always got options later on in PP.
Any queries then feel free to get in touch via the contact page.
The solar eclipse as seen from 11km above the earth on 20th March 2015 at approximately 9:30am.
The above image was taken on an iPhone on-board a flight from the UK in 2015. It was very much a case of right place, right time. The aircraft did two full orbits just as the moon transited in front of the sun. The result, as you can see, is a clearly defined corona and a curved shadow cast over the earth. The image was published in several national papers in the UK and went around the world online and on social media.
May 2014 - Landscapes
March 2015 - The Eclipse
Site and Graphics by James Hope © 2014