Beginner Photography: Landscapes

I HATE SHOOTING LANDSCAPES. There, I said it. It’s probably only because I’m bad at it, but I cannot for the life of me capture a compelling landscape. I feel like I did better with cityscapes, but even then I have a really hard time finding a focal point.

This week I went out shooting at a park I’d never been to, and I felt pretty good about it while I was shooting (which is rare) and then when I got them onto my computer I was so disappointed. Just so much green, and not much interest. I even got a shot of an urban cowboy and couldn’t make it compelling! 

I tried to capture some moving water in a stream, but every shot wound up wildly overexposed. I guess I need a neutral density filter :-/

As always, I was using my borrowed Olympus E-M10 with a Lumix 14-42 f/3.5-5.6. I shoot mostly aperture priority and often shot with the highest f/stop to get the whole scene in focus. Unfortunately that meant that I didn’t nail focus when I came across a man riding a horse. They were moving a bit too fast for me to capture, but I recovered it as well as I could in post.

I do all of my editing in Lightroom, mostly adjusting the crop, white and black points, and some luminance.

f/7.1, 1/400th, ISO 200


f/3.5, 1/1250th, ISO 200


f/22, 1/20th, ISO 100


f/20, 1/60th, ISO 250


I’m really kicking myself for not adjusting my aperture when that cowboy showed up. It could have been such an incredible capture but I really missed the mark. I’ll have to go back there and hope to see them again, there were quite a few people out riding. I’d also like to go back during the golden hour which would help with the lack of color variation in all the shots.



6 Responses to Beginner Photography: Landscapes

  1. Roderick April 25, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    That’s an impressive park, Siobhán.
    Commiserations on the cowboy photograph. But it’s still a keeper in my book. You caught him at the perfect instant, in the middle of the river.
    Good point about all that green. Did you know the human eye can see more shades of green than any other color?”
    I learned that from Lorne Malvo’s “Big Book Of photography And Mass Murder”….
    Grass is basically unnatural. I usually try to use the LR slider to drop the greens and yellows when there’s a lot of grass in the picture.
    I like the fence and the leading lines. I also particularly like the second photo of the tree stumps and the cabin.
    Maybe a b&w treatment and a spooky feel ?

    • mm
      SiobhanKyle April 25, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

      Hahah, it took me a minute to get your Fargo reference. Well done.
      I can’t believe I didn’t even think of going black and white! Good call. Thanks Rod!

      • Roderick April 26, 2017 at 4:03 am #

        What a character. But NEVER get into an elevator with him….

        I was just thinking about the framing on your first picture. Its pretty nice. I don’t know if you use the free Nik collection but there are some nifty b&w templates that come with the collection – SilverEfx. It takes a lot of the work out of processing. And they work in Lightroom

  2. Chris April 26, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

    Hi Siobhan
    I like your cowboy shot, it is a nice pastoral scene with a beautiful blue sky with clouds; I would be more than happy if I had taken it, it looks like it was a lovely spring day to be out in the countryside. You could in theory lighten the horse and rider to make them a more obvious focal point and if you had taken another photo to the right you could have made it a panoramic shot.
    I also like the shot of the hut with tree stump, its a perfectly good shot, but as you say maybe missing something to make it a standout shot. It could be revisited; it might make a good early morning mist shot, with a light in the cabin window.
    As Roderick say the Nik collection is now provided free by Google and has a lot of useful tools and it plugs straight into Lightroom.

  3. James Lemon April 26, 2017 at 9:44 pm #

    All the Photos you took are beautiful, however I think I know the solution to why you don’t think they are interesting enough or missing a focal point. I believe if you start taking shots from a different vantage point you will have more fun with it. Sometimes IMO we get so use to are own viewpoint that its a comfort zone, but it also bores the shooter because its so common to are eyes. At least for me that is the case, thats why my photos are so strange lol I do alot of force perspective shots so that I don’t get bored with myself.

  4. Steven May 12, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

    I feel your pain about landscapes. I do not like doing them at all. I like to look at them, but I also have a hard time finding a focal point myself. I wish I could do it. I always get an idea, but the world does not conform to it. Nor am I great at spotting something once I am out in the world.

    I love following your beginner photography journey. It’s very inspiring, though I’m not at a point yet where I’m doing the weekly challenges. In my head I am and I think of what I might do for the theme. But then I don’t actually see it through. And I don’t feel like I am ready to share yet. But I’m enjoying seeing what you do every week!

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