Capturing a really great landscape shot requires skill and creativity, but you also need to be able to accept failure and move on from it. In this video, landscape photographer Robert Rodriguez Jr. talks about the unpredictable Mother Nature and offers up a few tips to stay motivated, inspired and willing to experiment:
Rodriguez explains how when he first started out, he focused on the subject he wanted to shoot, but as he became more experienced, he began to realize that capturing a moment that meant something to him was better than capturing the subject.
As photographers, we should all try to be artists first, which means that whatever it is that you’re doing with your camera should be something that comes from inside, something that is meaningful.
The most important thing for Rodriguez, as a landscape photographer, is how he approaches taking pictures. For him, that approach comes from a love and appreciation of nature, the inspiration he gets from standing in nature and the idea of capturing emotion in a picture.
Rodriguez always tries to make his images as multi-layered as possible— for example, he’ll try to capture the curves of the mountains against the sky, light being filtered down through the clouds creating highlights on the water of a scenic lake, plus the shoreline—so he tries to capture all the elements around him.
As a landscape photographer, he says you need to become familiar with failure. When it comes to Mother Nature, you never know what’s going to happen. When things don’t work out the way you expected, it’s easy to become frustrated or lose confidence.
A great way to get past this is to focus on familiar landscapes. By returning so often to the same location, you will see it at different times of day, in different conditions and weather, you’ll learn about it and get familiar with it which will give you more opportunities to capture the shot you want. You’ll learn:
- Where the light is at different times of the year
- Where to position yourself to get the best angle
- To automatically set the best focal length
- How to capture emotion
You have to be open to exploration and be prepared to try different techniques and settings until you get it right.
And, remember the golden hours—or as Rodriguez calls it, the 4 a.m. filter—the best light is early in the morning or late in the evening. Are you more creative in the morning or later in the day? Get out there when creativity and amazing lighting strike.
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