Photographing Landscapes: Getting the Perfect Shot the First Time

Sure, being a travel photographer means you get to see places you never thought you would, places far off, magical, mystical, hidden, unimaginable. But, it also means that you need to be able to get the perfect shot every time; you don’t have the luxury of a second chance. Travel photographer Chris McLennan invites us on location in Namibia, where he captures gorgeous images of the desert landscape and provides some tips and techniques to get the perfect shot:

Equipment Used

Since McLennan is shooting in the morning, the sky is brighter and there is high contrast. To combat this, he uses a graduated neutral density filter, which he holds in front of the camera to give him bright balance from the sky to the red desert sand dunes. The polarizer helps deepen the shadows, enriching the color in the dunes at the same time.

landscape photography

The three lens combination, McLennan says, lets him cover pretty much everything he wants to on this shoot. For one particular shot of an amazing natural rock arch, the crew slept out on the rocks overnight and got up early in the morning to capture the perfect light. McLennan used the D800E with 14-24mm lens, set at 14mm, super wide, and f/16 to get a really nice sunburst off the rising sun.

travel photography

The arch was fully backlit so he used the Nikon CLS to fire an off-camera speedlight and put a little bit of fill on the front of the arch. This is just one of the many dramatic and beautiful images he captured of the desert landscape.

african landscape photo

“…when you’re working on-location so far from home, you don’t get a second chance to get it right.”

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