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Putting photography before digital

When we think of photography today it's hard not to think of it from an entirely digital point of view. Most photography magazines and websites are usually full of adverts and reviews of the latest equipment and technology.

But while photography is an art based on science, due to the mass market appeal of photography, manufacturers are constantly pushing new cameras with higher and higher pixel counts, dynamic range and a host of other features to try and make your photographs look like the cover of National Geographic; and we are often lead to believe that these extra features are needed to make us better photographers.

And while some features are a gift (good autofocus and high fps are a must for sports/wildlife photographers) a lot of the features obscure the fundamentals of photography and make it harder to understand why one picture looks good and another doesn't.

I've owned quite a few cameras over the years ranging from film to digital SLRs and my latest camera is a hefty medium format digital. It has a pretty slow fps count, the autofocus isn't particularly good and it takes a few seconds to review your photos. But all of these issues with the camera have actually made me a better photographer; I spend a lot more time composing each shot, and take far fewer shots than I used to, but the result is I get more shots that I like, and spend less time sorting the wheat from the chaff when it comes to post processing.

So here's a few tips to ensure your landscape photography doesn't get lost behind the digital:-

  • Change your drive mode to 'single shot'. Resist the temptation to take lots of similar photos in quick succession, instead, spend time thinking about each shot before you press the shutter.

  • Avoid chasing High Dynamic Range - control your dynamic range either through graduated filters or by waiting for the light to change.

  • Take control of your camera and try shooting in manual, this will allow you to be more creative by controlling shutter speeds/depth of field.

  • Avoid using any of the creative modes or effects built in to your camera. Instead, think about your composition and exposure to get good shots and apply creative changes during post processing.

  • Pixel count isn't everything. Cramming more pixels onto a sensor also increases noise which affects image quality when shooting at higher ISOs. Think about what size you need to print at before reaching for the camera with the higher megapixel number.

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