Seattle photographer Stephen Matera specializes in outdoor photography and since he is based here, many of his images will be familiar to those of you who hike and climb in our area. These are his top photography tips for shooting great landscapes. Below are some of his recent images.
- In real estate the mantra is location, location, location. In photography, the mantra is light, light, light. You can have a great composition but if the light is mediocre, you’re going to get a mediocre photo. Light will make or break a photo, turning a good image into a great one.
- Know your equipment. It may sound obvious but you don’t want to figure out how to work your camera when the light (see above!) is turning epic. You should know your camera operations without having to think about it so you can change settings to get exactly what you want.
- Learn to use the manual settings on your camera. Anybody can put a camera in auto mode and get a decent photo. But the real creativity comes when you make adjustments manually. Over or under expose from what the camera would do, selective focus, change the white balance, shoot faster or slower shutter speed for certain effect.
- Research the location you are shooting ahead of time. Spend some time looking online at photos of locations you’re planning to shoot. Look at maps to figure out when the best time of day will be to shoot. Morning? Evening? Will it have front, back, or side lighting? What’s the forecast? What time does the sun rise or set?
- Previsualize your image in your mind. A camera is a tool. Creativity comes from you. The camera is the tool that allows you to create what you can previsualize.
Wild Pacific Rhododendron (R. macrophyllum) in spring bloom, Olympic National Forest, Washington
The East Fork of the Virgin River continues to carve out The Subway, Zion National Park, Utah
Clouds in the valley below Spray Park and Mother Mountain, Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington
Mt. Stuart and clouds rise above partially frozen lake Ingalls at sunset. Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington
Fall colors reflected in the Beckler River, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington
Aerial View of the North Cascades in Winter
Spotlight on El Capitan (Agathia Peak) below heavy clouds in the desert near Little Water, Utah