When focusing on photographing the landscape there are a growing number of resources I make use of on a daily basis. Knowing the tides, checking access to locations, knowing where you can park, checking the forecasts and having an idea of what light you might find when you get there are all crucial.
Weather and Tides
The weather is a crucial ingredient in creating great landscape images. Glance through the winning images in the LPOTY (Landscape Photographer of the Year) competition and you will regularly see the majesty of the elements in all their glory. The weather helps to shape and define the light we capture. It adds drama and mood to an otherwise bland scene.
It’s not just about being in the right place at the right time but making sure you are not in the wrong place at the wrong time. Much of the raw natural beauty of our coastline is best enjoyed not far from the water’s edge and misunderstanding the tides can place people in great danger very quickly.
I’ve included a few great resources to help you get to the right places and stay out of harm’ way.
The Met Office
It is always best to go to the horse’s mouth and the Met Office website is a great place to start. The Met Office have been providing weather data to a host of businesses and organisations for decades.
Easytide is a great resource for coastal photographers.
Magic seaweed offers global Surf Reports and great information about Surfing breaks throughout the UK and beyond. If you want an idea on what the sea will be doing it is a great place to start.
Sunset, Moonset Times and Location
The Photographers Ephemeris is about the best app for Photographers. It gives you Sunrise, Sunset, Moonrise and Moonset positions for anywhere you would like to pinpoint on a map. An essential tool when planning specific shoots.
Sun Surveyor is another very useful app that overlays sun and moon positions in relation to maps, street view etc providing a 3D graphic overlay. If you want to know where the sun will be in relation to a building, a fixed position in a park, churchyard then this app will get you as close to the action as is possible.
Maps and Routes
Where would we be without Google Maps? If you don’t have sat nav and you have data coverage it can be a very useful navigational tool in he field.
Fantastic mapping and local information about all of the UKs National Trails.
The National Trust
I’m a great fan of the work of the National Trust and their membership is great value. Free car parking at so many sites throughout the UK is worth the membership alone. Many sites have cafes and wifi access if you need to get some work done on the hop.
There is no better parking resource in the UK than the parkopedia website.
Calculators and Charts
Being able to calculate the Hyperfocal Distance of a variety of camera and lens combinations is key when looking to maximise depth of field when shooting Landscapes.
Neutral Density Long Exposure Calculation Chart
There are very simple apps available to help you to calculate DOF and Exposure. The sums do become quite simple to remember but it is always useful to have a chart in the bag when working with ND filters and long exposures.
Quite simply if the scene you are metering requires a shutter speed of 1/500 on a brighter day and you would like to slow things down, lengthen your exposure to 2s, then you would require a 10 Stop ND filter (Filter Factor 3.0). For each additional stop with an ND filter the shutter speed required for correct exposure doubles. Just remember it might be worth considering ETTR (Exposing To the Right)..
Also if you are using a DSLR’s in-built Digital Noise Reduction then each actual image will take twice as long to create as the noise reduction works by taking an identical shot with the shutter closed and then cancelling the noise from the first exposure.
Neutral Density Filters – Long Exposure Calculator (Downloadable)
Publications and Websites
OnLandscape https://www.onlandscape.co.uk/ OnLandscape is a bi-weekly online publication that is a fantastic resource for keen Landscape Photographers. It is packed with excellent articles, reviews and tips from the best in the business.