Make the most of the weather

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 The weather has a huge impact on the look, feel and atmosphere of landscape images. Whether it is sunny, cloudy, misty or stormy, each set of conditions brings its own challenges and opportunities. Arguably, the best type of weather for outdoor photography is when there is a mixture of sunshine and showers, as typically the clarity is good and the light can be magical when the sun breaks through the cloud. If you re very lucky, you might even see a rainbow, but you will need to work quickly, and using a protective rain sleeve is advisable tc keep your kit dry. Cloud can often prove a key element in landscape images, adding interest, depth and potentially drama to your images. In contrast, clear skies are generally less appealing, proving rather boring and providing quite harsh light. On days when the sky is empty, place emphasis on foreground subjects and limit the amount of sky you include in the frame. Blustery days can prove interesting. Cloud, foliage and crops will be windblown and you can capture this motion by employing a slow shutter speed - maybe using the help of a solid N D filter - to creatively blur subject movement. Although we often wish for good clarity, fog and mist can create atmosphere and mood. Low-hanging mist is particularly photogenic, simplifying the landscape and reducing objects to simple silhouettes. Bold, interesting objects, like a skeletal tree, tend to work particularly well. Telephotos suit misty conditions, foreshortening perspective and allowing you to highlight points of interest. Overcast conditions suit woodland photography, as the light is nicely diffused by the cloud cover. Grey weather can also suit black b white capture and the consistency of the light is ideal if you wish to shoot lengthy exposures. There are no right or wrong conditions - you simply have to learn to choose subjects that suit the conditions.

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Light direction

A scene can be lit from the front, side or back, and the light s direction plays an instrumental role in determining an image s quality and mood. When a landscape is lit by front lighting, shadows will fall behind the subject. As a result, texture and form isnalways highlighted well, resulting in relatively flat and uninteresting results. In low light, you also have to take care that your shadow doesn t creep into frame if using a wide-angle lens. Instead, side lighting is often preferred by photographers, as it reveals the shape and form within the landscape and helps add depth to photographs. While photographers are often advised to avoid shooting towards the light source, backlighting can prove very dramatic. Avoid including the sun within your composition - unless it is diffused by cloud, a building or trees -as its intensity will exceed the camera s dynamic range and there is an enhanced risk of exposure error. However, in the right situation, backlighting can create striking and atmospheric results, with shadows racing towards you, and shape and form highlighted.

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