Travel Landscape - Choosing a Viewpoint

Often the view that looks most spectacular to your eyes does not come out nearly so well in photo. This is not necessarily because of any technical fault; it may be just tha thte wrong viewpoint was chosen when pressing the shutter. All the time you look at anything, your eyes are editing the scene and suppressing uninteresting details. In contrast, the camera records just what is in front or fit, and unless you have taken care to exclude things you do not want, they will appear on the photo.

In many cases the picture could be improved beyond recognition by moving a short distance. The basic viewpoint may be fine, but perhaps a higher or lower viewpoint is needed; try standing a step, or crouching down. It is worth taking time to explore a variety of viewpoints. Even when you have taken your shot and are walking away you may suddenly see a better shot. If you do, take it. After all, there is nothing to lose, especially with digital cameras nowadays, film is not even required. You may never return to that place, or the light may never be the same again.

Parallax error

One common reason for not getting the picture wanted is parallax error. A camera with a separate viewfinder for the lens that is, most cameras except single lens reflex cameras gives a slight difference in framing between what you see and the picture you take. This makes no noticeable difference when photographing a distant object or a landscape, but the closer you go in, the greater the error. If the landscape shot has a foreground you will certainly have to allow for parallax. If you do not, a detail you expect to be in your photograph may simply not appear, and vice versa.

More information on travel photography

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