Daytime Landscape Photography (Hints & Tips) - Sandra McDowell's Gallery

What's this page about. . .

As  Ashleigh prepares for a trip to Cumbria with her camera but without me, I know she will have many questions. Usually when we travel together, I'm on hand to help guide her on the camera settings and considerations.  This blog is designed to record some of the advice I would be giving her; what things to set before you head out and what things to consider in the field. With her phone in hand, she can then refer to this blog  . . basically providing a way for me to share my experiences 24x7x365.

The hints and tips are derived from my own experiences as I progress my own learning.  The camera settings are based on the Olympus OMD camera range. In reading this, please be cognizant of the fact  this page is an evolving artifact.  I  am on a learning path and have much more still to learn and as I learn more, I will update this page accordingly.

One hint I didn't think I would have had to spell out, but I was otherwise proven wrong.

0. Pack the camera.

Setting before you go out in the field.

Note : Pages references are for the  Olympus OMD EM10 manual (see links at bottom of page).

1. Charge and pack batteries.

2. Image quality, set to RAW only. (page 67)

3. White balance set to Auto (page 63).

4. Metering mode - mine is always set to ESP (page 71)

5. Info setting so the information screen shows focus peaking, highlight/shadow, Level gauge (spirit level). Play around with setting these and understand that pressing the info button at the back of the camera multiple times will bring different views. . . so if your viewer stops showing the highlights/shadows, try pressing the info button first.

6. Manual focus with focus peaking (white peaks for what's in focus) (Page 38).

7. Expose to the right , set up the camera to show orange for blown highlights (250) and blue for blown shadows . Use exposure compensation +/- to adjust to remove the orange.

8. Image stabilisation is set of off.

9. Shooting mode, single with 2 sec timer if you haven't got a remote cable. This means when you push the shutter button the camera a a couple of seconds to steady itself. If 2 secs isn’t long enough, set it to 12 secs.

10. Once you have your base settings, you could store them using MySet function (Page 76). This will allow a speedy recovery in the field should the camera start behaving differently to what you are expecting.

Variable settings

The following are settings you can set before you go but are likely to change in the field depending on conditions

1. Aperture priority (page 40). WIth my 12-40 lens aperture set to f11 gives me front to back sharpness throughout the picture.

2. If using a tripod, Image Stabilisation off to get the best opportunity for pin sharp images. If you are not using a tripod and using your Panasonic lens use the image stabilisation on lens. To understand the combination of in body stabilisation  and on lens stabilization see  In camera stablisation vs on lens stabilisation 

What I’m thinking about in the field:

1. How much of the landscape do I want in focus? I mainly like to have everything in focus and sharp from front to back. The Olympus 12-40mm lens is sharpest at f11. I use the focus peaking to ensure I have white peaks showing in the frame across as much of the frame as possible. The Panasonic 14.42 lens sharpest aperture is f8 therefore it is worth trying f8 and f11. 

2. Exposing to the right. If you have orange peaks use the exposure compensation wheel (front wheel) to reduce the orange patches. In doing this you may start to see more blue patches; this is an indication you may need to use graduated filter to calm the orange in the sky and allow you to bring out the shadows (removing the blue) by tuning the exposure compensation wheel again.

3. Is the horizon straight, using either the in camera level or the bubble level on top of the camera to ensure the camera is level.

4. How steady is the camera, watch the liveview to see if the image is shaking and figure out how to stabilizs the camera (shelter from wind, use self-timer).

5. Is the shutter speed slow, what in the image will be blurred and will this enhance the image or ruin the image. Eg. On a windy day trees/grasses will be moving, you need to accept the motion or change your ISO / Aperture to reduce the shutter speed.

6. Is there distractions in the image (people with bright coloured clothing) that is drawing the eye away from the main subject.

7. If my focus peaking isn’t showing I use the info button to page through my info views or checking you have a manual focus setting. .

I'd welcome your feedback . . .