Shooting My First Landscape Photo

Shooting My First Landscape Photo

Written 13 years ago by Lee

Two weeks ago I set myself a goal for the new year. That goal was to take a landscape photograph. A resolution so simple that I couldn’t possibly fail and I’m pleased to tell you that within 7 days I achieved my target.

Most of the world seems to have been covered in thick clouds of snow recently. One of those places was right here, where I’ve been quarantined in my own home by the weather for the last couple of weeks. I did manage to break free on one occasion though, armed with my camera, tripod and about seventeen layers of clothing and I set out for the park!

When it comes to shooting landscapes, I’m a complete beginner so I was heading out, not entirely sure what I wanted to capture. I knew roughly what camera settings I would be using, I also knew that to get the perfect shot, I would need the perfect lighting. The sky had been a dull grey colour for days but luckily the day I broke free was the day the sun decided to join me, creating a warm glow over the otherwise freezing landscape.

About an hour and 50 shots later, the sun had set and my first day of landscape photography was over. I was hopeful that I had managed to capture the combined feeling of cold and warmth somewhere in the mix but I also half expected to get home, download the photographs and end up with a folder full of garbage.

I would love to tell you that I had 50 breathtaking images but the truth is, I didn’t. Not even close! There was however 1 image that I quite liked and it was the very last photo I had taken. It was far from being perfect but it had something that the other 49 images lacked. It made me feel like I was back there in the park, taking the shot all over again. It wasn’t just another photo, it had meaning. At least to me anyway.

That’s what photography is all about.

After loads (and I mean loads) of post processing trial and error, I had something that I think I’m happy with. Here is the final result:

Snow Jetty

You can see a larger version on Flickr.


I’d like to hear your thoughts from a photographers perspective. What would you have done differently? How could the shot be improved? What do you like or dislike about the photograph?

Don’t hold back, I’m ready for any criticism you can throw at me and hopefully we’ll all be able to take something away from the discussion.

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Eder  13 years ago


It is sure an awesome photo. As you asked for opinions, I think that you could have given more attention to the sky and a little bit less to the trees. Everything else looks awesome to me, specially the lighting. :D

Congratz on this photo xD

Matthew Saville  13 years ago

Great start! I think I took 20,000 images before I ever got good at landscape photography lol…

For this image, I would maybe have taken a step back to get a bit more of the tunnel feeling, and I don’t like how the right side edge doesn’t have as much as the left. But stepping back a few steps would fix that…

As far as color, tone etc are concerned, that’s just something you’re going to have to develop on your own. This shot might look GREAT as a contrasty B&W though!


Tim  13 years ago

Well, it looks nice and representative of the cold spell at the moment, so that’s a start.

Far be it from me to critique too strongly, but I’d invite you to consider a bunch of questions as things I look for:

  • what is/are the focal point(s)?
  • does it convey what it felt like to stand there? say something about the place?
  • is the lighting nice?
  • does it make its point simply, or does it contain unwanted elements (clutter)? Never mind the scene, look *at* the viewfinder rather than through it: now does the composition have something interesting in key spots such as thirds, centre or corners?
  • does it convey distance/depth? Remember & recite the landscapie’s motto “near, mid, far” before hitting the shutter.
  • does the composition play-off elements against each other, either spatially (something-versus-negative-space) or conceptually (eg unlikely juxtapositions)?

Your shot scores favourably on several of these, good overall; I did feel a little out of whack with the sense of distance and the way the focal point seemed to be some dull tree in shadow in the middle while the foreground has the bright sunlight but it does convey both the cold blue and warm golden sunlight.

Why did you stop before sunset?

Lori  13 years ago

This is gorgeous. I love the lighting and the framing of the trees in the foreground. It really communicates peace and quiet. Shoot more landscapes! :)

Lee Milthorpe  13 years ago

Eder, Matthew and Tim, thanks for the constructive feedback and for the compliments.

I do have a few other shots of this with the trees balanced either side but the trees were naturally “awkward” so it meant either having the jetty to the left which didn’t feel right, or the jetty at an angle which I didn’t like as much as the final image either.

Tim, the park I was at isn’t somewhere you want to be when the sun has gone down, especially when you’re carrying photography gear.

Lori, thanks for the positive feedback, it’s really appreciated :)

Jason  12 years ago

Love the blog, very nice work here. I really dig the photo, but would love to see more attention drawn to that bit of strong light coming through the foreground. Maybe a strong black and white instead of color? Beautiful composition.

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