I look at the Fuji Xt3, Nikon Z7 and GFX 50R to see how big I can get a print.
Do these questions sound familiar?
- How did they take that photo?
- What setting did they use?
- What equipment did they use?
- Where exactly was that photo taken?
If you are anything like me then you will have a thirst for knowledge to improve your landscape photography. Whilst there is no substitute for getting out and shooting, failing, shooting some more, and more and more, reading or listening to how others shoot is inspiring.
I started vlogging earlier in the year (My VLOG > https://www.youtube.com/nigeldanson ) as I wanted to share my experiences and create a record of places I have visited. Whilst researching this I came across a number of inspiring landscape photographers on YouTube and wanted to share their channels.
1) Simon Baxter - Landscape Photographer in Yorkshire, England
Simon Baxter is fairly new to YouTube but his videos are stunning. His knowledge of the ancient oak woodlands in Yorkshire makes for compelling viewing.
Join Simon and his pet Labradoodle in his first woodland photography video below
2) Thomas Heaton - Landscape Photographer in North England
Thomas Heaton started vlogging about his adventures and photography shoots back in November 2014. He has amassed over 100,000 subscribers through his engaging personality and wit. His photography takes him all over the world to places like Iceland, Zion National Park and Yosemite in California.
Interesting fact - His image is used as the homepage to the Flickr App (the one with the tent)
3) Andrew Marr - Landscape Photography in Australia
Andrew Marr shoots amazing seascapes and landscapes in Australia. He gives the viewer an insight into his exact setup and you always come away with some great tips and techniques to improve your photography.
Watch this great video on long exposures in landscape photography
4) Peter McKinnon - Photography and Cinematography
Peter McKinnon isn't a dedicated landscape photographer. But his skills in editing photographs, composition and photography techniques are compelling. The care and attention he puts into all his videos and stories make him one of my favorite vloggers.
5) Ted Forbes - General photography and in depth discussions
The Art of Photography is all about the passion of photography. Ted's reflective anecdotes about his life taking photos, famous photographers and techniques is inspiring. He also has a strong community of photographers that watch his 'show' and participate.
Here is a video he produced about the work of Ansel Adams
6) Joshua Cripps - General photography tips - with many on landscape photograhy
Joshua Cripps produces the channel 'Professional Photography Tips' with many of his videos talking about landscape photography techniques. His videos are mainly about techniques in photography and his humorous style make them enjoyable to watch.
Here is a great video about using the gradient filter in Lightroom
7) Ben HORNE - AMAZING Large format photography of Zion and Death Valley
Ben has been making videos about his trips to Zion Canyon and Death Valley for years and he has got a great catalogue of material (over 300 videos!!!). His images are amazing and his vlogging style is delivered in mesmeric mellow tones. Large format photography is not for the faint hearted and he makes it seem easy!. It requires a great deal of patience and dedication which Ben has in abundance. An awesome watch!
This is a great video from his fall trip to Zion on 2016
8) Nick Page - Landscape Photographer focusing on seascapes << BOOM I ACTUALLY CAME UP WITH 8!
Nick's photography on seascapes is amazing! He has spent a lot of time experimenting with light, exposure and timing to create stunning images. His vlog about the journey to take these images is well work a look.
This video on chasing waves shows how important it is to have patience and perseverance in photography
My landscape photography vlog
I started vlogging about landscapes earlier this year. Here are a couple of my videos that share my passion for seeking out new locations and 'golden light'
Yosemite National Park is probably what kick started my interest in photography. It was the location of the photographs by the amazing Ansel Adams that I admired when I was 14 and why I first started experimenting with photography. I first travelled there around 15 years ago and like anybody that has been there will know I was amazed by the magic of the shear cliffs of El Capitan and Cathedral. The view as you come through the tunnel is straight from lord of the rings. I returned there once more and then got the opportunity to return more often as I moved to San Francisco, California in 2016. I was also lucky enough to visit in the winter of 2016/17 which was incredible.
Following this winter trip I produced a 2 part vlog entitled "Landscape Photography - Yosemite in the Winter". This 2 part video has some great information about photographing Yosemite and follows me on location with a D800. Part 1 is below and part 2 is further down in this article.
I wanted to share in this blog some of the gear I used to take the photographs and talk about the locations I went to in a bit more detail. When I first went to the area and search the web for information for landscape photographers and wanted to provide more useful information.
Yosemite has so many areas to shoot that are accessible from the valley road - and this blog aims to list my top 7. Obviously there are other locations to the ones listed below but I feel that this is a fairly good summary of the places I found to be best.
I have pinpointed on the map below these 7 best locations to photograph Yosemite (descriptions and photos below...)
The 7 Yosemite photo spots you must Visit
1) Tunnel View
The obvious one is tunnel view – this is the classic Ansel Adams image and is best photographed at sunset to catch the light on El Capitan (although you can get some great light at sunrise). It is difficult to get a unique shot from this location though and you really need clouds to get a great image.
Yosemite Valley Sunset, Tunnel View D800 - 0.5s - f/9 - 34mm ISO 50 (0.9 soft grad, polarizing filter)
Tunnel view gets very busy at sunset so make sure you arrive early. It is a great place to watch the sunset and the mist form in the valley. Also - why not be creative and take a timelapse (as you can see in the start of part 1 of my Yosemite vlog I did just that with my Yi 4K+ on a tripod). Remember to stay after the sun has gone down though as the purple glow afterwards is sometimes incredible! Take the image below - I was just packing up and ready to leave - luckily I had my Fuji X-T2 and took this image handheld!
Purple glow - Moments after sunset, Yosemite Valley Fujifilm X-T2 1/40s f/3.2 35mm ISO 320
2) El Capitan Meadow
The granite shear faces of El Capitan, Cathedral and the surrounding rocks makes a great backdrop to any photograph. El Capitan meadow is situated just west of El Capitan bridge and it is best to park North of the river. From there you can get amazing views of El Capitan and Cathedral. It is also a great place to wonder around and just take in the majestic Yosemite Valley
Golden Oaks against Cathedral Rocks, El Capitan Meadow Nikon D800 - 1/125s f6.3 50mm ISO 64
It is an amazing place to photograph in the morning and evening ( as can be seen in part 2 of my vlog on Yosemite in the winter >> https://youtu.be/hATu3TMrhuw )
3) The Merced River at (secret location - see map)
The Merced river meanders through the valley and it is well worth hiking along it to find something different. If you are at the east part of the valley you can get El Capitan in the background with the wonderful Merced river as a leading line. I have marked on the map the exact location of this shot as it is a bit hidden away and not an obvious location. You need to park south of the river and hike down to this location.
Morning Glow on Merced River and El Capitan Nikon D800 - 1/100s f/8 24mm ISO 100 (Lee 0.9 soft grad)
4) Hike up to Vernal falls
The hike up to Vernal falls is amazing and the falls themselves are worth photographing. However, it is the vistas that you get whilst you are walking up that are really stunning. And in fall the you get splashes of color from the aspens and other deciduous trees.
Splash of color, Yosemite Nikon D200 1/160s f/7 45mm ISO 100 (handheld)
5) Yosemite Falls from Swinging Bridge
A great place to photograph Yosemite falls is from is just off the swinging bridge carpark. You can either shoot from the bridge itself or wonder down the river and get some unique shots. This image was taken with my 70-200mm lens (a lens that is really useful to have in Yosemite!). The trees in this shot still have a hoar frost from the cold clear night.
Yosemite Falls in the Winter Nikon D800 - 1/100s f/6 98mm ISO 64 (tripod)
6) Sentinel Dome at Sunset
Most people that head up the Glacier Point road go to Glacier Point at sunset. But if you park 1 mile before you get to Glacier Point you can hike up to Sentinel Dome. It is an amazing hike and the views when you get there are equally breathtaking. There are compositions in many directions from here but I like shooting back towards the sun and getting El Capitan from above. Remember to take a head torch as when you come down it will be dusk and it goes dark very quickly.
El Capitan from Sentinel Dome - Sunset Nikon D800 - 1/13s f/9 200mm ISO 80 Lee 0.9 hard grad (tripod)
7) Valley View at Sunrise (or sunset!)
The list wouldn't be complete without adding in the sunrise / sunset shoot at valley view. This is another famous location and probably at its best after a snowfall in winter. I have never managed to capture it as well as I have wanted but here is my best shot! Ideally you need mist, snow and breaking sunlight (not too much to ask!)
Sunrise at Valley View - Yosemite Nikon D800 0.5s f/13 16mm ISO 64 (2 images blended in photoshop) (tripod)
Best times to photograph Yosemite - sunrise and sunset
The mornings are often the best time to take photos in the winter as the hoar frost lingers on the branches of the trees and creates a crystal coating on the ground fauna. However, closer to sunset you often get fog setting in and this can lead to great images throughout the valley but mostly in the meadow areas at the east and west end of the valley. I try to avoid shooting in the middle of the day as the harsh light is difficult to control. However you can use El Capitan or other large granite faces to reflect the light and that reflected light is great for brining out detail in images.
If you are lucky you will get rays of sun through the evening mist like the shot I took below. Good luck!
Pastel Winter Sun, Yosemite Fuji X-T2 1/550s f/4 35mm ISO 200 (handheld)
You have a D800 - so why on earth buy a Fuji X-series camera? I hear you ask! This pretty much reflected my wife's thoughts. I had purchased a Fuji X100s about 3 years ago and it was awesome.
I had been looking for a good fixed focus small camera that takes great photos and isn't the price of a Leica and when the x100s came out in Jan 2013 I got one. I loved the camera so much and it provided awesome quality photos in a pocket sized camera. However, it was stolen earlier this year in Yosemite.
I was going to replace it with the Fuji X100T but then the X-T2 came out and I had a decision to make.
My thoughts on the benefits of each in my X100T vs X-T2 battle (you can find lots of technical comparisons out there - this was my thought process for both)
- Smaller, compact and portable (with small lens)
- Looks better
- Awesome case that makes it look even better
- Integrated flash
- Integrated ND filter
- Loved the X100S
- Newer technology (better sensor, focusing, speed)
- Flexibility - whole range of lenses (not restricted to 23mm)
- Still small enough to carry in backpack
- Better focus (X100S was very bad)
- Tiltable screen
It came down to 2 things - the flexibility of the X-T2 vs the size of the X100T. Ultimately I wanted it to take with me all the time so I could capture photos on commute and when I wouldn't normally have my Nikon D800. However, I decided that I was willing to give up some size for the added flexibility of the interchangeable lenses. Having had the X100S and worked with 23mm for over a year there had been a lot of occasions where I wanted something slightly bigger. Mostly for when I was photographing my kids.
Waiting for the moon - Fuji X-T2 (straight out of camera)
So a chose the Fuji X-T2. Being a tech geek it was the a decision that was also heavily influenced by the latest technology and amazing reviews on sites like dpreview, fstoppers and luminous landspace - see below for a lis
When I finally decided on the X-T2 I then struggled to find one in stock anywhere but I finally found one and I bought my camera from Samy's Camera in San Francisco.
Initial impressions are very positive. I find myself wanted to shoot with the Fuji a lot more than my D800. It is a camera that just wants to be used. It is fun and the dials are so useful. I will post some blogs over the next few weeks of the performance in more detail but here are some of the images I have taken in the last week.
I don't write many technical blogs and I don"t think I have ever written one on printing technique. However, it has taken me days to get the best settings for Hahnemuhle fine art paper and I thought it was worth sharing. For those of you that have never used Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308g paper before it is a matt fine art paper. It has a smooth but very slightly textured paper and certainly isn"t like the Epson Archival matt paper which is much brighter white and very very smooth. When printed on correctly it is an amazing paper and the detail and colour saturation are amazing. Full settings below.
All images were printed from Lightroom 4.3.
The settings that I used were
Lightroom Print Module
Printer profile: HFA_Eps3800_MK_PhotoRag.icc
Print resolution 300ppi
Print sharpening: Standard / Matt
Print Dialog (Mac) / Print settings
Media Type: Velvet Fine Art Paper
Color Settings: Off
Print Quality: Superfine - 1440dpi / High speed - OFF / Finest Detail
Print Dialog (Mac) / Paper configuration
Color Density: 0
Drying Time: 3 (This is critical)
Paper Thickness: 5
Platen Gap: Auto
I found 2 of the settings that did make a big difference were turning on Finest Detail and Drying Time of 3. I experimented a lot with the drying time and a longer drying time resulted in significantly improved detail. This maybe my specific printer but these settings created amazing prints.