Photographing mountains is as natural to any photographer who stands before them as breathing. It is impossible to find yourself in front of an imposing mountain and curb the urge to want to photograph her like a madman to preserve that magical moment in memory.
The mountain is imposing, beautiful, mysterious, it makes us see the magic of nature, the ephemeral and insignificant of our life, but at the same time the greatness of it. The contact with nature, the pure air, the silence … All these sensations we want to summarize in an image, we want to take that mountain home.
Now, how many disappointments, how many photos without you’ve finished taking home? Many, right? Well, you’re not the only one, photographing mountains is easy, getting them to transmit what you’re feeling when you photograph them, not so much ;-).
But don’t worry, let’s try to keep that from happening with a few practical tips so you don’t miss anything in the search for that moment you want to take home.
It is worth nothing, photographically speaking, to be in the right place and at the right time, if you do not have the necessary material to obtain the results you want, therefore, a careful previous selection of the material is one of the keys to obtaining a result satisfactory.
- The camera
- Charged batteries and more than one (in the mountains you don’t usually find many plugs) .
- Tripod : to avoid trepidations and obtain maximum sharpness.
- Monopod: they are a good option to work day landscapes with enough light since they reduce trepidations and are lighter.
- Remote shutter or, in its absence, use the camera’s remote shutter.
- Charged batteries and more than one.
- Optics: the most used in this type of landscape is the wide angle , but with a more standard type 35mm or 50mm you can also get good images (and in general with what you have ).
- Backpack or comfortable bag to comfortably and safely transport all the material.
- Filters : the polarizing filter to increase the contrast of your skies, as well as UV (Ultraviolet) to eliminate blue tones that occur at certain heights or neutral gradient filters can be very useful in the mountains. In addition they do not weigh or occupy hardly anything ;-).
Not only does a successful mountain photography session depend on the photographic material, your comfort and safety are keys for all the rest to go well.
- Comfortable footwear and adapted to the characteristics of the terrain through which you are going to move.
- Warm clothes and preferably in layers, to be able to add and remove if necessary.
- Flashlight if you plan to stay until sunset or want to go out at dawn.
- The mobile always well charged if you need to make a call or communicate while you are away.
- Always carry some food and water.
- An old-fashioned map. Yes, Google knows everything, but you can run out of battery .
Of course, the material will not be the same if you are going to ascend to the K2 or if you get off the car in a viewpoint to take some photos at the foot of the road. Nor will it be the same if you do the excursion in summer, autumn, spring or winter. We will have to adapt to the needs of each climate and the type of mountain you plan to photograph.
But the moral is that you always go well prepared and a little better, just in case ;-).
It is not only to get there with dignity but to make the images you take home worthy of the landscape you want to photograph, for this the composition comes into play. Here I share with you some ideas that can help you.
- It includes a human element : it adds interest to the image and helps us establish a size scale.
- Take advantage of the lines : the calm lines of the horizon, the strong diagonals or the winding S of the roads will help you to enhance your images.
- Symmetries : they can be boring or surprising, it depends on how you work them.
- Reflexes : they give a lot of play if you give them a touch of originality (as you will surely do).
- Depth: trying to get the image to have depth thanks to playing with the different planes of your scene will also add interest to the image.
- Use color as another compositional element .
- Try that the image has a center of interest , a point where the gaze is able to stop and not get lost in the frame.
- The rule of thirds.
- Use original and different perspectives and views .
I will not deceive you, the most photogenic lights to photograph mountains are sunrises and sunsets , with the sun low on the horizon and that soft and warm light that highlights the textures and shapes of the mountains. You visualize it, right?
That is the best moment, although it is not the only one, every moment of the day gives you completely different images, with more or less volume or shadows, more or less contrast, etc.
And what about night photography ? I am increasingly fascinated with what can be achieved with it. If you need material, I recommend this pair of articles.
- Recommended lenses for night photography
- How to choose a good tripod for your next night photography
To avoid boring images, the first thing is to give free rein to your creativity; Do not just stand in front of a beautiful landscape and simply click.
- The sky: clouds can add a dramatic air to your most interesting images, you can even try the long exposure .
- The vertical format: it goes out of the ordinary when we think of landscape, but it can give you very good results.
- The depth of field : we always look for a good depth of field in the landscape, but it doesn’t have to be that way on all occasions. Playing with blur can help you focus the point of interest in your image and make it more attractive.
- Panoramic: horizontally and vertically, they can help you if you don’t have an optics with too much angle or even if you have them but still need more.
- Fog , rain, and other adverse weather conditions: do not miss cloudy days or foggy moments because you can get fascinating images. In bad weather, good photos
- Natural frames: the branches of a tree, the hole between two rocks … Natural frames can add a touch of originality to your frame.
- This article with 100 express tips on landscape photography
- The different seasons of the year will provide you with absolutely different images, each season with its own resources and strengths: from the fall of the leaves of the trees or the ocher tones of the forests and mountains in autumn, the snowy peaks or the frozen cobwebs from winter to flowers in spring or summer.
APPLICATIONS (APP) THAT WILL BECOME YOUR BEST ALLIES
Nobody leaves the house without a telephone and less if they go hiking in the mountains . And, in addition, most of us have a smartphone that makes thousands of virguerías, also in what refers to photography. Calculate the hyperfocal distance, the light, calculate where the sun rises or sets, where the milky way will be … Everything is possible, easy and, in many cases, free or very economical, through the mobile phone.
Here I leave you this article with 13 mobile applications for photographers (That your camera would like to have) to take a look and do not forget about Photopills.
I always come up with advice related to safety, because I think that we sometimes underestimate the power of nature and overestimate the power of our physical form, and both are usually companion tricks .
So I think it is better to sin as a precaution.
- Always check the weather before leaving.
- Travel light as much as possible.
- But never at the cost of your safety and comfort. It is better to leave the flash at home than not to miss a warm jacket.
- Always advise where you will be before leaving even if you are accompanied.
- Beware of selfies and extreme photos, no nonsense in the mountains .
And here this article for mountaineers and mountaineers. I may leave something in the inkwell. If you think so, add it in comments to share it with all of us. And if you liked it, help us spread it on your favorite social networks. Thank you very much and see you next time. See you on the mountain .
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