Head for the mountains
Hi all, I’m here! I’m Dave Williams and this is #TravelTuesday on ScottKelby.com, and although I realise we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic, I want to share some tips that will be useful where and when travel is allowed.
Today is about the mountains and all their splendour. The mountains ground us somehow—their majesty and beauty captivate us and inspire us, as well as offering us an awesome adventure. There are some awesome photos to be had of and in the mountains, and it’s well worth getting back to nature and giving the mountains (and ourselves) some attention.
Top of the list for mountain photo tips is to remember two key words: “foreground” and “composition.” These two things alone will make our mountain photography stand head and shoulders above the rest. If we can include a foreground element and employ a compositional technique that links the foreground and background together, such as the leading lines here for this Canadian Pacific train running through the Canadian Rockies, we’re set for a win.
Shooting in bad weather works with mountains because it creates drama and often mystery. The weather that we see as bad weather for walking in is usually the weather that’s great for photography in the mountains for this very reason, just like here at Vestrahorn in Iceland. Planning ahead and scoping the area, the route, and the weather will help us to be in the right place at the right time to smash an epic shot of a moody mountain.
It’s never a bad idea to include water in our mountain photos and the reason is largely twofold: First, it offers us an easy foreground element. Second, it can double our photo to have a mirror image.
Mountains are huge and we can exaggerate their size by including something for scale, such as a building, person, or animal. We need to keep our eyes open for these opportunities to arise and if we don’t find them, we can create them by getting into the scene ourselves.
The mountain doesn’t have to be the subject—including it as a feature of a photo can be just as effective, like here in Rio de Janeiro where I’ve included this mountain to break the scene. The subject here is nature and the sunset, with the mountain simply helping to draw attention to it.
Finally, we always need to ensure we have the right gear. There’s no feeling worse than making the effort to find a beautiful location and not having what we need when we get there. Sufficient batteries and memory cards, along with a tripod/Platypod, filters, remote shutter release, lens cloth, and anything else that will help us to create the shot we want is crucial to pack and to use, just like for this shot in Senja, Norway.
There’s a reason people so often say “the mountains are calling.”