Article ID : 00086889 / Last Modified : 09/11/2014

How to take pictures of landscapes and flowers with an α (Alpha) digital SLR camera.

Applicable Products and Categories of This Article

This introduces techniques for photographing seasonal nature scenes such as new greenery, autumn leaves, and flowers.

Refer to the following for tips on taking photographs infused with life only seen in certain seasons.

Image

Preparation

Accessories

  • Battery charging
  • Backup battery (in case you run out of power)
  • Memory card (A large capacity memory card is helpful when taking lots of pictures.)
  • Zoom lens, macro lens, etc. (A macro lens is helpful when getting in close to take photographs of autumn leaves and flowers.)
  • Polarizing filter (PL filter) (a necessity for reducing sunlight reflection on clear days)
  • ND filter (helpful for broadening expressive ability when photographing rivers or waterfalls on clear days)
  • Tripod (to prevent motion blur)

Camera settings

  • Switch the SteadyShot® setting to On.

    NOTE: When using a tripod, switch the setting to Off to prevent the SteadyShot function from reacting when not needed.
  • When using a tripod, set the self-timer to Self-timer: 2 Sec.

    NOTE: You can prevent blurring when pressing the shutter button by using the Self-timer function.


Shooting modes to use:

Landscape in SCN (Scene Selection) is recommended for shooting nature scenes during the day. Setting to Landscape lets you shoot in bright and clear colors from foreground to background.
Image

Also, set SCN (Scene Selection) to Sunset when shooting scenes like sunsets and sunrises. This lets you shoot red tinted skies and the like with even more beauty.
Image


Choosing the composition

Lighting direction
Be aware of the position of the sun when shooting landscapes (scenery).
The impression the photograph portrays will differ depending on how light strikes the subject (direct light, side light, backlight).
Image
[1] Shooting with direct light
[2] Shooting with side light
[3] Shooting with backlight

NOTE:

  • Direct light is when light strikes the subject from the front with the sun behind the photographer.
  • Side light is when light strikes the subject from the side or at an angle.This creates shadows, allowing for photographs with scenery having a sense of depth.
  • Backlight is when light strikes the subject from behind with the photographer facing the sun. This lets you take photographs of leaves where light is seen through them almost as if they were lit up.

Photographing from a different viewpoint
When photographing flowers by the roadside, do you often end up shooting from above like when trying to capture the place in the red box below?
Image

Photos from above are not bad, but trying something new such as shooting close up or changing the angle you shoot from will give you shots like never before.
Image
[1] Shooting up close
[2] Shooting at the same height as flowers



Photographing with different camera settings

Photographing with blurring in the background or foreground
Decreasing the aperture value (F-value) (wide aperture) allows you to photograph with blurring in the background or foreground.
Image

NOTE: Using the Background Defocus on cameras equipped with that function allows you to achieve the same effect.

Photographing with a different white balance
Photographing with Auto White Balance (AWB) allows you to gain coloring close to that seen by the eye. Changing the white balance, however, will change the coloring for shots with a different feel.
Image
[1] Photographing with Auto White Balance (AWB)
[2] Photographing with white balance set to Cloudy

Image
[1] Photographing with Auto White Balance (AWB)
[2] Photographing with white balance set to Incandescent

Photographing with a slower shutter speed
White, smooth flow of water can be expressed for waterfalls and places with flowing water by photographing with a slower shutter speed.

NOTE:

  • Use of a slow shutter speed produces brighter photographs, so increasing the aperture value (F-value) (narrowing the aperture) or using an ND filter keeps the amount of light in check.
  • The photograph below was taken with an ND filter attached to the lens and the aperture adjusted for a slower shutter speed.

Image 
Shoot Mode: A (Aperture Priority)
ISO: 200
F-value: F10
Shutter speed: 2 sec.
Tripod used

Image
Shoot Mode: A (Aperture Priority)
ISO: 200
F-value: F10
Shutter speed: 1/1.3 sec.
Tripod used


Photographing with different lenses and camera accessories

Photographing using a zoom lens or macro lens
Using a zoom lens or macro lens to close in on autumn leaves, flowers, and the like and blur the background allows you to greatly increase the beauty of photographs.
Image
ISO: 1600
F-value: F8
Shutter speed: 1/80 sec.
Lens focal length: 300 mm
*Photograph taken with a zoom lens at telephoto.

Photographing using a polarizing filter (PL filter)
Using a polarizing filter (PL filter) reduces sunlight reflection on clear days, allowing the subject to look crisp and enhancing the blueness of the sky to produce greater vividness.

NOTE: Polarizing filters do not exhibit their effects well in cloudy or rainy weather, so you should not use a polarizing filter under such conditions.

Shooting landscapes with blue sky

Without polarizing filter
Image
Shoot Mode: A (Aperture Priority)
ISO: 200
F-value: F8
Shutter speed: 1/320 sec.

With polarizing filter
Image
Shoot Mode: A (Aperture Priority)
ISO: 200
F-value: F8
Shutter speed: 1/160 sec.

Shooting water surfaces

Without polarizing filter
Image
Shoot Mode: A (Aperture Priority)
ISO: 100
F-value: F4.5
Shutter speed: 1/200 sec.

With polarizing filter
Image
Shoot Mode: A (Aperture Priority)
ISO: 100
F-value: F4.5
Shutter speed: 1/60 sec.