As a landscape photographer, you must learn that light gives life to each landscape in its own unique way. Light creates emotion and mood in a landscape. Photography is all about capturing the ways in which light bring transformation to a landscape. As a result, in landscape photography, you must always ask: Does this say something about the landscape?
Dawn light always ushers in a new day, new experience. You never know what to wait for as the darkness wears out. You might get the shot that you have always wanted, or get nothing. That is why dawn light carries surprises. There are many variations of what the dawn sky brings, but most of the world may awake to what you have already captured.
Landscape photography is made difficult by the dynamic range that you encounter. There is no way to control the balance of light in the field. The shot is always better because of the impossible dynamic range.
Lake Manaka in New Zealand has one of the most elegant vistas in the world; a photo taken at dawn is always breath taking. However, at dusk, the sun is coming from behind surrounding mountains and they still appear beautiful but very commonplace.
Having decided that the shot is now not worth taking, the photographer walks to his car and looks back when he is at the car’s door. And he sees the trees that he had not seen earlier; they look beautiful and so he takes a shot of the most beautiful scene. The obvious shot is not always the best.
One useful software is: “The Photographers Ephemeris”. It allows you to choose any location in the world, on any date of choice and at any time of the day and it shows you the exact position of the sun on that day. As such, you can always plan ahead and find the best day and time to take a great photograph of that landscape.
Equipment is not what produces the best photos. Equipment is just a tool that transmits you into someone else. You just need a great landscape and you can use even a phone to take a great photograph. Always remember that you are the one who composes the photographs that a camera captures.
Most of the photos on the internet nowadays are processed through many filters. Landscape photographs should not pass through any effect filters; why not let nature speak for itself? Landscape photography is all about letting nature tell its story, but most photos tell false stories as the result of Photoshop and other effect filters.
Rain and clouds are not the most encouraging weather conditions. However, they create opportunities that are more interesting that a cloudless day. Nature sometimes comes with extraordinary effects which are not the results of any software.
Sometimes luck is the determinant of getting that superb shot. If you spot a scene with great potential, keep going back to it and you will increase the quality of your first shots with time.
Finding your own unique voice as a photographer means being choosy on what advice you take.