The great outdoors provide a wealth of photo opportunities, but you’ll want to keep a few things in mind when attempting to capture the beauty of a mountain landscape or a rushing waterfall. Here is a short list of tips to help improve your outdoor photography results.
Use Scene Modes
Most Olympus digital cameras have Scene Modes, which are ideal for many types of outdoor shots. “Landscape mode” is best for typical landscape shots as it optimizes the camera to capture vivid blues and greens. If you’re after close-in outdoor shots rather than landscapes, try your camera’s macro mode. Other popular outdoor shooting modes include Sunset, Beach and Snow, and Sport.
Want to capture a mountain landscape? Zoom all the way out for the best results. This will allow your camera to capture most of your view in the shot. Use a camera with a wide-angle lens, interchangeable lenses (E-System) or in-camera Panorama mode to capture even wider vistas.
If your camera has the “Landscape + Portrait” scene mode, try using it for shots where you want to capture your subject standing atop a rocky cliff in front of a scenic river canyon. Use this mode with flash to remove shadows from your subject’s face, while still capturing the enormity of the natural vista.
Don’t have “Landscape + Portrait” scene mode? Shoot at your camera’s extreme wide angle (zoom all the way out) and use your camera’s “fill-flash” to help reduce harsh shadows. If you have a camera Aperture Priority mode and choose the smallest (like f16 or f22) in order to ensure the broadest depth of field. Note: small apertures correspond to larger f-stop numbers, while large aperture settings correspond to smaller f-stop numbers, like f2, for example.
Not sure how close to get? Olympus cameras with a built-in flash have a flash working range of about seven feet, but it varies from model to model. External flashes available for models equipped with a hot shoe extend the range to as much as 50 feet. Whichever flash you use, if your subject is beyond its working range, there is a danger that your images will be underexposed (dark) or out of focus.
When you can’t move closer to your subject, don’t forget about your camera’s zoom. Zooming uses the camera’s optics to bring your subject closer to the camera, rather than the other way around.
If your camera has a digital zoom feature, you can get even closer, but keep in mind that digital zoom halves the resolution of your image for each multiple of magnification. That means you’ll capture less detail, which isn’t going to work in your favor if you plan to print enlargements. Your best bet is to shoot at your maximum optical zoom using the highest-quality recording format available.