Tag Archives: landscape

The best destinations for landscape photography in Lapland, in the northernmost region of Europe

2017-03-07

Lapland is a vast wilderness region in the northern Europe. It is a land of Sami people and reindeer, fells, fjords, rivers, marshlands, and many types of wildlife. In other words, a fabulous destination for outdoor lovers, road travelers who appreciate majestic landscapes and for nature photographers. I recently wrote a guidebook to Lapland, and since I have extensively toured the region I can tell that it provides almost endless opportunities for delightful nature photography.
Rovaniemi, Arctic Circle. From travel guidebook LaplandThe Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi.

Before I share you my recommendations for the best places to visit and to take those perfect pictures of fells, fjords, villages, reindeer and people of Lapland, let me give you my estimation what is the most photographed place in Lapland. It probably is the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, Finland. Rovaniemi is a major traffic hub in Lapland where tourists arrive across the world. The Arctic Circle is only a few miles from the airport and from the city, and it has developed into a major attraction.

Top 5 places in Lapland for exciting landscape photography

Abisko, Sweden

Abisko, Sweden. Lapland, north Europe
The scenery in Abisko is magnificent both in summer and winter. In summer (July and August) it is warm and you can shoot through the night because there is some sunlight even at midnight. In winter, it is cold and dark, but the Northern Lights, snowy landscape and perhaps spending a day on a ski track makes it all worth it.

Kilpisjärvi, Finland

Kilpisjarvi, Finland. Saana fell in Lapland, Scandinavia.
Saana fell is the landmark and the most photographed item in Kilpisjärvi, but there is much more. Kilpisjärvi is located in the fell region, but you don’t have to go far towards west when the landscape changes quite dramatically. After entering Norway, gently sloping fells turn into mountains, gorges and fjords of Norway. Great variety for photographers in a relatively small area.

Lofoten, Norway

Lofoten, Norway. A fishing village port on shore of a fjord
Lofoten is a large archipelago on the northwest coast of Norway. When you arrive on Lofoten, you can forget about rushing from one place to the next. The landscape is all about mountains and fjords across the islands. Small villages and tiny fishing towns here and there on the shores remind travelers that people live here, too. The sea provides additional photography opportunities: whale, seal, and bird watching tours give a new perspective to the scenery and wildlife.

Tromsö, Norway

Tromsö, Norway, view from mountain above town
Tromsö gives photographers opportunities not only to capture images of spectacular sceneries, but also city life. It is a vibrant city, full of young energy that university students bring to the streets, many restaurants, bars and cafés. Since mountains and fjords surround Tromsö, hiking to the heights or taking a sea tour provide many new angles for photographers as well.

Ylläs, Finland

Reindeer at Aakenus fell in Yllas-Pallas national park Finland, Lapland, north Europe.
Ylläs is a year-round destination for vacation-goers who seek outdoor activities, but especially Finns love to hike in this fell region in autumn. Fabulous fell sceneries around the year, reindeer, wild berries, and the colors of autumn. In addition to the environment, Ylläs and the region around it is a home for a few resorts that make traveling and staying in there easy and convenient.

How, where and when to travel in Lapland?

A trip to Lapland requires some planning because the distances can be long and towns are few. The guidebook (Lapland – North of the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia) I wrote helps in all aspects of planning and actually traveling in this exotic region.

Here are a few bookstores where the Lapland guidebook is available:

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Apple iBooks
Barnes & Noble Nook Books
Google Play Books

Tips for landscape photography on a smartphone

2015-09-12

Camera technology on modern smartphones is, in fact, amazingly good. Wisely, smartphone manufacturers are not anymore competing for the number of megapixels the camera can capture, but they are competing for the quality of images. Selfies maybe the most common type of photo captured on a smartphone, but many photographers – even professionals – use their phones for landscape photography as well. Here are tips for snapping beautiful sceneries on a smartphone.

Scenery near Narvik, Norway

A scenery in Lapland, Norway.

The following eight tips were shared by David Hayes on Enlight App blog.
1. Go old school. Study great photos and paintings created by masters.
2. Give your landscape a focal point. Something that leads the viewer into the world the image portrays.
3. Pay attention to the foreground of the frame. An object in the foreground gets attention.
4. Leading lines. A line – a road, path or similar – is a proven technique to implement the tip 2 or 3.
5. What is in your horizon? Decide if the sky has a dominant role in your picture or the earth, and follow the rule of thirds.
#6: Watch your light. Shadows create contrast and sometimes, drama. An hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset have magical light.
7. Capture movement. This is difficult in a still image, but an experienced photographer can capture movement.
8. Perspective. Find new angles for your landscape images.

smartphone holder on a tripod
Two additional tips that we have found useful:
1. Get a phone holder that you can attach to a tripod. It lets you take selfies with the timer on your phone camera and if you shoot video, you get better quality video clips.
2. In some places, the landscape should be captured as a panorama image. Check the features of your camera if it allows taking panorama photos. If it doesn’t, the panorama image can be created afterwards, but it tends to be tedious work.

saariselka kaunispaa, Lapland, panorama

Mountain scenery in Lapland captured on a smartphone as a 180 degree panorama.

Check out tips from a professional photographer for landscape photography on a smartphone.

Don’t forget to shoot video. Here is an example how a smartphone video camera captured exactly the right moment when the sun was setting over the sea. The only camera that was around at the moment happened to be a phone, and it did a great job.

Books that feature landscape photography are, for instance, a travel guide to Provence and a guide to Sweden.

How a Professional Photographer Frames Landscapes with a Smartphone

2015-05-05

Millions of people around the world take billions of photos on their smartphones every day. Professional photographers are proud to use their digital SLR cameras, but tend to look down on smartphone cameras. Julian Calverley is an exception. He shoots images for advertisements with a professional camera, but uses his Apple iPhone for landscape photos. How does he do it?

smartphone holder on a tripod

Here is a tip from our smartphone photographer: purchase a mini-size tripod and a phone holder that can be attached to the tripod.

For many travelers, landscape photography is the most difficult genre in photography. You see a stunning scenery in front of you, grab your camera, take a few pictures and can’t wait to view them on a large screen in your hotel room. Often, even if you have a good camera, landscape photos are disappointments because they didn’t capture the beauty of the scenery at all.

Cnet’s Andrew Hoyle got an interview from Julian Calverley who makes some very good points on photography, and shares a few tips for taking landscape images on a smartphone.

Why smartphone?
“It was a new-found freedom really. This thing was always in my pocket — in the past, everything was thought about. I had to think, ‘OK, I’m going to take my camera out, I’m going to take X amount of gear with me.’

“The downside is that people think anyone can take a picture now. Because software and camera equipment has dumbed the process down so much it’s easier to get a good result. Obviously, you can’t ‘buy’ composition and lighting.”

Tips for camera phone photographers:
1. “Avoid things that are really contrasty, because of the dynamic range of the phone.”

2. “I tend to go for simple scenes, simple compositions. The nice thing is, because you’re doing it on a phone, you have a reasonable sized preview — if an image works at that size, you’re onto something.”

3. “It’s very easy for the lens to get dirty when you’re taking it out of your pocket, so make sure you give it a wipe with a cloth — that’s basic, but it’s important.

4. “Always keep the horizons horizontal. You can correct that in apps, but you’ll lose quality to crop in.”

5. “You still need to have an eye for a good shot. That will never change.”

Julian Calverley has published a book #iphoneonly of his best landscape photos. His photo collection on Instagram features both digital SLR and smartphone photos.

How to Create Eye-Catching Landscape Photos

2015-03-18

Travel writers and photographers tend to take plenty of photos as the move around a destination they are covering. Most images never get published, because they don’t have that extra something, but they are still important since they document the place and remind how it was. There is a technique, however, that can turn a dull travel photo into an eye-catching image: Tilt-shift.
tourrette-levens, tilt-shift castle and village
Tilt-shift effect can be created optically, or in a photo editor app. The optical method requires you to attach a special lens to your DSLR camera. The problem with special lens method is that you have know when you are taking the photo that it is going to be a tilt-shift image. The lens is expensive as well.

Often, tilt-shift photos are created in an image editor application, like Photoshop, Gimp, or Paint.net. Here are the steps required to turn a landscape photo into a tilt-shift image.

1. Select a sharp photo with good light. Especially the area that will be in focus must be sharp.

2. The photo must have depth. There has to be foreground, center, and background in the image.

3. Photos taken from above seem to suit to tilt-shift technique. Franck suggests that 40-65 degrees above the subject would be the optimal angle.

4. Now that you have selected a photo, open your photo editor.

From here on, you have to know how to use your photo editor. I can tell you what needs to be done, but not how, because every editor has its own functions.
tilt-shift photo edit guide
5. Choose the select tool in your editor and select the area in the image that will be in focus. Often, a subject in the center is the best.

6. Blur or unfocus the image, but only outside the selected area.

7. Increase saturation for the image outside the selected area.

8. Sometimes increasing contrast of the selected area tilts and shifts it even more.
tilt-shift guide photo editing
You have to try and adjust the modification levels in steps 6, 7 and 8 until you are happy with the result.

The sample photo used in this guide was taken in Tourrette-Levens in Cote d’Azur, France.