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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Don't forget to look over your shoulder

Back in April I wrote about photographing famous destinations at sunrise, and used it as an example of how you can get up early to get photos that nobody else has. Basically because the rest of the world is still asleep!

Something I didn't mention in that post that I want to talk about here is not to keep your eyes on the main game alone. When you're somewhere famous it's all too easy just to focus your camera on that one thing and forget about everything else. You need to look over your shoulder.

In fact this is a rule I always use when I'm out and about photographing. Whenever I feel myself always looking forward and what's coming up, I physically remind myself to turn around and look behind me.

April's post showed Lake Mashuuko at sunrise and it was a beautiful sight but when I could wrench myself away from it and turn around I was amazed to see this.

I hadn't even noticed this beautiful snow-capped mountain in the darkness when I first arrived. I love the way the light goes in bands of purple, to red to black where the sun hasn't hit yet. Even though the foreground is a couple of kilometres in front of the distant mountains I used a telephoto lens to compress the scene and make them look like they are nice and close. I also used a small aperture to increase the depth-of-field.

Often when you use a telephoto lens to photograph landscapes you find that if there is any fog, smog or just general haze the telephoto really emphasises this and makes photos unclear. Not on this morning though, as it was as clear as a bell.

So just remember that the photos you think you're going to take aren't the only ones you're allowed to. Always be prepared to look back over your shoulder and keep an open mind about what nature presents you with.

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