Landscape Hacks – Tips for Photography on Vacation

Hi, I’m Susan Dusseault of Lily Fields Photography. I will be an occasional contributor to Amanda’s great teaching blog. It is an honor to join her in her efforts to educate and encourage photographers.

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When Amanda found out I was going to Montana for a short trip, she asked me if I could put together a blog post about taking landscapes. I figured Montana was a great place to get some beautiful landscapes so I said “Sure, I’ll try!”  I was quite enthusiastic at the beginning of our trip but quickly realized upon our arrival that there would not be much time to scout locations and plan a shoot based on perfect lighting and time of day. We were there for personal reasons and much of our time was focused on family. So, I did the next best thing—Landscape hacks!

I took landscapes using both my big camera and my iPhone. Instagram is my favorite photo app. I have tried other editing apps, but I like to keep things simple.  Below you will see what I call my landscape hacks while on vacation! Most were taken outside my window as we were driving down the freeway!

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I tried to make a point to shoot what inspired me. We traveled from Oregon to Montana and the topography changes drastically. I’m used to lots of trees and a cluttered city environment so I was really drawn to the treeless flat lands; the stark nature with little to no interruptions. I enjoyed the change of color from many shades of dark green to the gold grasses and expansive blue skies dotted with a variety of white, silver, and gray clouds.

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When taking photos from a moving car, I rolled down my window and took a bunch in a row, to make sure I captured a clear shot without poles or distractions. Then I delete all but my favorite one. Instead of shooting straight out from the window, I shot at a slight angle, pointing the camera towards the front of the car. Then I crop! I crop out anything that is distracting, like parts of the car, window, or rear view mirror.  I throw a filter on it from Instagram, and often use the increase contrast button and there you have it! An imperfect landscape hack!

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When using my big camera I just make sure my shutter speed is high enough to get a sharp shot. Although, I fabulously blurred photo might be just as nice!

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Sometimes I shoot through the windshield. I like to get up nice and close to eliminate the dirty window distractions. See the difference?

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I’ll even shoot through the driver’s side window. This was taken through my husbands arms. I just cropped and zoomed when uploading to instagram.

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Even though I am just shooting out a moving car window, I still try to keep certain photography elements in mind when cropping or adding filters. Negative space, rule of thirds, the usage of lines, and texture are just a few of those.

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This time I did ask my husband to pull over so I could capture this breathtaking view. Thankfully there was a large shoulder and room for me to get out of the car and not worry about getting hit. (be safe and smart when doing this!)

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These images certainly are not going to win any awards. But they are a part of my memory and the important thing is that I enjoy them. Even if I couldn’t plan the perfect landscape shot I am satisfied that I got these. Sometimes vacations are so busy that this is all we can do. And that is OK!

Next time you go on a trip, try shooting out the window! Leave a comment below and let me know some of your favorite ways to capture landscapes on vacation.

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Comments

  1. 1
    jan feehan says:

    These are great! I do this all the time. I get really bored because our family lives far away. I use my athletic/preset on my Nikon when shooting out the window at an angle. I have gotten some really nice images this way. A little editing and there you have it. I rarely can get out of the car to take pictures. The driver is patient only to a point! HA Thank you for posting such a lovely tut.

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    Donald says:

    Great Pictures . Love it. In the past I was into film. All the lens and of course my Nikon. Past eight years I have been using a Nikon D40 with a Tamaron 18-270 mm lens. As I see your pictures. I want to go there and shoot too. I live in Southern California lots to shoot. Tell me what were you shooting . All the good stuff. My tip. Don’t over pack what you can’t carry easily.

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    Great tips! And I love your photos, I never would have guessed that you took them from inside the car. Now that we have a 6 month old baby traveling with us, we definitely don’t have time to stop since we are always trying to get somewhere before she loses patience with being in the car, so I will definitely have to give the in-car photos a try on our next trip! :-D

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    Donna Ganger says:

    I love how the colors POP!

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