Create stunning landscape portraits throughout the day.

by Douglas Hoffman on July 3, 2021

Most landscape and nature photographers know the best light is just after sunrise and just prior to sunset. While that is true, it is possible to create stunning images throughout the day. The way to do it is manage the light coming into the camera. Neutral Density filters and Graduated Neutral Density Filters are two tools I use to create beautiful portraits in the camera as to avoid spending lots of time in post production editing.

Created at noon

This image was created while the sun was high in the sky and quite intense. I wanted to create a portrait that showed the soft beauty of the incoming waves coming in contrast to the stark lava coast of Makena. In my minds eye I saw a silky foreground, and when it came to setting up the camera used a 6 graduated graduated filter by BreakThrough Photography. This allowed me to get a long exposure and create the swirl in the water.

At sunset while the light is nice, I often use a 3 stop reverse graduated filter because the horizon is the brightest part of the image. The filter lowers the exposure where the sun is, producing great tonal range throughout the scene.

Just prior to sunset

There are many sunsets where instead of a reverse grad, a 2 or 3 stop graduated is better filter. This lowers the light in the sky and allows the use of slow shutter speeds to control motion. In the portrait below I used a 2 stop graduated filter. IN this case the filter slowed me to get to a slow shutter speed so I could damage the the light and motion. When it comes to landscape photography motion evokes emotion.

Sunset with a 2 stop Graduated filter

Stay tuned for more posts like this and when in Maui consider a private workshop