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Making the Most of
Landscape Photography

I often photograph landscape with my standard 18 - 70mm lens, a tripod and remote shutter release to get the clearest image possible. Since my subject matter is patiently stationed before me, I figure it's worth the time to get set up properly. Sharp images are definitely worth the trouble if you plan on enlarging any of them. However, while hiking along trails in Colorado I usually stop so frequently that setting up a tripod every time would be far too time consuming. In those cases I save my tripod use for the best scenery and simply set my camera on a fence, lean against a tree or hold my breath with arms pressed against my sides to reduce hand shake for the rest of the photos.

colorado mountain range 2

For hikes of several miles or more, every pound you carry greatly affects your level of comfort and exertion, so find a compact lightweight tripod or monopod, preferably under 5 lbs. My tripod is 3.5 lbs. and even that feels heavy and cumbersome if carried for a few miles with a couple of lenses and water. Bring along certain filters appropriate for atmospheric haze in the mountains, glare on water surfaces or baggies to protect equipment while hiking in the sand.

dream lake clouds at rocky mtn national park

My husband carried the tripod during a long hike on an eastern trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. It came in handy because I used it to photograph a number of lakes and waterfalls. When we came to Dream Lake pictured here, a fisherman and several tourists made it impossible to get a good shot. As we hiked toward the end of the trail it started to rain. We continued undaunted as we doned our lightweight rain ponchos that adequately covered us and the equipment. On our return trip, we came across Dream Lake again and were happy to see that the rain had chased away all of the people. I was able to take a photo from where I wanted along with the added drama of the lingering clouds. Intermittent rain can serve good purposes when you are prepared.

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