person walking between green forest trees
Photo by Luis del Río on

Sometimes I feel like just taking my camera out in to nature and see what types of great photos I can get. But you know it’s a skill to go out in to nowhere and try to find a photo that meets your criteria. You want to get great photos of nature, but, how do you just come up with great photos when the scenery, the clouds, the weather don’t just turn out.

Today, I have found a video that I think tells us how one photographer (Simon Booth) just goes out and finds amazing photos to take regardless of the conditions. That to me is a special exercise called: “LEARNING TO SEE”.

I have done several courses in just that subject. There are things all around us, if we just learn to look around us, and find the right photo. I have developed a special course on “LEARNING TO “SEE” A PHOTO, THEN CREATE YOUR MASTERPIECE”. JUST “CLICK HERE” To order your special download copy now

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The above video is so good, because he can find a photo, almost everywhere he goes. For more information also go to: CLICK HERE – How to make your photos truly unforgettable.


body of water under cloudy sky during daytime
Photo by InstaWalli on


If I could choose what I want in all my landscape photos, it would be CLOUDS! Clouds add so much to the most boring photo that it should be something that would get you out of the house and go take some photos.

The proper use of clouds in an image can add texture, dimension, and drama to many photos, while enhancing or serving as an additional storytelling feature for your main subject. One of my own favorite landscape photos is one I took in the fall, and the clouds just added to the fall colors:

Photo by Lanny Cottrell photography – Editor of 123PhotoGo

As I look at this photo, and trying to decide if the photo would have been ok without the clouds, I just think maybe, but the clouds added so much more to the composition of this photo.


Photo by Lanny Cottrell photography – editor of 123photogo

Sunset photos without clouds is just boring. Clouds always makes better sunset photos. Often, if we see clouds in the sky at 4pm, we will grab our camera and head to the large lake in our area and get ready for the show.


man in gray shit sitting on rock boulder
Photo by Daffa Rayhan Zein on
view of cityscape
Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on
close up photo of coconut tree
Photo by Suparerg Suksai on

Some of the best photos you ever take are photos that tell stories. You can’t always order clouds that produce storms, or tornadoes, but if you are one that watches the weather, you should be able to capture some great “story-telling photos”.

Making clouds work for you in this way usually requires a little bit of planning, some location scouting (always fun!), the right subject, and, course, keeping a sharp eye on the sky for weather that will produce great clouds.

When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.

–Robert Frank

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To enhance the colors, and the dynamics of the clouds, use a polarizer filter. That filter was well discussed in this blog: Click here:

We now sell “Polarizing filters” !! Go to this link above and order yours now. We only sell top quality glass filters.


a stream in a forest
Photo by Роман Микрюков on

Atmospheric photos is one of the most well loved type of photos you can do. As you want to get involved in this type of photos (fog photos), there are several tips you should remember as you take these photos:


Photo by Lanny Cottrell – editor of 123photogo

As you look at this photo above, I have this one issue that I didn’t really see until the photo was on memory. But, for me, I kinda liked it. Bottom right corner, you can see a strange round circle that my confuse some people. I debated whether I should post process this photo and have it all touched up and removed, but, I kinda liked it. It shows that me, the photographer, was willing to stand out in the rain to get this photo. What do you think?

Photo by Lanny Cottrell – editor of 123photogo

2- Look for clouds you can see approaching your spot:

With this photo above, I was in the Grand Tetons, which is one of the most scenic places in the world, but, I happened to be there as it was raining and snowing. I am not in any fog in this photo, but, the clouds were moving down the mountains as I was taking photos. This makes a mountain scene look even more interesting. Watch for these type of photo opportunities.

3- Take a walk in the park:

Photo by Lanny Cottrell – Editor – 123photogo

Not too many people think of going for a walk in the fog, but, with today’s cameras, you can get some amazing photos if you go for a walk in the fog, and at night time. Keep in mind that as you take a walk in the fog, you will be cold but dress appropriately. And this was done on an automatic mode, so the light meter did not freak out over this whole scene.

Word of caution about taking pictures in the cold:

  • The temperature at night time, in the winter fog, is really cold. Your camera is not going to like this too much as you try to take pictures for a period of time. Maybe bring an extra set of batteries, or charge another battery in case the battery quits working in the cold.
  • For is very wet. If you can check your camera often and make sure you don’t get it wet. Water damage is not good. If you have water damage on your camera, you will probably need to plan on replacing the camera, rather than have it repaired.
  • Keep track of the time, so that you don’t have issues with your extremities. Your fingers and toes are the first to go.


We live in a great world, where we can do what we want in “Post processing”. So many photographers use this and create their masterpiece photos with “Lightroom”.

Natural fog, with only lightening the photo so the snow is white.


Taking photos in the fog, to me, is one of the most satisfying projects you can do. Especially because not too many photographers do this. Go out and get cold, and have some fun.

New photo courses available, and on special now. As low as $4.95 to learn how to “create a masterpiece photo”. Learn more about this by going to:

Learn how to photograph in the “BLUE HOUR”

Also known as twilight, Blue Hour refers to that time of the day just after the Golden Hour. Depending on your location, it may be shorter (or longer) than an hour but happens before sunrise or after sunset”

Some photographers have understood this to be as valuable as photos taken during the “Golden Hour”.

The one thing that you need to add to your equipment arsenal is the mighty tripod. A tool every photographer should have. You should realize that the sun has gone down, and this is a harder photo to take because your light has gone down. This is the “BLUE HOUR”.

Photo by Hakan Tahmaz from Pexels

From the pictures you see here, these photos are all landscape photos. So you would use the usual landscape rules. Watch that your horizon line is not down the middle of the photo. Either have more sky if it’s so magical or more foreground if it’s got extra color to add to it.

Photo by KEHN HERMANO from Pexels

A lot of “BLUE HOUR” photos have purple in the colors as well. This is only natural and is a bonus while trying to capture the twilight colors.

If you like to take photos of sunsets, then this should be real fun for you. First take a photo of the sunset, then wait a few minutes and see how the twilight looks. If you have clouds in your sunset, then the “BLUE HOUR” effects will be absolutely amazing.

Notice with this photo, the fog created the “blue hour” beautifully because the sun had set, and the sky reflected the blue into the fog.


If you notice the clouds in the sky and they produce a beautiful sunset, then just wait till the sun sets, and check out the different types of blue and purple that comes after the sunset. And remember, because the sun has gone down, the tripod will be the thing that saves these amazing photos.

Also, give it time to give you colors. Depending on where you are the “blue Hour” may last up to an hour after the sun goes down.


seashore during nighttime
Photo by Dominika Roseclay on

Lighting in landscapes is a bit more complicated, and in this blog, I hope to clear up all the details of the different types of lighting, and how we can use the different types of lighting to help our landscape photos.


Landscape photographers talk about two essential lighting characteristics: the quality and the direction.

Lighting quality refers to the hardness or softness of the light, where soft light produces limited shadows and saturated colors, while hard light adds lots of contrast and heavy shadows.

And lighting direction refers to the direction at which the light strikes your subject. For instance, noontime sunlight hits the subject from above, evening sunlight hits the subject from the side, etc.

Generally, lighting quality is the bigger deal here. Because while it’s possible to experiment with different directions for beautiful results, if you fail to understand lighting quality, you’ll capture consistently mediocre (or just bad) photos.

At the same time, you should understand how to work with different lighting directions – it’s how you can add depth and dimension to your photos, for one – which is why I dedicate several sections to the topic.


Reflected light, also called bounced or diffused light, occurs when direct sunlight reflects off an adjacent surface. It can make for stunning photos, thanks to its soft, even, beautiful effect.

The canyons in the Southwest are perfect for this type of light, as the sun beams against the rocks and is reflected all around, creating a gorgeous warm glow:

landscape photography lighting Zion

To work with reflected light, you’ll generally need a bright surface such as pale rock walls, a white beach, etc. – otherwise, you’ll fail to get a nice reflection effect. You’ll also need bright sun, ideally toward the middle of the day.


foggy, overcast lighting Morro bay

Light on overcast and foggy days is soft, subdued, and bluish. Shadows are negligible, and light directionality essentially disappears.

While cloudy light can work great for landscape photos, thanks to the flattering, soft effect and lack of harsh shadows, you need to be careful; a cloudy sky tends to look boring, so do what you can to block it out with trees, mountains, and other landscape elements.

Cloudy days are also great for colorful landscape scenes, such as fields of flowers. The soft light evenly illuminates your subject and gives colors a subtle, saturated glow.


Backlight refers to any light that comes from behind your subject, like this:

Photo by Lanny Cottrell Photography

Note that you can have partial back-lighting, when the sun comes from roughly behind the subject, and you can have total back-lighting, when the sun beams out from directly behind the subject.

Back-lighting is a landscape photography favorite, especially when the sun is just above the horizon. Why? Back-lighting is dramatic, whether it’s combined with HDR effects (such as in the image above), or whether you use it to capture stunning silhouettes.

One tip: Pay careful attention to the position of the sun in your frame. You generally want to partially block the sun with a solid edge; that way, you can capture a beautiful sun-star. Alternatively, you can keep the sun out of the frame or position it behind a solid object, like a tree or a rock, to prevent a blown-out sky.


Photo by Lanny Cottrell Photography

Direct light is strong, harsh, and very unforgiving; you can generally find it a few hours after sunrise to a few hours before sunset, though as the sun moves higher in the sky (i.e., closer to noon), the light becomes more direct and even less flattering.

Because direct light produces such a harsh effect, some landscape photographers avoid it completely.


Photo by Ankhurr Chawaak on Unsplash

For most good landscape photographers, this is their favorite time to photograph. The side-lighting from the sun creates such a dramatic effect, and then the warm glow that is created when the sun is at that angle, it just makes for beautiful photos.


Open shade can be classified into two type of shade:

1- Shade caused by a lot of trees, buildings, etc. to create a natural shade. Some lighting may be inserted in this type of photo:

gray asphalt road surrounded by tall trees
Open shade: caused by trees, and buildings, etc. Very little light would be in this photo. ——–Photo by Pixabay on

2- A cloudy day, and everything is under the shade of clouds. May not have any shadows because of this:

Sometimes right after a storm you will still have total cloud cover, no shadows, but, still can be very beautiful.


light trails on highway at night
Photo by Pixabay on

Although, this is a landscape photo, the element of “human-made” lighting is inserted. This is totally a great photo, and the combination of the “man-made” lighting mixed with the ambient light, is a remarkable photo.


Now you have had the opportunity to study all the different types of lighting, in landscapes, now, when you go out to take landscape photos, study the light, and see how you can work the light to your advantage.

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