Outdoor Photography: Art without Boundaries

Photography is an art. While most individuals own at least a digital camera, taking quality, stunning pictures is the perfect combination of science and passion. With the influx of cameras on cell phones, personal MP3 players and portable video games, people have the ability to take photographs when ever the urge occurs; however, desire is not enough without proper technique and execution. Like most art mediums, photographs must know how to transform a simple passion into a transcendental piece of genius. Cameras, even advanced digital cameras, can be equipped with an endless number of lenses, attachments, flash settings and filters. Amateur photographers will often never venture outside of the comfort of the default settings, but professional photographers, true artists, will never cease experimenting.

Outdoor photography is a completely different challenge than typical photography. Inside closed doors, the environment is rather predictable; a flash will need to be used, but usually the light is consistent and the distance rarely greatly than a few feet. Outdoors, however, conditions are constantly changing; sunlight filters through moving trees, mountains loom in the distance, animals or people move forward and backward, in and out, weaving through the landscape. Outdoor photography can be a daunting undertaking for an amateur; blurred pictures, cut-off images, dark buildings and blinding glare can destroy any photographer's hope for success. But with a few simple tips, outdoor photography can be easy, fun and a lot more rewarding than any other style.

Taming the Wilds

The number one factor that sets outdoor photography apart is light. While this can be an obstacle to overcome, it can also be a useful tool and the key to unique, breathtaking images. Backlighting can bring inanimate objects to life, creating contrast that causes colors to truly glow. Bad weather can also be an unexpected bonus; clouds and storms, fog and win can set both the mood and the atmosphere, and the very composition of a scene. The sky can act as a natural diffuser; heavy clouds can blanket the horizon, causing sunlight to filter evenly throughout the environment, making for an easy, even photograph. Shadows are also gifts during any outdoor photography endeavor. Like backlighting, shadows create contrast, which helps bring colors to life and truly separate the lines and details of subjects.

There are other effects unique to outdoor photography that can make for stunning art. Landscapes are naturally layered, and depending on focus, creative composition is possible in every environment, and the popular panorama shot is always better when used in nature. The risks with outdoor photography, such as jittery camera hands, motion control and condensation on the camera lens, can all be quickly and simply prevented with a few tools such as wipes, tripods and faster film and shutters. With outdoor photography, practice makes perfect, and once photographers test and understand their limits, and the limits of their equipment, the art they create will rise above what they ever thought possible.