- The Landscape Photography Book: The Step-by-Step Techniques You Need to Capture Breathtaking Landscape Photos Like the Pros
- National Geographic Greatest Landscapes: Stunning Photographs That Inspire and Astonish
- The Art, Science, and Craft of Great Landscape Photography
photo by Alphotographic via iStock
Welcome to the jungle! Wilderness photography, jungle photography, landscape photography, all of these genres have something in common. You’re outdoors.
Perhaps you don’t have a rainforest outside your front door, and that’s okay. The same jungle photography tips for extreme locations translate into basic landscape photography tips that can help you make better images of your outdoors photography adventures.
Let’s get your creativity kick started with some helpful hints and jungle photography tips that include gear choices, techniques, and methods that can used to capture great images and video footage.
Circular Polarizer Filter
photo by Mlenny via iStock
Since the earliest days of film photography, a polarizer filter has been a top choice for improving outdoor photographs. A circular polarizer (CPL), as opposed to linear (PL), is a special design of polarizer that will work with modern cameras that have autofocus and advanced metering systems.
Polarizers can be used to darken blue skies which increases the contrast between clouds and sky. You can see the effect in some of your favorite images that incorporate a dramatic sky.
A circular polarizer for your DSLR or mirrorless digital camera can remove reflections from glass or water. In some cases, it may even allow you to see through the glass or water in order to include whatever is beyond it into your image.
You have seen this in images of lakes, rivers, and tidal pools. It’s also useful in the concrete jungle of cityscapes that have so much glass on the skyscrapers.
Another, somewhat overlooked, source of light reflection in nature that can be tamed is plant leaves. A healthy, live plant has very reflective properties. Add in water vapor forming dew and there could be a lot of reflection from trees, bushes, and grass. A polarizer can help tame those.
photo by tobiasjo via iStock
Jungle photography, or wilderness photography in general, can have any of these conditions, or even all of them at once. So you can see how a high-quality polarizer can be considered an essential component of your landscape photography gear - especially in situations that involve a lot of water, plants, or sky, as you are likely to see in jungle and other wilderness scenes
Since you will need your filter choice to have superb optical quality, I like to recommend filter and holder systems. You get a holder with adapters to fit all your different lenses, and then choose a good filter to use in the holder. That way, you don’t spend a whole lot on separate filters for each lens.
Haida M10 Filter Holder System is one of the filter and holder systems I’ve found that incorporates high optical quality filters with robust, easy to use holders and adapters. In addition to the circular polarizer, this same system can be used for graduated neutral density (GND) filters and neutral density (ND) filters as well.
I discuss the M10 filter holder system in detail in this article. Check it out!
Recommended Landscape Photography Books:
Golden Ratio / Fibonacci Spiral and Rule of Thirds
Photo by KS KYUNG on Unsplash
As a compositional tip for wilderness and jungle photography, look for natural occurrences of the Golden Ratio or Fibonacci Spiral. It is everywhere in nature and also in a lot of man-made structures you will find in the concrete jungle of urban landscapes. Learn more about the Golden Ratio in the video below by Photoshop Hustler:
Once you get used to this amazing gift that natural mathematics has given photographic composition, you will easily find it everywhere.
Much like the Rule of Thirds composition tool, it works because our brains are wired in such a way that this type of composition is comfortable to view in a finished photographic image. These rules are actually more like guidelines we can use or ignore, we can even combine them.
photo by Lars Pohlmann via iStock
One of the more misunderstood methods and techniques for capturing great landscape images in High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. It’s misunderstood partially because of the way some photography how-to articles have presented it.
HDR photography can result in some very unusual looking, unnatural appearing final images. Which is fine if that’s what you’re trying to do. The technique can also be employed to create a natural view of the scene in front of you.
Our eyes and brain can instantly process a scene with a dynamic range far outside what our cameras can record properly. HDR lets you post process several images shot at different exposures, blending them together for an image that shows what’s in the deep shadows without blowing out the highlights of the scene.
If you have ever viewed a real estate listing online or previewed your next hotel room on the company website, you were viewing an HDR image. It can be one of your most valuable outdoor photography tools, too. Give it a try.
Graduated Neutral Density Filter
Photo by Reiseuhu on Unsplash
Post processing or image manipulation programs and shooting RAW digital files in camera has eliminated the need for many of the basic filters that film photographers used to view as essential landscape photography gear.
Two filter types that can still be seen as basic equipment for modern digital photography are circular polarizer (CPL) and graduated neutral density (GND) filters. These filters are color neutral so they add no color cast to the image file.
You can find GND filters in the same filter holder systems used for some CPL filters. For instance, if you have the CPL filter and holder listed above, all you would need to do is add the GND filter. In this case, the 100mm Red Diamond Medium Graduated Neutral Density Filter from Haida will fit in the same holder.
Graduated neutral density filters are useful in many landscape photography situations, including the scenes you would find in a lot of jungle photography. To summarize some previous tips we’ve given, use a GND to balance out the dynamic range of a view with lots of bright sky and darker foliage.
Gimbal Tripod Head
While it may not seem like carrying a tripod out into the jungle or wilderness is an optimal choice, proper camera support can make the difference in getting usable images versus not getting them.
photo by OSTILL via iStock
This is especially true if you will be attempting any wildlife images while out on your wilderness or jungle photography trek. What sets a gimbal head apart from other tripod heads is they add a huge amount of versatility to your stable camera support. Add in a quick release system and you have a very capable tool to add to your wilderness and landscape photography gear.
Gimbal tripod heads with quick release systems can be found for just about any budget. The Sevenoak SK-GH02 Carbon Fiber Gimbal-Type Tripod Head is a good medium priced example that will fit most of the better tripods.
I chose this one because it’s carbon fiber to go along with my carbon fiber outdoor use tripod..Carbon fiber is my preferred tripod for hiking, jungle, wilderness, and other outdoor photography. It’s strong yet lightweight. Carbon fiber also is comfortable in extremes of heat, cold, or very wet conditions
The Jungle Is Everywhere
Photo by Darren Lawrence on Unsplash
A photographer on a weekend trek to the wildlife refuge, mountain forest, or isolated beach can use the same techniques, methods, and specialty photographic gear that a photographer deep in the Amazon or Congo does.
Combine these simple jungle photography tips into whatever works for your own style of photography. It may require a little more effort and expenditure, but the results will speak for themselves as being worth it.