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Australian Photography Tours Landscape Photography Tips

There are several major issues you will experience during your landscape photography activities whilst visiting Australia. They are specific to Australia and they all are based on strong sunlight and the glare generated by our seas, beaches and sandstone coastline.
I have compiled the following list to help you whilst on tour or holiday.

Ken Hall
Australian Photography Tours
Gwondana Photography Pty Ltd

Visit our 2014 BOOKING page - 2014 Tours and Workshops Booking Page

Table of Contents

  1. Shooting in bright daylight
  2. The use of filters
  3. The Weight factor
  4. Centering your subject
  5. Photography equipment to bring
  6. Cameras, Point n Shoot and Smart phones
  7. Shooting from eye level
  8. Watch the background
  1. Travel insurance
  2. Taking commonplace shots
  3. Hand held photography
  4. The disadvantages of taking one shot
  5. Shooting in RAW
  6. Food & Refreshments
  7. The importance of professional operator Eco License / Accreditation

1. Shooting in bright daylight

The best light is from sunrise taking advantage of the softer morning light and extended shadows. Colours are rich and vibrant without the glare generated by our sandstone surrounds.
Bright illumination creates harsh shadows and lessens the vibrancy of colours. Many visitors wear hats with wide brims to protect the eyes shading them and requiring fill in light. Bright light also makes people squint or even close their eyes. Try photography on overcast days or very early or late in the day. The dappled light of rainforests presents an additional challenge which is absent on overcast days and early or late in the day.

2. Use of filters

I generally use circular polarisers on my lenses which help considerably with glare. They also give more vibrant colours.
Circular Polarising filers assist in eliminating glare on water allowing you to see into the water and photograph the beds of creeks, reefs etc.

3. The Weight factor

A major issue when traveling is weight. Who wants to carry a heavy backpack with a couple of cameras and a range of lenses. Much of the photography on one of my Facebook pages is from my Samsung Smart phone.
The camera is the device which captures and temporarily stores your photographs.
YOU are the photographer.
In some countries large camera packs indicate wealth. If you must carry lots of gear try and find a pack which doesn't shout wealth.

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4. Centering the subject

Sometimes plagues veterans too. Generally but not always centered subjects are Boring! Sometimes centering produces great results but the times are much rarer than you might guess.
Plan your shots to get better results. Use something in the foreground to give depth. Use fences, creeks, paths or natural feature to lead the eye into your subject.
A good photograph tells a story. Simply obey the thirds rule, it works most of the time. With experience you can learn to compose images in other ways that are neither centres

5. Photography equipment to bring

  • Camera manual, very important
  • Fully charged batteries
  • Point N Shoot or Mobile Phone

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  • Cleaning kit
  • Circular polarizing filter
  • Lens hood
  • Telephoto lens if available
  • Memory cards (1500 - 2000 images)
  • Tripod

6. Cameras, Point n Shoot and Smart phones

My tours cater for everybody over 16years with whatever camera type you choose to bring.
On every personal photography shoot I take along my DSLR then at the end of the shoot I use a GoPro, Point n Shoot or Mobile phone. The results from the mobile phone is very good and there are better phones on the market now mine is 3 years old.
Sony has just brought out a lens system which attaches to a mobile phone called the Sony QX1. They say "Both in terms of colour and detail, these images go way beyond what a smart phone is capable of." Quote Digital Camera.

7. Shooting from eye height

This lack of technique places your photos into the run-of-the-mill category. Squatting, kneeling, lying down or going high gives you something different. Get above your subject; shoot down from a hill, a balcony, the top of a flight of stairs, or from a second-floor window. I supply large garbage bags so you can lie flat on the ground and not get muddy or wet.

8. Watch the background

The background can make or break your photograph. Learn about Depth of Field (DoF). It's great fun to use and allows your artistic talents to grow. Ahh, reckon you haven't got any, you will after starting to play with your DoF.

Wack the camera into Aperture Priority and you'll be amazed at the results.

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9. Travel insurance for tour participants

Personal travel insurance is not included in the tour price.
Obtain insurance for your equipment. Your insurance should protect you against any accidental loss or damage to your photographic equipment, as well as any personal injuries or emergency transportation costs and the cost of a companion to travel with you during an emergency situation.

10. Taking commonplace shots

Whilst teaching in the Blue Mountains I often see photographers walk to the base of the waterfall, lift up their cameras with a telephoto lens attached and take 3-4 shots then leave.
They don't look around, they don't assess the possibilities and the possible options that the waterfall offers.
This lack of forethought is common. Lets be honest, standing at the base of a waterfall and photographing water flowing over black rock probably with lost detail from glare isn't going to produce the best shots.
My students are around the sides and at the back of the waterfall producing some great photographs.

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11. Hand held photography

Modern image-stabilization hardware has limitations. It can’t freeze camera shake that’s too fast or too extreme, it does not allow for slow shutter speeds or timed exposures, and in some cases it can even work against you.
Tripods can’t be used in prohibited areas, where there isn’t sufficient space, when there is no time to set them up, or when they are too heavy to lug the distance you must walk. But you don’t have to have a super lightweight, expensive, carbon-fibre tripod for most purposes.
Furthermore, other types of camera supports exist: monopods, beanbags, and so on. Photos are so much sharper when a tripod or other support is used; some kind of support should be employed whenever and wherever possible.

12. Taking one shot

Many years ago I was limited by the cost of film development. These days it's so easy.
Don't just take one photograph and move on. Assess your subject from different angle and distances, take several shots from different positions and review. This is the way to learn.
The main focus on our photography workshops is the photographer and composition.

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13.Shooting in Raw

RAW files are simply what the camera sees. Upload your files to a computer and your files will be converted to .JPEG with a maximum of 16.7 million colours.
Now isn't that a reason to shoot in RAW because there is more colour and detail?
. jpeg images take up less computer storage space than do raw images.
You can do a better job of post-processing with modern, easy to learn, inexpensive software? RAW software is often supplied by the manufacturer on the camera CD. I believe it is part of a Mac operating system or at least available.
jpeg compression narrows the dynamic range of your photo, changes colours and can’t be undone. Virtually all post-processing software is now non-destructive, so whatever you do, you can undo.

14. The importance of professional operator Eco License / National T-Qual Accreditation

Australian Photography Tours (Gwondana Photography Tours P/L) meets the Ecological requirements of National Parks for professional tourism in the locations monitored by them.
We are also accreditation by T-Qual Accreditation for the high standards we ensure in our business. Make sure that you book with a business that has the required Eco License from National Parks in NSW when you want to enjoy guided experiences in our beautiful parks.

Their guidelines ensure we at Australian Photography Tours:

  1. Are aware of environmental and safety requirements of New South Wales National Parks.
  2. Work with National Parks by lodging returns on the number of tours and visitors on our activities enabling better management of the tracks, trails and facilities.
  3. That there is no conflict with the Rights of locals by over use of their locality.

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Tour programme and contact details:
  • Contact Ken today on +61 2 4628 2528 / 02 4628 2528 or
  • Email for additional information.
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Contact details:
  • Contact Ken today on+61 2 4628 2528 / 02 4628 2528 or
  • Email for additional information.
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