Mastering Landscape Photography is a focused workshop that will provide you with everything you need to take your landscape photography to the next level. It is shot in the southern Colorado Rockies and provides almost three hours of video training with landscape photographer Phil Hawkins.
All of the videos contained within are short, focused, and solution-oriented. The instructor takes you through the equipment, what to expect in the field, the various technical setting you should be using, and finishing off your work in post-production. There is also a 30 page booklet that highlights what you learn in the video as well as additional information.
Chapter 1, “Before You Go Out,” takes a look at what to expect when you are going out into the field and this includes things like weather, uncomfortable conditions, and other things that you may find when you shoot. Next you will learn how to set up your camera for capturing the best possible images. This includes the 5.6 rule so that you can avoid vignetting.
You will also learn about shooting JPEG vs. RAW, the necessary use of tripods and some examples of what not to use, the world of lenses and which kind you will really need, filters and which ones you really need to carry along, and how to pack for the field.
Chapter 2, “Capturing the Scene,” begins by looking at the histogram and how you can use it to make sure your exposures are correct to capture the best of both shadows and highlights in your image. Next you will learn how to make rivers and waterfalls have that motion blur look. You will learn about panoramic stitching so that you can capture an image that is wider than your camera could normally capture it and then you will also see how to do it when not using a tripod.
Then you will see how to use reflections in your images to create geometric patterns and colors, how best to compose your image bring out just what you want in your image, you will learn the difference be just taking a photo and capturing the scene, how to use the manual mode to your benefit, and finally how best to capture the sky and the detail in the clouds.
Chapter 3, “Post-Processing,” starts off with the workflow basics and several programs that work together to create an efficient workflow. Next you will the benefits of converting your RAW images using Capture One vs. Adobe Camera Raw, the difference between saving images in RAW, JPEG, and TIFF formats, and then two lessons on working with global adjustments.
You then will take a look at manually balancing the dynamic range of your image so that it will really pop, using High Dynamic Range (HDR) as a dynamic range balancing tool, using Photoshop’s Shadow/Highlight dialog box to work an image, leveling your horizon in post-processing, processing clouds, the use of plug-in software, and preparing your image for print and the internet.
Mastering Landscape Photography is really well done and easy to understand. The presentation is straightforward and presented in a manner that almost anyone can understand. What I liked best is that for the first two chapters you are out in the field with the instructor where he walks you through everything you need to capture great photos, but chapter three, he takes the photos and walks you through everything you need to post process your photos to ensure that they come out their best.
There are lesson files that come with the DVD so that you can work with the post processing section and a booklet that provides additional information. If you want to learn how to take better landscape photographs then I highly recommend Mastering Landscape Photography.