The Art Science and Craft of Great Landscape Photography by Glenn Randall

Rating: 8/10

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The Art Science and Craft of Great Landscape Photography by Glenn Randall

Rating: 8/10

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High-Level Thoughts

Great book on landscape photography, for novices and intermediate photographers alike.

Summary Notes

For scouting, look for areas with a compelling foreground that integrates seamlessly with a strong mid-ground and background.

The wind is often calmest right at sunrise.

The smaller the body of water, the better the chance of a perfect reflection.

For searching for flowers, density trumps breadth. A small dense patch is better than an expansive less dense grouping.

Most good landscape photographs are made early or late in the day (blue/golden hours).


  • Frontlighting, where the light comes from behind you, will make the subject look flat.
  • Sidelighting better reveals the contours of the land.
  • Backlight, with the light behind the subject, can add drama by rimlighting your subject.
  • The best “glow” lighting typically occurs 15-30 minutes before sunrise or after sunset.


  • They can only appear when the sun’s elevation is below 42* off the horizon.
  • To predict a rainbow, face your shadow, and put your hands out in front of you with thumbs touching and your left pinky in your shadow’s head.


  • Decide what elements you want to include in the scene and exclude everything else, get close and keep it simple.
  • Most beginners make the mistake of including too much irrelevant clutter around the main subject.
  • Don’t un-center the subject just to play by the rules, make it make sense. If there’s no reason, then make it a full-frame shot.
  • Another beginner’s mistake is to allow some distracting trivia into the shot. Watch out for branches and such, check your edges!
  • Context is also important: A very tall peak can be helped by having some of the shorter peaks around it.
  • Typically don’t put the horizon right in the middle, either ⅔ sky or ⅔ land.
  • Using a wide angle lens with flowers right in front of you will help enhance the depth of the field.

Focus Stacking

  • To create an image nicely focused throughout the frame when you have something really close and some stuff really far… take a few photos on a tripod at different focuses then consult the book for combining them.

Rembrandt Solution for difficult lighting

  • Take one photo exposed for highlights, and one photo exposed for shadows
  • Keep the aperture and ISO consistent, just change the shutter speed
  • Check the book for combining photos

High Contrast Situations

  • Take three photos, one normal, one at +2, one at -2, and combine in photoshop according to the book


  • You can combine photos in photoshop, just be sure the exposure settings are all the same. You need the camera in manual mode to keep it consistent.

Night Sky Photos

  • Consult the book for editing
  • Basic settings: 30s f/2.8 ISO 6400

Eyes will first go to the lightest tones of a photograph.

Old saying: “A $10 photographer scenes a scene they like and takes a picture. A $100 photographer moves three steps to the left first. A $1,000 photographer moves three steps to the left and one back to the right.”

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