In this ninety-sixth archive story by Kristian Bertel, we learn about landscape photography and taking landscape photographs in India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
India has a wide array of beautiful landscapes and it really depends on what you want to photograph that can make a great landscape photo but some of the best ones could be in Ranakpur in Rajasthan, India. Landscape photography shows spaces within the world, sometimes vast and unending, but other times microscopic and the landscape photographs typically capture the presence of nature but can also focus on man-made features or disturbances of landscapes.
India has a wide array of beautiful landscapes and it really depends on what you want to photograph that can make a great landscape photo but some of the best ones could be in Ranakpur in Rajasthan, India. Landscape photography shows spaces within the world, sometimes vast and unending, but other times microscopic and the landscape photographs typically capture the presence of nature but can also focus on man-made features or disturbances of landscapes.

Landscape photography in India

Landscape photography is done for a variety of reasons and perhaps the most common is to recall a personal observation or experience while in the outdoors, especially when traveling in India. Others pursue it particularly as an outdoor lifestyle, to be involved with nature and the elements, some as an escape from the artificial world.

Landscape photography from a dam in India
Many landscape photographs show little or no human activity and are created in the pursuit of a pure, unsullied depiction of nature, devoid of human influence and instead featuring subjects such as strongly defined landforms, weather and ambient light. As with most forms of art, the definition of a landscape photograph is broad and may include rural or urban settings, industrial areas or nature photography. Landscape photography commonly involves daylight photography of natural features of land, sky and waters, at a distance and though some landscapes may involve subjects in a scenic setting nearby. Because landscape photography in India is normally outdoors photography, protection from the elements can be helpful. Photographing from inside a sheltering structure or stationary vehicle where the engine is off, occupants stationary can be helpful. Use of an umbrella or other shield to keep camera and photographer dry can also be helpful. A waterproof container for the camera for instance with dry cloth may be advised and experts advise that the camera should be shielded from blowing dust, snow and rain and extremely harsh direct sunlight.

How to define a landscape in India
A landscape is the visible features of an area of land, its landforms and how they integrate with natural or man-made features. A landscape in India includes the physical elements of geophysically defined landforms such as mountains, hills, rivers, lakes, ponds and the sea, living elements of land cover including indigenous vegetation, human elements including different forms of land use, buildings and structures and transitory elements such as lighting and weather conditions. Combining both their physical origins and the cultural overlay of human presence, often created over millennia, landscapes reflect a living synthesis of people and place that is vital to local and national identity of India.

"The character of a landscape helps define the self-image of the people who inhabit it and a sense of place that differentiates one region from other regions. It is the dynamic backdrop to people's lives. Landscape can be as varied as farmland, a landscape park or wilderness"

India has a vast range of landscapes, including the mountainous landscapes, vast arid desert landscapes such as one can see in Rajasthan, islands and coastal landscapes, densely forested or wooded landscapes including past boreal forests and tropical rainforests and agricultural landscapes of temperate and tropical regions. The activity of modifying the visible features of an area of land is referred to as landscaping. Sukri river flows from the western slopes of Aravalli Range in Pali District and flows through Jalore district and Barmer district of Rajasthan before merging with the Majal in Luni river. Bankli Dam is located on this river in Jalore District. The Aravalli Range, an eroded stub of ancient mountains, is the oldest range of fold mountains in India and the natural history of the Aravalli Range dates back to times when the Indian Plate was separated from the Eurasian Plate by an ocean.

Tips for landscape photography
• Lenses and equipment
• Footing and tripod
• Shutter speed and aperture

Lenses and equipment for landscape photography
For wide open spaces in India, a wide-angle lens is generally the preferred lens, allowing a broad angle of view. However, medium-range to telephoto lenses can achieve satisfying imagery, as well and can enable the capture of detailed scenery of smaller areas at greater distances. Telephoto lenses can also facilitate limited ranges of focus, to enable the photographer to emphasize a specific area, at a fairly specific distance, in sharp focus, with the foreground and background blurred. A big difference between a wide-angles lens and a telephoto lens is the compression of the landscape and the wider the angle the more distance will appear between the foreground and background elements. However, a telephoto lens will make the same elements appear closer to each other. Other lenses that can help include the fisheye lens for extremely wide angles and dramatic effect and the macro or micro lens for extreme close-up work. While variable-range zoom lenses are widely used, some landscape photographers prefer fixed-range prime lenses to provide higher clarity and quality in the image.

In order to mitigate shaking associated with hand-holding a camera, landscape photography oftentimes requires a firm camera footing which affords the potential for sharper imagery. Tripods are specifically designed for stabilizing cameras and are widely regarded as essential equipment for landscape photography. However, any firm surface unaffected by vibration, wind or human contact may offer similar benefits. The use of a timer, remote control or cable release allows the shutter to be tripped without the introduction of vibration that might result from manually depressing the shutter button. Some modern, high-quality cameras also provide image stabilization, which compensates for vibration by moving inner workings of the camera or electronically correcting the photograph that was taken in India.

Shutter speed in landscape photography
With cameras that allow a variety of shutter speeds and lens apertures, landscape photographers susch as the photographer tend to prefer settings that allow all of the viewed area to be in sharp focus. This typically requires a small aperture and a high f-stop, usually between 11 and 13 is best for clarity and depth of field, which creates only a small hole for the light to come into the camera from the lens, ensuring that as much of the field of view is in focus as possible. With a small aperture, however, a slower shutter speed longer exposure may be required to compensate for the limited amount of light squeezing in through the small aperture. This can be a problem if there are in-motion elements in the picture, such as moving animals and especially birds, people or vehicles. It can also be a problem if the environment is in motion, such as wind blowing and shaking all the trees and plants in the scene or if water is flowing.

Slow shutter speeds can also be a problem if the photographer is in motion such as photographing a scene from a moving vehicle. Consequently, some compromise between shutter speed and aperture may be necessary or advisable. To some extent, a higher-ISO film or digital camera setting can compensate without the need to alter shutter speed or aperture. However, higher ISO settings the so-called fast film can result in grainy pictures and poor capture of details, especially at a distance. "- In some cases, a slow shutter speed is desired to show movement of the subjects, particularly moving water or the effects of wind", the Photographer says.

Read also:  Colorful India

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of a landscape in Rajasthan. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.