How To Find Decent Landscape Photography Compositions on a Clear Day Using a Telephoto Lens

Of all the weather conditions, cloudless skies are probably the worst for landscape photography. However, with the right lens and a trained eye, all is not lost. Michael Shainblum is an internationally recognized landscape photographer and time-lapse filmmaker. In his latest video, he takes us through some of the canyons of Capitol Reef, Utah, in search of some suitable landscape compositions in some less than suitable weather — yes, the dreaded bright and sunny day. But as someone who has honed his skills in the southwest of the US, Shainblum is no stranger to the disappointment of a blue sky after an early rise and long drive. Instead of packing up his camera bag and heading home, dejected and with an empty memory card, he affixes a telephoto lens to his DSLR in order to scope out some of the finer details hidden in Utah's sandstone outback.

Uninteresting upper thirds and ugly, hard shadows are the two main reasons why clear skies are the bane of every landscape photographer's life. Thankfully, I live in Ireland, so that tends not to be a problem for me. Every so often, there are reports of a strange orange ball in the sky, which is a welcome change for most of us on the island, really. It gives us a chance to top up our vitamin C reserves and lather ourselves in factor 50 — almost feels like we're on vacation. In saying that, I'll still take my camera out in the hopes of some interesting light, and now with the tips in this video, I'll have a better idea of what to look out for.

Do you even bother to take your camera out on clear days?

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5 Comments

Deleted Account's picture

I was kind of hoping for some examples or discussion

Timothy Turner's picture

Perhaps you should go back and review that video, there are many photos, the one at about the 6:44 mark almost looks like a whale's eye.

Timothy Turner's picture

I live in Savannah Ga, so there are not large landscapes like this, however there are a lot of forested areas as well as the beach nearby, I now have a new perspective, I'm going out this weekend with my zoom tele.

Joni Tuohimaa's picture

I think you mean vitamin D

Ian Browne's picture

What a great eye opener for the inexperienced and the lost experienced (that's a new one liner)
Yep; there are thousand of subjects inside every big picture and very often you don't need to travel far to find all those subjects where time and weather makes little difference .
Light and shadows is a favourite of mine; like the clouds they are forever changing .

If I may share a few similar ideas -- flikr phttps://www.flickr.com/photos/75510429@N02/?saved=1
All just happy snaps while dog (not mine) and camera take me for walks --- I can usually slip away without tripod knowing :)
Most of the recent pics were captured with a Au$600 bridge camera so the gear does not really matter.

That's a great short and sweet eye opening video without much of normal bull **** and sale pitches.

Watch it again folks ;)