How to take better landscape images

How to Approach Transition Season in Landscape Photography

Apr 18, 2023

After a long winter, spring brings the long-awaited renewal of life to a landscape setting. However, finding appealing scenes during the spring transition season can sometimes be challenging. Melting snow can be trampled by footprints and speckled with dirt. Deciduous trees aren't yet in bloom, and the leftover muck from winter's melt can be an eyesore. However, it's the job of the landscape photographer to find and photograph beautiful scenes despite sometimes unsightly spring environmental elements.

But how? It is possible, and below are a few tips that can help you hide or minimize unwanted transition season elements.

1. Compose thoughtfully

Knowing what to include and exclude within a landscape scene is an important skill as a landscape photographer during all seasons; however, this is an essential skill during transition season.

During the spring, thoughtfully compose your scene to eliminate elements that are not attractive. Ensure your main subject is obvious, as this will draw the viewer's eye, minimizing less attractive features within the frame. Pay close attention to the edges and close objects within your photo and crop out elements that are not as visually appealing. Also, try and compose so that less attractive details are farther off in the distance, like brown grasses. This will minimize their presence within the frame. 

ISO 31, 16mm, f13, 60sec

2. Look for locations that are mostly unaffected by seasonal changes

During the spring transition, there are many locations that contain few seasonal features. Look for settings unaffected by seasonal changes, like rocky landscapes with flowing creeks or rivers. There are many locations that remain attractive during the spring transition period. 

ISO 64, 14mm, f10 1/3 sec

3. Incorporate seasonal changes 

Seasonal changes like melting, cracking or heaving ice can be wonderful. You might need to walk around and explore how to use seasonal elements within your images, but it's well worth the effort. First, look for cracks and use these as leading lines into your frame. Look for areas of thin ice, as it reflects light beautifully. Frost flowers can form in melting ice, so watch for these beautiful details too. Don't be afraid to get down low in your frame to capture the beautiful features that spring can offer. 

ISO 100, 35mm, f14, 1/30sec  

4. Use a telephoto lens

Telephoto lenses are fantastic for focusing on details. Zooming in at telephoto distances will eliminate unwanted landscape elements. Spring is the perfect time to practice your telephoto photography. 

ISO 1250, 70mm, f5, 1/250 SS

There's beauty in a landscape scene at all times of the year. It might take a little more effort and thought when capturing a landscape image in-between seasons, but I think the effort put in will be well worth the reward of a thoughtfully captured scene.

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