Amongst the many topics that attract us as photographers, nature and landscapes would have to be high on our list.
Nature photography covers a vast area ranging from landscapes to macro (or close-up) photography. In most, if not all cases, it will not include any indication of human intervention.
Analyze the scene or what you see.
Identify what features most attract your attention and / or
what is it that creates the most significant emotion?
We need to high-light the above identified features.
To achieve this we may need to move around, either sideways and / or look for a better (higher / lower) vantage point(s).
Another important option now is our choice of lens: a telephoto lens will bring in distant objects such as mountains and dwarf the foreground whereas a wide angle lens will provide a great panoramic view. In this case remember to stop down your aperture (a large f-number such as f8 or f11) which will give you a maximum depth of field.
In order to provide a depth to our 2 dimensional image we can and in many cases should put obvious elements in the foreground, middle distance and background to achieve this important feature.
Watch your horizons. They should always be level but the position in the image frame will be dictated by whether the land mass or clouds are more important. Never place the horizon in the middle as this creates 2 independent images.
The use of light in our photography has been covered to some extent in the article Light. However another couple of suggestions:
The time of day is very important as is also the season. This will effect the direction of our light source and provides a variation in mood. Sunrise / sunsets (including shortly before / after) provide a range of opportunities and challenges.
Do not shoot / look directly into the sun.
'Vinagretting' may occur if your lens / filters are not clean and / or the sun is low / weak.
For important topics / subjects it may be necessary to revisit the location (if possible) at different times of the day and / or season.
Finding the 'right light' is half the battle!
Center of Interest
Remember the 1/3 rule (see the article Composition).
Use / introduce prominent physical features.
The use / selection of color is also an important consideration.
Try to avoid 'light patches' (or dark ones)
Use leading lines and / or triangles.
Use stormy weather for dramatic cloud effects.
In deserts use side lighting (sand dunes), backlighting for silhouettes and twilight times.
Remember to carry a small flashlight for early morning / late afternoon photography.
Using shutter priority will allow you to set the shutter speed(s) on 'high' for documentary images and 'low' speeds for artistic work.
The use of a tripod is very important, both for long exposures and for achieving the composition we desire.
Finally recognize the limitations of your equipment.
Try to develop a perception of what you want to create while developing a creative view and at the same time be aware of the need for considerable patience.
If you found this article interesting and / or are interested in more information please contact me via my email address at: firstname.lastname@example.org