There are several places in the UK, and the rest of the world, where you may find your tripod easily fits into three small holes already made by fellow photographers with their kit. Joking aside, there are several locations that are considered to be honeypots for photographers, and often tourists, which means it can be difficult to shoot something that's different to every other shot produced in that particular location.
You can, of course, head off in search of your own locations but this can take time and these popular, honeypot locations are popular for a reason: they're very photogenic so why should you ignore them? Instead, we've thought of a few simple things you could try to make your shot slightly different to everyone else’s.
Photo by Peter Bargh. A slightly alternative view of a popular location in Glencoe.
1. Change Focal Length Or Orientation
The majority of landscapes are shot with wide-angle lenses, however if you switch your wide out and replace it with a telephoto lens you will start to shoot photos of a popular location in a slightly different way.
Telephoto lenses allow you to be much more selective with what you include in-frame. You'll be able to focus on detail that would be lost in a wider shot, plus telephoto lenses make it easier to crop out a blank, boring sky.
By standing back and zooming in with a telephoto lens you'll be able to compress perspective so objects in the background will appear to be closer to your foreground subjects than they do with the eye. This means mountains can look like they are towering over foreground detail, almost as if they are stacked on top of one another.
Do take your tripod with you when using telephoto lenses as they do make camera shake more prominent.
If you're not using a DSLR with interchangeable lenses you can switch from a landscape orientation to portrait to give your shot a different perspective and feel.
2. Move Your Feet
It's worth scouting out your chosen location for viewpoints that show the popular spot in a different way. This could mean climbing a near-by hill, moving further down a beach or changing the side of a lake you take your photos from.
In a previous article, photographer John Gravett said: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only different types of lighting.” With this in mind, try heading to a popular photographic location on days when the weather's not playing ball. Stormy days with heavy skies, rain and mist work well at the coast while foggy mornings can add an extra level of interest to an over photographed scene, particularly if you can get up high so you can shoot down over it. Landscapes can often look moody when photographed in bad weather and you can enhance the mood further by converting your shots to black & white.
Do remember to protect your equipment correctly when heading out in the rain with a waterproof cover and keep a microfibre cloth handy for drying surfaces. It's also worth packing a few lens cloths, as rain on the lens can spoil photos taken on rainy-days.
If you do a quick search online for the location you want to take your photos in you'll soon see what season most people visit it in. Do take the time to shoot at the same time of year as everyone else as some subjects, such as woods in autumn, do look particularly great during certain times of the year. However, don't be afraid to approach the same location during other months to get a shot others may not have.
5. Time Of Day
If you don't want to wait for a whole season to pass, you could just try visiting your chosen location at a different time during the day. Instead of shooting a sunset, get out of bed early and use the cooler morning light in your shots. Another bonus of early mornings is there will be less people around so you won't be fighting for space and you shouldn't get people walking through your shot. In towns and cities, venture out in the evening as the sun sets to capture the outline of buildings that have shape thanks to their lights rather than shooting in the day.
Times Square Subway with a twist by David Clapp.
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