How [Not] to Shoot Landscape Photography - With Camera Settings


Let's talk about what's right and wrong in photography.

I'm not a dedicated landscape photographer but I do appreciate a good landscape when I see one. Traveling around the world means constantly moving between landscapes and some countries are incredibly beautiful.

55mm - ISO 2000 - f/3.2

55mm - ISO 2000 - f/3.2

When you're going on a road trip in the United states, you can drive from dusty dry deserts to snowy mountains within a few hours. It's those deserts that I love. Whenever I feel like landscape photography, there are surely some out of this world views involved.

But... a lot of people will say I'm not doing landscape photography right...

I don't use a tripod for landscape photography

Well, I would if I could but I'm traveling as light as possible and a tripod didn't make it on my checklist. I'm also not looking for landscapes when I travel. It's not a landscape photography trip that we're doing. We're always on the move and taking a tripod for the amount of landscapes I photograph in a month would be silly. But that doesn't mean I don't shoot landscapes. I just have to adapt, improvise and rely on the image quality of my camera when using high ISO settings.

My landscape photography settings are… wrong?

Well, not having a tripod means I'm not using the conventional settings. I love to shoot around sunset or even later so ISO100 and f/9.0 is pretty much impossible when shooting handheld. Yes, I sometimes even use f/2.8 and ISO 3200. A lot of people think that's wrong and that it ruins a landscape photo. Does it, really? Well, let me know in the comments what you think.

I don't think it ruins a landscape photo. For me, it's about the photo and not the pixels. I don't think some noise or shallow depth of field ruins a landscape. Even a slight blur doesn't ruin it for me.

55mm - ISO 3200 - f/2.8

55mm - ISO 3200 - f/2.8

When I read what people write about photography on the internet, there's a lot of ranting about how to do it right.

You HAVE to use these and those settings for landscape photography. Taking photos in a museum or other public building doesn't count as street photography…

Things like that. Just stop trying to figure out what's right or wrong and start creating images. There's no right or wrong way when you like the results. Here are some of my landscapes photos that I shot using the wrong camera settings...

My landscape photos with camera settings

There are two countries that are on my favorites list when it comes to landscape photography: Indonesia and the United States. Both have an array of out of this world landscapes. Indonesia is known for it's majestic volcanoes and the South West of the United states is famous for endless deserts. I'll show you some of my favorite landscape photos and the settings I used. If you're a landscape photographer, you might be offended. Hehe...

I don't have specific camera for landscape photography. I set off on our trip around the world with my trusty Pentax 645z and I use it for everything; portrait photography, street photography and landscape photography. For me, this camera works for any style of photography so why bother taking two or three different cameras? I also use one lens most of the time.

OK, let's start with a few landscape shots from Indonesia:

This is Mount Bromo and probably the most incredible landscape yet on our trip. We got up at 3am to watch the sunrise and it just looks like another planet. Because there wasn't much light, I had to use some crazy camera settings. Remember, it's all handheld shooting.

55mm - ISO 2000 - f/2.8

55mm - ISO 2000 - f/2.8

It's all about volcanoes on Java, Indonesia and Ijen has an equally spectacular sunrise. While hiking up to the rim, sulphur fumes will burn your eyes and lungs. Gas masks were very necessary during the last part of the hike.

55mm - ISO 1250 - f/3.2.  Prints on Saatchi Art.

55mm - ISO 1250 - f/3.2. Prints on Saatchi Art.


The East Coast of Australia was a little bit disappointing for us but that doesn't mean I didn't shoot any great landscapes. The views from Castle Hill in Townsville around sunset were incredible. The longer we waited, the more beautiful the colors got. I had to rely on the excellent image quality of my Pentax 645z again and shoot at ISO3200 when the was gone.

55mm - ISO 200 - f/3.2

55mm - ISO 200 - f/3.2

USA landscapes

If you want to be amazed by how many different landscapes you can see in three weeks, then go to the Southwest of the United States. Even the desert landscapes change every hour when you're driving. If you're a landscape photographer, a trip to that part of the US is a must...

55mm - ISO 2000 - f/2.8

55mm - ISO 2000 - f/2.8

Are you a landscape photographer? I’d love to hear what you think…