DarkLantern asked me about what kind of camera I use for landscape photos and my preferred settings. His questions deserve a full and honest response, hence this post.
I use a Canon 6D for most of my landscape shots. I’ve had it since the spring of last year and it has served me very well. There are more expensive cameras which are probably better, but I don’t see the point of spending more money for them. A friend of mine once told me that it does not matter what camera one uses. He said it is better to spend your money on acquiring those lenses that you need to do the kind of photography that you like.
Last year I purchased a refurbished Canon 17-40 mm lens from the Canon USA site. That lens has opened a new world to me and has produced many of the photos that you have liked on these pages, such as those of Horseshoe Bend and Lower Antelope Canyon.
Horseshoe Bend is so wide that if you have a normal lens, you will not be able to take in as much of the scenery as possible in one shot. So you either take several shots and combine them, or you use a wide angle lens and the 17-40 mm does the job very nicely.
On the other hand, Lower Antelope Canyon is so narrow and tortuous that you also need something like the 17-40 mm. With a normal lens, you’ll find yourself trying to move back to frame your shot, and most of the time there is no room to go back!
Another absolute requirement is to have a tripod and use it. Quite often I find myself shooting at sunrise or sunset, when there is not enough light and the tripod is needed because practically all the shots are taken at speeds that are too slow for a handheld camera.
That brings in the subject of settings. For landscape I mostly shoot at f/11 or f/8, sometimes at f/16 if I really want great depth of field. At such aperture, and a wide angle (17 mm, the widest my lens can give me), practically all of what appears on the photo is in sharp focus, from close plants or objects to distant mountains.
When there is plenty of light, I may also use a circular polarizer filter. It intensifies the colors of the landscape and gives a deep blue sky.
Finally, I shoot exclusively in RAW and use Digital Photo Professional, the software that came with the camera, to convert RAW files into the JPEG images posted on this blog. I don’t have or use Photoshop, so I can’t do the special effects that many photographers indulge in to enhance their photos. I do use Photomatix for HDR images, but not often and I try not to depend on it.
Now you know what I do and how I do it. I hope that helped.