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Landscape Artistry
Ten Tips for Becoming a Better Landscape Artist

Text and photography copyright Guy Tal

2. Be Prepared

Some great landscape images are a result of purely serendipitous coincidence. Nature often presents us with magnificent imagery lasting but a few moments. Still, being prepared may help us capture some of these fleeting miracles. Being prepared requires research and gaining knowledge of the area you plan to explore. Some things to plan for are weather, direction of light, timing of sunrises and sunsets, moonrises and moonsets, and the phase of the moon. Most of this information is usually available from the local weather service. Further information can be obtained by reading about the area's natural history and by examining the lay of the land by using maps. A scouting expedition will allow you to make notes of potential photo spots and help you plan for your next trip. The more you know, the better your chances. For the Ancient Bristlecone image, I chose my location and subject in advance. Using a compass I determined the direction I wanted to shoot, which helped me pick the perfect tree for the image I had in mind. I picked the day based on reports of a brewing storm, and had my camera mounted and ready in anticipation of the sunset. I had no way of knowing the clouds would arrange themselves so perfectly against my tree, but when the decisive moment arrived I was there to capture it.

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