Nature photography, while a source of marvelous patterns, textures, and colors that are both vivid and subtle, presents a set of challenges for the photographer in you. The key is therefore to work with existing outdoor elements and find the right light and way to showcase landscapes and wildlife.
The right light is the sun’s natural light. The worst lighting to work with is direct, which is harsh and does not flatter the whole setup. Direct lighting is present at midday, so it’s best to avoid shooting from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.
How about during sunrise and sunset? Try arriving about an hour before sunrise or sunset, giving you some time to position your gear before the best shots dawn on you. Use a wide-angle lens for sweeping landscapes, and a telephoto lens for when the sun dominates the shot. Experiment with varying manual exposures, too.
Using the right equipment is also key in shooting nature. Any digital camera can shoot landscapes, but the devil is in the details. A DSLR, for instance, allows you to shoot in aperture priority mode, a necessity for setting the small apertures for capturing a large depth of field. A large depth of field is critical in landscape photography, as you would want the entire shot from back to front in laser-sharp focus.
Compose the shot with the foreground, middle ground, and background in mind, and work with the horizon and with lines. These lines are defined by the landscape’s natural architecture or by specific pieces of scenery.
Finally, there’s dealing with the elements. The weather can get both interesting (think of low hanging clouds) and less interesting (shooting on a cloudy day). Work according to the elements, such as bringing up the exposure during wintertime so that the foreground isn’t in shadow.