To frame a decent landscape shot you might need a tripod to keep things steady. There are tons of tripods out there and it can be hard to know what’s right for you … mostly because they all look the same and do the same thing. Personally, I would go for one in the thirty dollar range – preferably one with a level. It’s great for the hobbyist photographer. Basically the main difference is the more expensive the tripod, the heavier it will be – adding to support. But, if you’re REALLY cheap like me you can use rocks you find in the area and pretend it’s a tripod. Just rest the camera on a flat surface, set an automatic timer and forget about it. I have a good imagination.
House on the shores of Lake Winnebago
2. Find your spot
When looking for a place to take photos, you want to be scouting for something interesting. My personal favorite spot is Menominee Park in Oshkosh because there’s a lot to see in a short walk along the shore line. There’s a lake, a pond, a variety of trees and birds, a zoo, a train full of screaming kids, carp, and I’m pretty sure I saw some guys steal a sailboat once. Find a location with some variety and uniqueness. This way you don’t limit yourself.
3. Mind your backgrounds
The background of a photo is just as important, if not more important than the subject. The easiest way to ruin an otherwise outstanding picture is to have something distracting in the background. You could have a picture of Big-foot slapping five with Michael Jordan and it wouldn’t be as fantastic if there was something distracting in the background. Maybe that’s a bad example. Slapping five is always fantastic.
Winnebago County Community Park
4. Get down with your bad self
So many pictures can be improved simply by ducking down to get a different perspective. Drop to your knees or climb a tree – it’s the motto for successful photography. Sure, when you’re laying belly first in the sand in 30 degree weather, playing with driftwood and shouting into the wind, you’re not likely to make friends with the police officer surveying the beach. Unless you share your doughnuts with him. Not that this happened to me or anything…
5. Make something happen/wait for it
Sometimes you have a great idea for a photo but you can’t seem to make everything connect. When in doubt: run screaming towards some birds, throw a rock into the water and make a splash, tell the guy on his sailboat to float away from you, feed the animals, sit on a bench until the lighting is right, wait for a rainbow, or sneak into the Menominee Park Christmas display after dark (don’t actually do this). The perfect picture isn’t going to be obvious and sometimes you have to do the leg work, even if the leg work involves booking it from a flock of geese because you ran out of breadcrumbs to feed them and you no longer have their trust.
Menominee Park Zoo Carousel
Want me to give you some more landscape ideas and tips? Know of some awesome places to shoot in the area? Got any burning questions? Feel free to comment below or on the FOX CITIES MagazineFacebook page. Oh, you can always tweet @ me and I’ll tweet ya back! @andrewscholz. Happy shooting!
—By Andrew Scholz