Deserts are a great subject for Landscape Photography. No two deserts are alike, they all posses unique qualities and characteristics. Showing these unique qualities is your job. For instance the Mojave desert and the Sonora desert are both located in the American southwest, but both of these deserts have very different plant life and terrain. Showing the beauty and rugged nature of the desert can be done in many different ways. For instance, If you are trying to show the oppressive heat of the mid day in the summer months, you could look for waves of heat that are visible in the mid day sun. A long angle lens should capture the heat rising off the desert floor and illustrate just how hot it is there. This will convey the emotion you are feeling at the time of the shot, Hot!
Night time is a wondrous time to shoot in the desert. There is very little light interference from the ground, so taking images of the night sky is great. The night sky is filled with stars and illuminates the desert floor brilliantly. If you are shooting during a full moon you will have great light to illuminate the landscape. This can make for very dramatic night time landscape photography.
Depending on which desert you are shooting in, the landscape color can change drastically throughout the day depending on the positioning of the sun. This goes for all deserts, whether you’re shooting in north Africa or the American southwest. The terrain will take on different coloring depending on the angle of the light.
As stated before in other Landscape Photography Tip articles, find the unique qualities of the scene you are in. Try to show the emotion that you are feeling in the landscape. Depending upon the characteristics of your desert scene, you may wish to capture the vast openness with a wide angle shot or the fragility of desert plant life surviving in a harsh environment.
One sure way to capture the harsh unforgiving nature of the desert is by including the sun in your image. A few things to keep in mind while using a bright harsh sun in your image are exposure and lens flare. Getting the right exposure in a bright sun can be tricky. Often time the bright sun will cause the camera meter to underexpose. Try getting a reading with no sun in frame while in manual mode. Use that exposure to shoot your image. You will need to keep on top of this, so constantly check your shots. Lens flare can be a real problem as well. You will need to be on the lookout for this, especially when using a wide angle lens.
Other Landscape Photography Tips Articles
Landscape Photography Tips Part #1
Landscape Photography Tips Part #2
Landscape Photography Tips Part #3
Landscape Photography Tips Part #4
Landscape Photography Tips Part #5
Landscape Photography Tips Part #6