For those travelling to Southern Africa to photograph the wildlife and landscapes, it is important to have a plan as to where to go for capturing either. Different game reserves and national parks have different selections of wild animals to see. The same with landscapes, with each region offering a very different setting or backdrop to photograph.
Photography Laws in South Africa
Fortunately, the law has very few rules governing photography in South Africa. One only needs to be aware of copyright, privacy and trespass laws. The latter, trespassing, is the most common law that needs to be adhered to when photographing landscapes. There is a lot of open and arid land in Southern Africa, which can easily be confused as free to access. These vast stretches of farms, nature or mountains are often protected or privately owned. Permission will need to be granted before entering any.
Our top tips on Landscape Photography
Here’s how to capture stunning landscapes in South Africa
- Location is key
Take the time out to research where are the best places to shoot landscapes in South Africa. You can draw up a route or itinerary before heading out. Use image platforms like Instagram, Unsplash or Flickr for inspiration.
- Golden hour is go time
The days in South Africa are hot and bright. All this intense light from the midday make it difficult to capture detail, so head out earlier or late. It is recommended to head out in the early morning, or just before the sunset, to capture those dreamy landscape pictures.
- Create depth
To capture truly stunning landscape photographs, you need to create a deeper depth of field. This will ensure detail from both the background and foreground are focused. In order to achieve this, you need to use a tiny aperture, from f/16-f/22 because this keeps objects in the foreground and background sharp. Mount the camera onto a heavy-duty, travel tripod (for better stability and preventing camera shake).
- Use nature and the surroundings to your advantage
Water from a river or dam can be reflected against the background to create an interesting mirror effect. Another popular tactic is using wildlife, like an elephant or giraffe, as a subject in the foreground. Look for an interesting tree, person or feature to complement the photograph.
- Use filters
There are two important filters that should be used when photographing landscapes. The first is polarizing filters, and the other is neutral density (ND) filters. Polarizing filters darken the sky and therefore bring out the blues in contrast to the white of the clouds. Neutral Density filters prevent too much light from entering the camera.
Taking photos of landscapes is popular with both amateurs and professional photographers. Don’t settle with just a good photograph. Bring the right equipment, like a wide-angle lens, and filters. Capture the scene from different angles and use manual settings to achieve your desired result. South Africa is a magical destination to shoot landscapes in.