Ok, so you have decided where and when you are going, and it is time to hit the road. A couple of last minute tips – take plenty of warm clothes and take good walking boots or wellies! I often use fisherman waders for river shots, but at the very least you will need good walking boots to keep your feet dry.
When you arrive, have a look around. Chances are you will have seen a photo of this location somewhere, and that is what attracted you to the area, but try to find a new and unique perspective. Remember to consider the position of the sun, and tidal conditions if you are on open water. We recently visited a Scottish castle and the shot changed dramatically in a few hours as the tide was out when we arrived, but had come in when the sun set. The shots looked totally different with different water levels.
Do you want sunlight or shadow? Look for foreground features (rock formations, interesting trees) and leading lines (roads, railway lines, hedges). GET YOUR HORIZON STRAIGHT! Sorry for shouting this, but this is the cause of so many failed shots. What is the subject of the photo? Should it be central or off to one side. Consider the “rule of thirds”. What will be in the background? Beware of distracting details like power lines, excess shrubbery and people. Avoid vapour trails in the sky. Yes, you can remove them in Photoshop but its so much quicker and more efficient to get it right in the camera.
Finally, press the shutter release and hope for the best. I tend to shoot several shots at different speeds and apertures, as I often travel for hours to get a scene. I make sure that I maximise the chances of getting a perfect shot.
The next part will deal with using filters. Enjoy. I will leave you with a shot of the castle mentioned earlier.