Landscape Photography – Using a Zoom Lens to Explore
Shadows, shimmers, textures, tones and patterns. Within each landscape hides a wealth of wonders just waiting for us to wander along with our cameras and discover.
While I wish I could zoom using just my eyesight (and sometimes after too much screen time I convince myself it’s possible), a high-quality and versatile zoom lens provides the ideal tool for those of us keen to look a little deeper into the scenes we’re photographing.
Revealing the slight yet significant details of a natural scene in sharp detail enables us to get creative and capture the features we’re drawn to as photographers.
If you had asked me five years ago what my favourite lens was, I would’ve said the 12-40mm for epic landscapes, travelling and the underwater world. Now though, after years of photographing glaciers, deserts, and environments of extremities, I’m a little obsessed with the M.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 pro lens and even go one step further, adding the MC-20 2x teleconverter to get closer to the details within a scene. Starting at 40mm and slowly shifting focal length to delve a little further, I tend to use the lens as binoculars before adjusting to compose an image.
When shooting landscape photographs, have you ever stood still to stare at all the tiny elements that make up a landscape? It’s fascinating what’s hiding beneath our feet, what’s revealed with a little water or how a scene changes throughout the seasons, sometimes spending half the year rugged and crusty, and the other half lush and full of life.
The small patterns on plants, chiselled chunks of rocks, wind blown sand dunes, fragile and frosty ice magic or waves, water and ripples. So much exists to photograph within a landscape no matter which environment you’re visiting.
Upon arriving at a location, I love going for a walk and seeing which details first catch my eye then waiting, when possible, for the ideal light to capture their beauty and intricate features. That is, unless the sky is erupting in colour and I’m making a mad dash to photograph it – let’s not disguise the fact I’m also that photographer, I like to think it’s a good mix of the two!
In terms of destinations, the moon-like landscapes Chile’s Atacama Desert, Greenland’s glacial gems, Namibia’s dunes and Australia’s salt lakes, outback and coastal scenes have been such inspiring places to photograph.
I’ll keep this post short and sweet as I simply wanted to share a collection of images that capture the details within a variety of environments. If you’re considering a new zoom lens or want to chat about your own interests capturing the details within a landscape, leave a comment below or reach out via DM on Instagram @the_wanderinglens.
Each image featured below was taken with either the OM SYSTEM OM-1 , Olympus E-M1 MKIII or E-M1X cameras and the 40-150mm f2.8 pro lens.
To read further, take a peek at the following articles:
A Photographer’s Guide to Mungo National Park
Photographing the Dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia
A Guide to Photogenic Experiences in Ilulissat, Greenland
Photographing the Lunar Landscapes of Chile
Prints are available via The Wandering Lens Print Store with a minimum of $15 per print donated to environmental initiatives in climate adaptation and wildlife conservation.
Travel and landscape photographer from Australia who is far more comfortable in a pair of flippers than heels! Having worked for publications such as Lonely Planet, Wanderlust and the Sunday Times, Lisa founded The Wandering Lens to share destination guides to the worlds most photogenic places and outdoor experiences.