5 Tips For Photographing the New River Gorge (With Your Camera Or Your Phone)
But how do you catch all the little details? The way the light spills over each tree? The vibrant hues of the swaying leaves? How would a novice photographer begin to freeze all of those little aspects?
Here are a few tips to get the best photo of the New River Gorge:
The first thing that you'll want to do is set your white balance. This will allow your camera to recognize the whites in your photo and adjust the color accordingly (because cameras sometimes misjudge it, creating oddly and unrealistically tinted photos.)
The best time of day to take an outdoor photo is near dawn or dusk, when the light isn't as harsh as it is during the day. If you make sure the sun is gleaming onto your target with this soft "Golden Hour" light, your photo will avoid harsh shadows and contrasts.
Choose one focal point in your photo that will stand out. Instead of aligning it in the center, use the "Rule of Thirds." Shift it slightly toward either of the four corners, landing 1/3 of the way across, both, horizontally and diagonally. Line skylines along a 1/3 line as well.
Treat your phone like any camera: clean the lens, hold it close to your body to steady the shot, and use manual focus to control which part of the photo looks clear. (You can do this by tapping the screen on an iPhone, or with manual focus apps like Camera Zoom FX on Android.) Avoid zoom if you can, because it significantly decreases the quality of your photo.
While a phone might not have all the tools of a DSLR camera, there are still several handy apps available to provide more options for your shot.
Some fun photography apps include:
- ColorSplash- This app allow you to turn your photos black and white, but preserve color in certain spots to highlight details.
- Photogene- Photogene gives you tons of filters and editing options, including advanced options like sharpening, dodge and burn and several color correction adjustment tools. It also connects easily to social media, and includes drawing and collage making features, so you can create playful pictures and easily share them.
- Firestorm- With an impressive array of tools, including the ability to use Adjustment Layers as you edit and a clone stamp tool, this app is close to being a Photoshop for your phone.
- The Photographer's Ephemeris- This app uses your GPS coordinates and sun and moon mapping to help you plan the lighting of your shots.
- Photaf- A simple tool that allows you to align several photos to create a panoramic shot from your cell.
Great places to practice can be found all over the Gorge, but you might want to take a day making these scenic drives to stop at several beautiful spots to collect different shots.
If you're looking to learn more about photography, there is an Outdoor & Nature Photography Workshop in Fayetteville on May 2, 2013 with Pro photographer David FitzSimmons.
What's your best tip for taking photos of the Gorge? What's your best shot so far?