If you think buying an SLR camera will automatically give you more colourful landscape photos think again. A great camera will help by giving you the means to capture more vibrant images but you still need to take the steps to make it happen. So what's the solution?
HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos. With HDR you blend a series of over and under exposed images into one image using your digital darkroom.
Graduated ND (neutral density) filters. These filers will limit the amount of light in one part of the scene. Typically it will cut down on the light from the sky which is perfect for landscape photography. There are great benefits to both methods which I will get into in a different post.
Being aware of the exposure in a given scene is critical to the end result. Too little exposure will leave you with dark, muddy muted images and too much will wash them out. I always look very carefully at the scene and decide which parts of the scene I want to be in perfect exposure and then use the spot meter on the camera to determine the correct exposure. The manual setting works best for this as it will hold the exposure and not change as you compose the shot.
While you can take several steps to adjust how light enters the camera, you can also change the light of your environment.The sun has a fantastic way of adding depth and texture to a scene, but it’s not always helpful if your goal is deeply saturated colours.Try an upcoming landscape shoot under overcast skies. You’ll notice that the harsh highlights and dark shadows are gone, which allows you to capture more detail. And when you pick up more detail, you can photograph colour in its true, vibrant form.
I also prefer landscape images with interesting clouds. Not only does it have a way of neutralizing the sky to some extent - it also adds drama to the scene.
I love to shoot during the 'Golden Hour' or 'Blue Hour' as some call it. That's the time just before the sun comes up or just after the sun sets. Colours are at their most intense and are typically 'cooler' allowing for much more saturated blues. You'll be surprised how blue the sky and water can be during these times.
When you adjust both your exposure and your time you'll be rewarded with deep, rich colours.