The Art and Craft of Landscape Photography: An Interview with Ossian Lindholm


1. Which is your favorite lens for landscape photography and why?
Here’s how I interpret that question: If I have to go on an expedition and can only carry two lenses in terms of weight, which would I choose? I’d definitely choose a wide-angle lens. For example, an equivalent 7-14 mm that I use in my Lumix with Micro sensor 4:3, or a fixed 24 mm that I use on a Nikon full-frame. And if I expect to find fauna, I carry a Sigma 150-600 mm.

2. What’s your one “can’t-live-without-it” piece of landscape photography gear?
I’d say one of the lenses that I mentioned above.

3. What type of camera do you use for landscapes?
Lately I’ve been using a Lumix GX8 or a Nikon D810. They’re both great cameras for landscape shots.

4. What makes the good landscape picture stand out from the average?
A combination of opportunity, light, the angle and composition are what can result in an extraordinary landscape photo. Usually, the extreme hours of the day help to make for an interesting photo, but sometimes during the day, a storm or spectacular clouds can help to get a stellar outcome.



5. What truly inspires you when taking landscape photos?
The light. The light is undoubtedly the main subject in a landscape. A spectacular landscape with bad light doesn’t express anything, whereas a common landscape with a special light can make a great photo. For example, in the Serengeti, a tree, rain and light achieve an attractive photo. Let us imagine the same picture with the light of noon and it would surely not call attention.

6. How do you approach a new location that you haven’t shot at before? Do you spend time scouting before shooting?
Whenever possible, it’s good to do a scouting—but as a travel photographer, this isn’t always possible. In these cases if I’m looking for the sunrise, I’ll use an app on my phone to figure out what time and where the sun will rise. Then I’ll look at the forecast to find out what kind of sunrise I’m going to have. Sometimes the location is better for the sunset and in that case, we’ll make the same inquiries, but for sunset. Also bear in mind that the pictures before sunrise and after sunset are also very attractive.

7. What are the typical preparations that need to be made before a photo walk?
In the case of a long photo walk, you have to choose the equipment you carry very carefully—the weight is a critical detail. In my case, I choose Lumix mirrorless, with a 7-14 mm and 70-200 mm lens. The problem with mirrorless cameras is that you have to carry a lot of batteries. Also, having a light tripod is important. Then you have to remember to bring sun block, repellent, a raincoat, water, food, a lamp for the case that we take for nighttime, and a first-aid bag.

8. What is the most challenging aspect of landscape photography?
You have to have a mindful eye in landscape photography. An alert mind in “creative mode” is essential for this kind of work. I think the lighting of great landscape photos can be difficult to achieve, and that’s when possessing the technical knowledge of photography comes into play. When it comes to lighting in landscape photography, it’s very useful for a photographer to know the dynamic range of the camera.

9. What are the top three new landscape photography destinations you wish to photograph?
No doubt, Iceland is first in my top three. Other places I’d like to photograph are the deserts of Namibia and Antarctica.


10. Locations and weather conditions seem to be crucial aspects to a successful picture. How do you handle these unpredictable factors?
The nature photographer knows there’s nothing she or he can control. That’s the big challenge. Many times we prepare for a special situation, but the reality is different, or sometimes better results are achieved than expected. A clear example of this is a morning in Lincolnville where we expected the sun to rise from the sea on a clear morning. But suddenly, fog appeared and the sunrise was different, but much more attractive.

11. What’s the most important lesson that you think landscape photographers need to know?
That there is nothing that the nature photographer can control; they can only adapt and use what nature has to offer in the best ways possible. That’s why you have to be very well prepared with technical knowledge to be able to solve those unexpected situations, and—with a clear mind—know how to take advantage of what happens around you.


12. How do you know you got the shot you wanted?
Many times without looking at the camera monitor, you feel that you achieved a good photo and you know that the exposure was good, the light was unique and the composition optimal. Other times, we discovered a good photo later when looking at our files with patience or through a new perspective.

13. What’s the key to making a great landscape photograph? Is it the same as making a great photograph in general?
Each photographic discipline has particular keys, but photography has things that are present in all branches: an attractive composition and a good light metering. Landscape photography is perhaps the most frustrating, because it usually happens that we imagine one thing and the result is totally different. Sometimes we’re facing a landscape that takes our breath away, but we don’t know how to turn that situation into a good photograph. Ansell Adams said, “Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer—and often the supreme disappointment.”


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