Capturing a Desert Photography Scene

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Duration: 6:48

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Telling the story. According to professional outdoor photographer, Steve Kossack, telling stories is what desert photography is all about. In this video, Steve shows you how the elements of texture, light, color, shape, and form can aid in telling a photographic story.

He takes you to the amazing landscape of the high Arizona desert. Most of his desert photography images tell the story of the struggle to survive in this hostile environment. He explains, “In desert photography, a good idea is to build your visual story from the ground up.”

By way of example, Steve concentrates on a small cactus and a dying daisy plant in their struggle to survive under a sheltering rock. For the first frame, he recommends capturing the image without a filter. “It’s a good idea to shoot at least one exposure without a filter to create a reasonable copy to know what your image looked like in natural light.”

But in order to expand the story, he shows how and when to use filters. Steve is always aware of the natural changing light, from bright sunlight to muted light from passing clouds. He experiments with a warming, polarizer filter to bring out the saturated color of the rocks and to soften the glare. Since there is no direct light on the subject, he shows you how a blue and gold filter can capture the blues in the deep shadows. These filtered images will give him two options from his original.

Steve recommends always checking the luminosity and RGB histograms to make sure that the highlights are not blown out. But it also makes sense to carefully examine the LCD screen for composition and clarity.

Climb onto the desert mesa where pro shooter, Steve Kossack, will give you landscape photography tips to help you tell your stories through your own desert photography.