The Things Landscape Photographers Do!

Several months ago I was reading an issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine and saw an image of Garner State Park taken from a vantage point far above the park. Last weekend I was at the park scouting locations for future workshops and thought I’d see if I could find the spot where the image was taken.

So with the trail map and camera in hand and tripod and water in my backpack, I set out to climb the trail leading up to the peak. The first part of the “trail” was about 1/8th of a mile long ascending roughly 100 feet up a rocky cliff face. I darn near gave up right there but with the help of a friend I ascended the slope without breaking my neck.

The next section of the trail was about 1/3rd of a mile long and labeled on the trail map as “Very Steep”. I was starting to get a little nervous as we climbed from ledge to ledge using the tree roots as hand-holds wherever possible. We ascended over 300 feet in that 1/3rd of a mile and finally reached a ledge where I could setup my tripod and get to work.

We hiked along the top of this mountain for another 2 miles until we found a good trail to descend on without breaking our necks. I took about 90 shots during that morning and several of the views were really spectacular but I kept thinking to myself “the things we landscape photographers will do to get the shot!”.

Garner From Above

Garner from Above, Texas
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/16 for 1/13th of a second using a Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer and a 4-stop, graduated neutral density filter at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional digital film. Post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4 using Nik Software’s Viveza filter. Click on the image above for a larger version.

11 thoughts on “The Things Landscape Photographers Do!

  1. Great shot.

    I’m pretty much a novice and I am curious about the reason for the filter combination you used. Any suggestions for a starter set of filters.


    • Paul,

      Thanks for reading. I’m a big proponent of buying photographic gear only ONCE rather than upgrading over time and paying three times hwat you would have spent. For that reason I strongly recommend Singh-Ray filters. They are expensive. There’s no way around it. But they are the highest quality and work the best of any filter (including Heliopan, B&W and Lee) I’ve used in the past 30 years. And every other professional landscape photographer that I know uses them.

      For landscape work you really need only two basic filters; a circular polarizer and a 3-stop, soft-edge, graduated neutral density filter. I prefer Singh-Ray’s “Thin, LB Warming Polarizer” and their rectangular “Galen Rowell Graduated Neutral Density” filters.


    • Paul,

      I got to writing and forgot to answer your first question. I use a circular polarizer to cut down unwanted reflections that most leaves in Texas exhibit. This really enhances the contrast of landscape images. A circular polarizer will also add much needed contrast to a cloudy sky and help cut some of the haze we get here in Texas. The graduated neutral density filter is used to even out the exposure differences between the very bright sky and very dark ground areas in the image. In this shot the sky was almost 4 stops brighter than the foreground so if I were to meter for the sky, the ground would be black. If I metered for the ground, the sky would be completely blown out. Gradutaed ND filters help prevent this.


  2. We will do most anything, won’t we! The first part of October I will be making a very challenging hike too with the hope of finding some excellent views.

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