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Christiano Pessoa/My Shot

Travel Photography Tips: Capturing the Country

From the new book, National Geographic Complete Photography, an extensive photo reference guide packed with tips, how-tos, galleries, and stories from Nat Geo’s top photographers including Annie Griffiths, Steve McCurry, Frans Lanting, and Jodi Cobb. Get your copy now.

Travel is about escape, and the urge to get away often leads to the countryside. Make the most of photo opportunities there by doing pre-trip reserach.

Most likely you’ll travel by car. Drive slowly. It’s easy to zoom past good pictures. Subjects can be more subtle, less in-your-face, than those in cities. Stop often. Talk to local people in small-town diners and cafes, and it can open doors. People who live quiet lives may welcome the attention of a strange taking pictures.

To do justice to wide-open landscapes, try using a wide-angle lens or shoot a panoramic photograph. Consider unconventional framing for an uncommon view.

Tip: Avoid the obvious. If everyone else is photographing a spectacular sunset, turn around and shoot the scene in waning sunlight. That’s where the best light is.

Tip: Use silhouettes. Backlighting from the late afternoon sun can create dramatic images.

Tip: Shoot when the ocean is bluest. In the Caribbean, that means shooting at midday instead of dawn or dusk, when light bounces off rather than enters the water.

What tips do you have for capturing the perfect country landscape?

Photo: Christiano Pessoa/My Shot