A Travel Photographer Teaches Us To Take Pictures At The Coast, In The Forest, And In The Desert

David Thompson

Although landscape photography is beautiful, it often gets obscured by sexy images of influencers. Even in the travel sphere — where images from beautiful locales should reign supreme — the default seems to be focusing on the traveler and not the destination. We understand, and we absolutely love a cool snap of wanderlusting vagabonds, but sometimes we just want to appreciate the beauty of this miraculous planet.

For its part, the earth offers up an endless variety of photographable locales, each presenting their own challenges to the budding photographer. We’ve already provided some general tips for photographing landscapes but we also want to drill down to the specifics, in order to aid you in sharpening your skills. We know that snapping shots on the coast won’t mirror doing the same thing in the desert. How could it?

In order to give you the info you need, we had to find an expert used to taking great landscape shots in a variety of settings. During the recent #Nikon100 campaign — which introduced Nikon’s Instagram followers to 100 new photographic talents — we spotted David Thompson, who describes himself as an “ordinary guy with a deep passion for nature and landscape photography.” One look at his work made us question the “ordinary” label. We think he’s on some next-level sh*t.

Thompson gave us a call from his home in Las Vegas and spoke with us about how he makes visual connections with a variety of landscapes. We organized his responses into three sections punctuated by jaw-dropping nature shots from the photographer himself.

David Thompson

Destination #1: The Desert

David Thompson

One of the things that I like to emphasize and tell people when they go out with me is it’s all about the light. It comes down to the light, pre-sunrise light and light after sunset. It’s really about that soft low light that really makes the landscape come to life. And that’s before the sun comes up and really starts hitting the landscape. With the low and soft light, you get the colors, you get the texture, everything that you need and want in an image, that’s what you get.