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Daniel Laan
Akersloot, NL

Articles written by Daniel Laan

Purple Photograph Prowess: 9 Approaches to the Perfect Heather Picture

Everywhere in Europe, heathers are looking positively vibrant. I trust that it's a worldwide phenomenon along the northern hemisphere. They’re also blooming three weeks sooner than past years; a result of an early Indian summer, due to the changing climate. Ostensibly, purple heather is a magnificent subject in landscape photography, but there are many more things you can capture in what is arguably the best season for photography. So let’s get you ready to capture this herald of autumn.

Do we Need to Travel to Take Better Photographs?

Imagine a spectacular, rugged landscape. Pine forests that stretch for hundreds of miles, vivid lakes and countless waterfalls. This is central Norway; bear country. While I am packing my camera bag for a two week photography trip honeymoon to Iceland, I relive a memory that answered the question if we really need to travel for better photographs.

Those Glowing Mushrooms (Part 2): 7 Steps to Processing Your Own Fantasy World

The weather outside is heinous. Seemingly perpetual rain batters the windows as we fire up the computer. The northern autumn is definitely on our doorstep and one of the first signs of this change of seasons is the increasing number of mushrooms in the forest. We’ve bagged 69 shots of just one composition previously and this is a great time to post-process them. Let’s get into Lightroom before more fungi start to come up after the showers have passed. Let your imagination run wild with the post-processing of glowing mushrooms that are straight out of a fantasy film. Here is how I process my own little fantasy world.

Those Glowing Mushrooms (Part 1): 6 Steps to Photographing Your Own Fantasy World

As the northern autumn draws closer, bizarre little creatures pop up all over the temperate forest. On the forest floor, underneath hedgerows and on trees, alive or the ones who have fallen. Fungi are the cleaning crew of the forest as they take care of layers of fallen deadwood and provide nutrients back to the forest. Surely they are great subjects for macro photography. Like everyone else, I’m looking to find their reproductive organs: Mushrooms. They let our imagination run wild as these little toadstools hint of fantasy worlds when photographed in a certain way. This is how I recreate my own little fantasy world.

Landscape Photography Design Part 5: Advanced Communication

We’re living in a visual society. Every day, we see new ways of visual advertising. Some of the messages presented without the use of words can be very powerful, as if there's some subliminal code that makes us think. As photographers, we are used to delivering messages by solely providing the image. Or are we? This series is the go-to resource for compelling visual storytelling in landscape photography and closes this week with advanced communication techniques that help create spectacular images. Join me now as we dive into the deep end, far beyond compositional elements like lines and color and learn that secret code by heart.

I Lined Beer Cans with Photographic Paper and Here's What I Found 6 Months Later

This low-tech alternative to digital photography can produce stunning art. Last year, I've recovered five out of ten “cameras." Some are found by others and stolen, others are simply blown off by a passing storm. Yet others are removed by bomb squads... I'm sharing these pictures with you, which are scanned negatives of black and white photographic paper. The brightest parts are the sun's streaks, burnt and etched in the paper - along with bubbles, rips and sand that texturize the images in bizarre ways.

Landscape Photography Design Part 3: Luminosity – Zones and Masks

Mental images, dynamic range, luminosity masking... This week's article in this series is chock-full of terms that will send your head spinning. But when we want to communicate through landscape photography, it is best to speak the language first. I'll show you a big part of my processing workflow, introduce you to a great alternative to HDR photography, and tell you why Ansel Adams' invention is still applicable in digital photography.

Landscape Photography Design Part 2: Advanced Composition

Without composition there is just visual chaos with no beginning or end, no direction or cycle, no shape or difference between dark and light. This series is the go-to resource for compelling visual storytelling in landscape photography as it provides a condensed overview of all the elements that make up a stunning image. This week: Advanced tools that will nick the attention of the viewer and guide them carefully through your photograph.

Landscape Photography Design Part 1: Composition Primer

Landscape photography is the often stigmatized genre of it not communicating anything other than display of beautiful imagery at best. In this epic arc series, I strive to provide an integral resource for working on your own landscape images. We’ll cover planning, shooting, and post-processing, and talk about anything from composition to colour theory. And for the more advanced photographers, we’ll include the use of shapes, tropes, and negative space to aid in compelling visual storytelling. This week: A composition primer.

Star Trail Processing and Six Tips that will Boost your Night Photography Skills

You're about to become better at post-processing! Raiatea Arcuri, a landscape photographer from Hawaii, has an impressive portfolio. I was pleased to learn that he also shares some of his secrets to processing his landscapes. Arcuri teaches you how to process a stack of images shot at night to create a wonderful star trail nightscape using Lightroom and Photoshop, and I will share some additional tips to help you achieve stunning star trails.

The Real Versus the Beautiful (Part 4): The Future of Photography and the Moral Compass

The previous article about the processed image ended with similar arguments both for and against digital manipulation, and the artist’s disclosure of such actions. But how does the motivation for creating art through both photography and creative editing arise? I’ve gathered a panel of fellow international landscape photographers to expatiate on the power of the processed image. Professional landscape photographers Ryan Dyar, Felipe Gómez, and Simon Roppel are here to help us understand why certain decisions in editing process are made, as well as in the field.