• Camera lens. Paul Skorupskas/Unsplash
    Camera lens. Paul Skorupskas/Unsplash

With our Wilderness Photographer of the Year, presented by Mountain Designs well underway we will begin sharing judges' tips ands our latest tips are from Mike Edmondson.

Mike has been a backcountry guide, professional photographer & cross-country ski instructor for over 35 years. Specialising in Kosciuszko NP where he leads photography, snow camping adventures & Australia’s Ten Highest Peaks walks. Mike also has an extensive photographic online gallery.

GRW: How do you get the best photos if you are shooting in the middle of the day?
Mike: When you're shooting landscapes in the middle of the day, pay attention to where the sun is hitting. Adjust your position to avoid harsh shadows and make your photos stand out. If you're near water, use reflections to add interest – they can really enhance your shots. Don't be afraid to capture the strong contrast and bold shapes and try converting to black and white for added impact.

Consider using a polarising filter to reduce glare and boost colours, especially in bright sunlight. Use backlighting to create dramatic silhouettes of trees or mountains. And shooting in RAW format gives you more flexibility in editing, especially for recovering shadow details without losing highlights. Wear a sunhat and have fun!

GRW: What do you need to do to get great photos without a tripod?
Mike: Taking great shots without a tripod is all about working with the light and fine-tuning your camera settings. Adjusting the f-stop and cranking up the ISO can help keep things sharp and clear. If you're willing to splurge a bit, investing in a faster lens could be worth it, even if it adds a bit of weight. And when you're shooting, remember to steady yourself - whether it's by holding your breath or leaning on something nearby like a tree or rock. Oh, and don't forget to play around with different angles and brush up on your hand-holding skills for those standout shots!

GRW: What are you looking for in a great WPOTY photo?
Mike: My first response is the most important thing as I'm looking for the instant wow factor! Without analysing the composition & other variables. Then I come back again after looking at all the other photos in the selection to grade all the others. Then later I reassess my earlier decision with a fresh set of eyes.

Remember the Early Bird entry fee is expiring on June 17. Click here for more info. 

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