The more I photograph nature, the less I’ve been concerned about sharpness. It’s not out of laziness, but from the realization that relative sharpness is much more important than absolute sharpness.
Absolute sharpness is about making your subject as sharp as possible, within the limits of your camera and lens.
On the other hand, relative sharpness is about making your subject as sharp as possible relative to other elements in that image.
This also applies to depth of field, and in this article when I mention sharpness I also mean depth of field/focus.
For example, here’s a photo with a lot of absolute sharpness:
In photography, we often assign labels to different lenses: wide-angle lenses are for landscapes, long telephotos are for wildlife, etc. Thinking of lenses like this can really limit our creativity and artistic vision. Instead, I think it's better to think of lenses in terms of field of view.
Great overview of how to plan your landscape photos, using different apps and services. I especially like the author's idea of checking public webcams—I do the same thing sometimes to see if there's snow on mountains I'm thinking of visiting.
Focus-stacking is the idea of taking multiple photos (all at different focus points) and then combining them to create one image with sharp focus. It's very useful for macro shots, since you have such a small depth of field up close.
Steve Berardi is a nature photographer, software engineer, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of California. His photographs have been used by Nature Photographer Magazine, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Sierra Club. He’s also written numerous articles for the Digital Photography School and PhotoYou Magazine.
Includes all types of nature photography: landscapes, close-ups, wildlife, and more
Links to the best nature photography tips and tutorials
Reminders about upcoming astronomical events, like super moons and lunar eclipses
Great deals on camera gear and photography ebooks