Change Your Settings to Totally Transform a Landscape

Sometimes it’s easy to feel trapped in a landscape – you’ve set the narrow aperture, ideal shutter speed, low ISO and more, but for some reason it isn’t quite working.

Fortunately, this short video from photographer Adam Karnacz of First Man Photography shows that, with the press of a few buttons, you can easily suit your settings to the landscape.

Situated amidst the craggy Langdale Pikes of the Lake District, Adam firsts set up his Canon 5D Mark IV at a crystal-clear waterfall, equipped with a circular polariser and 6-stop filter. Transforming the pools of water to silky smooth whilst keeping the clouds sharp, he goes against landscape convention and uses ISO 500. Although this may seem controversial to some, Karnacz gets the most out of the scene and creates a beautiful, eye-catching image.

After a brisk hike to the top of the Pikes, Karnacz digs in at the famous Stickle Tarn, where he starts to get truly creative with his camera settings. For the first, he decides to go handheld with a shutter of 1/125th, F/5.6, and ISO 160. Pivoting on foot, he shoots a panorama before pulling out the tripod.

We then see Karnacz craft a long-exposure of the tarn with his 6-stop filter, before rotating 180˚ to catch an orange sunset grazing the distant hills. Utilising a Canon 70-200mm at maximum focal length, he chooses to opt for the traditional landscape settings, but ensures that it is “still a creative use of settings”.

The video then ends with an inspiring testament to experiment with your camera settings, and how it can maximise your “creative vision” when shooting landscapes – so what are you waiting for?

For more of Karnacz’s work, head over to his YouTube channel, website, and Instagram.

Don’t miss our latest landscape tutorial from Ross Hoddinott on How to Photograph Flowers in a Landscape Scene!


Ed Carr is a Yorkshire-born landscape photographer and nature writer. Having spent his youth in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, he takes any opportunity to don his hiking boots and head out, camera in hand. When not out taking pictures or hastily scribbling down his thoughts, Ed’s halfway up a hill out chasing after his dog, Hendrix.