How to Take Landscape Photographs With a 50mm Lens

Taking landscape photographs  is my absolute PASSION. Every time my boots hit the trail I am in the zone and on a mission. When I set out looking for a landscape, I typically have a location in mind that I will go to over and over until I get a winning photograph. However, when I get to a location I don’t always know what the surroundings will be like. Because of the constant variation that weather can cause, I take a variety of lenses with me. One lens I constantly have in my bag is a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens.

Since most people shoot landscapes with a wide angle lens or a 70-200mm lens, the 50mm lens sounds like an odd choice to always carry. However, don’t be fooled by the masses of landscape lens users. Here’s how you can use the 50mm in your landscape photography:

IMG_0726Detail Shots

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have been out shooting large landscapes and noticed a small natural design that has caught my eye. Actually, my best selling print is a detail shot I took when I was on the banks of a river on a negative ten degree winter morning. When I see potential detail and natural design photographs I am so happy I tote my 50mm lens along for my adventures. The 50mm takes detail photographs with amazing quality. The f/1.8 aperture even makes wildflower photographs look similar to macro photographs.

Night Photography

Night photography is where the 50mm really shines. The low light quality of the 50mm is tremendous. An aperture of f/1.8 like the 50mm has is perfect for letting in more light, and capturing more detail in the stars and in the Milky Way. For the best results, use a 30 second shutter speed, f/1.8, and ISO at 3200. When you are taking photographs at night you are going to have some noise, especially with an ISO of 3200, but if you turn on your camera’s long exposure noise reduction, you will reduce the overall noise in the photograph. To do that on most cameras, look in the extra features menu. Also, do not go over a 30 second shutter speed. 30 seconds is the absolute maximum because it lets in a lot of light before you start to see star trails in the photograph. Also, since the 50mm lens aperture goes so low, you might want to consider removing foreground objects in night photography unless you are going to stack or mask the images together in post processing.

A great time to use a 50mm is when you're in between lenses
A great time to use a 50mm is when you’re in between lenses

The In-Between Landscape

There are times when I try to frame a landscape with my 24mm wide angle lens and there is too much clutter. So, I’ll try to frame the shot with my 70-200mm to see if I can get in tighter, but that’s often too tight! That’s when I’ll take out the 50mm. I’ll use my 50mm especially when I want to capture mountains in fog or other various weather patterns. Having an in between option in lens distance has really come in handy and saved my shoots many times.


If you are a landscape photographer, you should have a 50mm. The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens I use is only about $100 and is compatible with all Canon DSLR models. That is an unbeatable deal for the quality and versatility you get with a 50mm. For more ideas or suggestions for photography gear, head over to my recommended gear page.

What is your favorite lens to shoot with? Share your favorite in the comments section!

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