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Behind The Shot: Using Composition & Light To Capture A Stunning Landscape

Vince Lim (@vincelimphoto) is a Hawaii-based landscape, travel and lifestyle photographer and member of the Alpha Collective. He was born and raised on the islands and spends most of his time enjoying the beautiful scenery Hawaii has to offer. We came across this breathtaking rainbow landscape he captured and wanted to learn more about the story behind the shot. Keep reading as he shares how he captured it with his Sony Alpha 7R IV and Sony 24-70 f/2.8 G Master II.


Photo by Vince Lim. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II. 1/1000-sec., f/2.8, ISO 100

Travel photographer and Alpha Collective member Vince Lim explains how he took this photo while hiking one of his favorite eastside trails in Ka’a’awa, Hawaii.

When The Scene Lines Up Perfectly

I took this photo while hiking one of my favorite eastside trails in Ka’a’awa. It’s a place that offers great scenery any time of the day, but I love coming here for the morning light. On this day, one of my best friends who is starting photography, wanted to take his new camera out on a hike. The weather was not cooperating and it rained on us much of the way up. As we approached the best part of the hike where the trail points toward Kahana Bay, the sun peeked through the thick rain clouds creating this magical scene. Living in Hawaii, you see a rainbow almost every day so you take them for granted; however, when it lines up perfectly with the shot you are trying to capture, you’ll never forget it.

Go-To Setup For Landscapes (& Just About Everything Else)

My go-to set up is the Sony Alpha 7R IV and the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 G Master II, and this is what I used to take this photo. The Sony 24-70 f/2.8 G Master II is what I use for landscape, portrait, lifestyle and travel photography, and if there is one lens I could only use for the rest of my life, the 24-70mm would be it. The focal range is just so versatile and it does what three or four lenses might do. The Version II of the lens is a lot lighter and more compact so it makes the shooting experience that much better.  For maximum resolution shooting landscapes I use the Alpha 7R IV and it’s perfect for what I photograph in Hawaii.

Using Composition To Capture The Viewer’s Eye

This composition is one I love shooting whenever I am on this trail because visually your eyes go from the curvy trail, to Kahana Bay, then lastly to the beautiful mountain range in the background. I was standing quite far away and knew that I wanted to zoom in a lot for compression. Typically most of my landscape images are taken at f/8 and ISO 100 for reduced noise but for this image I shot at 2.8 to create depth and separation. The scene was bright enough where I could use a fast shutter speed and not have to use a tripod.

A Vibrant Style Of Editing

I did all of my post-processing in Adobe Lightroom and in this instance it was fairly simple because I dialed in on all the settings needed to capture the photo. I start my post-processing by making any changes I need to my white balance and lens profile corrections. From this point I apply a global S-curve adjustment before I start doing the color grading. My style of editing incorporates vibrant colors and a punchy contrast to really emphasize the natural beauty of the Hawaiian landscape. I love using morning and afternoon light to add that natural contrast you would not typically get with midday light. Lastly I do my masking to really bring my photo to life, and in this image I used a brush to dodge and burn particular areas of the photo. After I feel that I have the final edited image, I sync the photo with Lightroom via the Cloud so I can access the image on all my devices wherever I need it.

See more of Vince Lim’s work on his Alpha Universe Profile and on Instagram @vincelimphoto.


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