Landscape Photography is probably the nadir of all photography genres.
For me there is so much that is attractive about the idea of landscape photography, so much romance about landscape photography and I’d really like to be good at it. there is something really cool about being alone in nature, roughing it a bit and capturing natures’ glorious beauty.
The truth of the matter, I think, is that it takes a very particular sort of person to be really good at Landscape Photography – and I am not that sort of person.
When I used to go shoot with my buddy Nick in Sussex, in the UK, he was really good at getting me out to shoot Landscapes. When I say really good, I mean it may have happened five or ten times over the period of a couple of years.
I really like nature, I really like being in nature, and I really like experiencing the subtlety of the changes in the seasons. Unfortunately I think the issue for me, like most of us, is that my attention span is shot to pieces and wandering lonely as a cloud looking for exactly that shot doesn’t provide enough excitement to get me out of the house, or else it would happen more.
When I was in the UK I would get out on my mountain bike every Sunday and do around 20 off-road miles on the South Downs. At a steady 18 miles an hour, and occasionally quite a bit more on the downhills, I really enjoyed being in nature and seeing the change in the seasons. At two or three miles an hour with no exciting downhills I find it way less appealing.
Who does have the right personality for Landscape Photography?
There are a couple of Landscape Photographers that really inspire me. When I say inspire me, I don’t mean inspire me to actually do it, I mainly mean that I enjoy their videos.
The first is Thomas Heaton. Thomas Heaton is probably the best example of how to be a Landscape Photographer in the age of YouTube. As I understand it, before Thomas launched his YouTube channel he was a jobbing photographer, and now he is a full-time Landscape photographer. I don’t know, but I think that Landscape Photography is the least commercially viable of making money in photography – but Thomas Heaton, with his YouTube channel, his prints, his calendars, his courses and, before the lockdowns, photography tours, he seems to be doing ok.
The thing about Thomas Heaton is that he clearly loves being in nature and he seems to be there at least once a week. He seems to be more prolific now but for the longest time each one of his field videos appeared to be about capturing one image. Can you imagine trekking off into the countryside, in the wind, and the rain, for hours, for one image? That’s what I mean about it taking a certain personality, Thomas Heaton has that personality.
Here is a very recent, and very apt video talking about this point exactly. You should subscribe to his channel if you are interested in Landscape Photography.
So there you have it Thomas Heaton spends more than 60 days in the wild to generate nineteen images that are worthy of his portfolio. You have to really like the whole being in nature deal to be happy with that return.
Inspiring Landscape Photographer Number 2.
Inspiring Landscape photographer number 2 in Nick Carver.
Actually I am stretching the definition of Landscape Photography here a little because I am not sure that Nick Carver would describe himself as a landscape photographer. If my definition of what Nick Carver does mattered for a second I would describe it as Americana. He takes himself off into the deserts, he lives in California, and shoots Landscapes but he spends as much time, if not more time, shooting architecture – liquor stores, laundromats and donut stores. That’s how you spell doughnut in California. The reason that I am talking about landscape photography is because I would like to be taking more landscape photographs, and this is where I will put them but out of efficacy and laziness lets just assume that for me landscapes includes landscapes, seascapes and cityscapes – and so we can included Nick Carver cityscapes will include americana architecture.
I don’t know how exciting I am making this sound, its actually really cool – you can check out an example here.
What really interests me about Nick Carver (I want to say inspires but we have established that would result in some action) what interests me is how technical he is in his photography.
Nick Carver shoots almost exclusively on film, which is much more difficult than shooting digital and therefore more difficult that it needs to be, way more difficult that it needs to be. In fact Mick Carver uses a range of cameras that look like they belong in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, adds another layer of complexity and difficulty.
This may be the thing for me about Landscape Photography, that it is slow, and measured, and produces serene, beautiful images and the people doing it will make it more difficult for themselves on purpose in pursuit of a very particular result. I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to make things easier for myself, in fact I think I spend way more time trying to make doing things easier, way more time than I spend doing things.
So this is the thing that amazes me, a little by like stop animation where they might spend days to get a seconds footage – where do they get that patience?
When I think about the different photography genres, and the way I am categorising them on this site. I think about the amount of control you have.
Clearly you have the least control in sports photography, and especially the sports photography that I do – surf photography. The best you can do in surf photography is be ready so that when the wave comes you get the shot just before you get smashed to fuck.
If you are shooting in the street you have a little more, but not much more control. It’s similar to sports photography where you have to hope that you are ready when something good happens.
If you are shooting models in a studio then you have the most control, lighting, poses, makeup – the whole toot – although you do have to deal with moody models.
For me Landscape is somewhere between street and studio. Providing you have the patience you can take all the time you need to research the perfect conditions, scout the perfect location, frame the perfect composition and wait for the perfect light. That’s the thing about Landscape photography – the patience. I would love to have that.
What is your experience of Landscape photography?
I haven’t dome as my Landscape Photography as I would have liked. As I said I used to go out with my buddy Nick, but nothing like enough.
I also travelled to New Zealand. New Zealand is probably one of the three best places to do Landscape Photography – New Zealand, Patagonia, Scotland, Iceland – maybe its in the top four. Certainly is probably the very best place to do Landscape Photography if you are a lazy Landscape Photographer like me, literally stunning Landscapes at right at the side of the road everywhere.
I was there for five months,
Anyway, the plan is to do more, I am in Bali, the landscapes are amazing, I should be out there shooting them. This page and section of the blog is where they will appear.
What are you hoping to achieve with your landscape photography?
What this photography blog is really about is getting my shit together, being more mindful about my photography and addressing my photographic challenges.
The challenge for and landscapes is that I don’t have the patience, I want to develop that patience and get out and do it.
I am hoping, maybe even optimistic that this site will give me the structure and the motivation to overcome that challenges.
Please let me know if you have any feedback or tips for me and my photography blog in the comments. Or you can get in touch if you fancy a chat 🙂
On a mission to become more active and mindful with my photography; to leave the house more often with the intention of taking photographs; to find attractive, interesting and engaging ways to share the images, videos and solutions I discover with others.