Landscape Photography is a flexible genre. You can photograph the land, the sea, rural, urban, wild, tamed, you can shoot wide and you can pick out the detail in what I call ‘micro landscapes’. Many start with a nod to images they have seen, sometimes they look to achieve the same composition, look and feel of a wonderful photograph they have enjoyed. Our exploration is often shackled by the routes prescribed to us. We shoot from laybys, car parks, from public footpaths and View Points.
Photography in these instances tends to be ‘snatched’ shots here and there. These shots often capture the same locations, from similar positions, time and time again. You end up with nothing new. There is nothing wrong with this per se, we’ve all done it from time to time. Time alas, can be a limiting factor and good photographs are sometimes just fractions of a second but they can also take a lot of time in the making.
[pullquote]’You don’t take a photograph, you make it.’ Ansel Adams[/pullquote]
The key though to good Landscape Photography is to immerse yourself within the landscape. Understand the landscape, the relationship between your subject and the light. You should try to head off the beaten track, look for a different vantage point, find a composition that offers something a little bit different. It is on these journeys we find great subject matter.
Also when we journey to a chosen point to ‘take a photograph’ we often ignore all that lies along the route. We forget that the journey is such an important part of the process. Why pass so many great opportunities? Allow time to not only get to a chosen location but allow time to return slowly enough to appreciate things from a different angle on the return leg.
Of course when straying off the beaten track please take care. Check where you are heading, let someone know where you are going and avoid taking unnecessary risks. Also spare a thought for the flora and fauna along your route. Just because you don’t see them it doesn’t mean they are not there. I’ve strayed a few times and I’ve ended up knee deep in bogs or in brambles so dense I wondered if I would ever get out. That said the search is usually fruitful, knowledge is gained and new territory mapped for future reference.
Try not to photograph the fields either side of the road, where possible seek permission and enter the fields. Find a different position from which to survey what lies around with you. Also when the longer, wider view is not always working for you, look closer to home.
Look for detail, look for order, look for chaos and patterns in the ‘micro landscapes’ that lie around your feet and among the hedgerows.