This morning I partook in the 22nd and 23rd shoots of this short month of February, and I’ll be out again at dusk. The weather’s been wonderful for photography this month and I’ve been more motivated than ever to get out and experience the local neighbourhood.
Over the past couple of years I’ve been diving deeper into photography with a view to it becoming my full-time profession. I’ve gone through many phases with it, including a period of such disenchantment last year that I failed to capture a single image for almost six months. I spent way too much time analysing Instagram and fretting about how I could possibly compete with the almost comical competition for ever more exotic shoot locations. Iceland’s saturated, so let’s go the the Faroe Islands, en masse… only to find everyone went there en masse … so now it’s Greenland, or Antarctica, or riding with the Mongolia eagle hunters .. or .. or ….
Don’t get me wrong, I love the compositions of Max Rive, Daniel Kordan et al, and I would love the opportunity to shoot at some of these locations in the future, but do we really need more identikit shots of the Lofoten Islands, or the Northern Lights behind Kirkjufell, or this week’s favourite, The Firefall in Yosemite?
The Holy Grail for landscape photographers is always the light, first & foremost - without that you’ll have your work cut out in any location. Admittedly light alone doesn’t generally make for an interesting photo, but what amazing light does is it changes the shape of the landscape all around us; throw in some atmospheric conditions like mist, fog or storm clouds and even the most mundane landscape becomes transformed into a photographic opportunity. The number one piece of advice I’d give to any aspiring photographer is to simply get out and shoot. Every day if you can. Get to know your local area like the back of your hand and you’ll come to recognise where the best spots are for specific weather conditions. Anywhere can be spectacular, and the more we follow the herd to the same tired & tested locations to be spoon fed the most iconic scenery, the more we move away from the real art of photography - really seeing for ourselves.