So there are many kinds of photographers in this world. I mean when you really think about it there are a lot of very different kinds of photography, more than I really care to list here today. And if you break it down even further there are different photographers that actually do the same kind of photography. Well, what I mean by that is, you could have a sports photographer that makes a living doing sports photography and another guy who may be just as good or even better at sports photography that does it as a hobby. He may take his hobby very seriously and is an awesome photographer but really keeps it a hobby because he wants to enjoy it and not have the pressure that the pro shooter has. If you are or ever were self-employed you know what I mean. There are no “eight & skate” days, you work to pay the bills and hopefully get a profit. Really self-employed people make profits.”
So with all the different kinds of photography out there if one was to want to take the easy route, just what would that route be? I was talking with a model the other day and she was telling me how hard it is to be a fashion photographer, she has many friends in that line of work. She became a little upset when I questioned her as to what she meant by “hard to be” a fashion photographer. I was assuming at first she was talking about the competition, because to be a pro fashion shooter and stay on top of the game, yes that can be a challenge. But… well you know what happens when you “assume” something. She was referring to the technical aspect. She got very upset when I said that Landscape photography has huge challenges too. She wouldn’t even hear my case and got all pissy and walked away. Now we are friends for a long time and she’ll get over it. But I did say as she walked away if you think Landscape is so easy you’re more than welcome to come along anytime.
So what’s so hard about Landscape? After all your out there wondering to & fro snapping photos of objects that don’t move, right. Well for those who have done it you need not bore yourself and you need not read any further. But for those who care to know a little about Landscape photography here’s the skinny on it. There are two kinds of Landscape photos, there are crappy ones and awesome ones. Yes I will agree there are those average photos but if you are a pro shooter or a hobbyist you want the “awesome” photos, or at least I hope you do. Nobody I know goes out purposely and says “yep I’m headin’ out to shoot some really crappy photography today.” Now with that said there are many times I have come back to my computer, finished the download and just sat there in amazement as the depression slowly fills your soul. You look at the download, you look at the camera, the room is silent, you keep looking at the camera… “thinking maybe if somebody beat me with it I would never touch it again.” I suck at photography… then there are the visions of throwing the monitor out the second story window. Oh it gets real bad for me sometimes. But in the end you delete the photos and if your friends ask you say “ah… I twisted my foot and came back home, didn’t get anything today.” That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
But seriously to get those awesome Landscape shots it involves a few things that are very, very hard to do. Let’s start with the hardest. I’ve heard it many times; I’ve read it countless times. What is it? Get out of bed early. See 99% of awesome Landscape photos are shot in the morning at sunrise and again at sunset. That’s it. Big technical secret, get out of bed early. Well there is a little more to it than that. You have to go to bed early to get out of bed early. Then once out of bed you have to be at said location to get set up and shoot. You have to have your gear packed the night before and you race to the location. Your always racing because who the hell wakes up at 4:00am or worse yet 3:00am to go take a photo. So yeah you’re always running late. But hey here we go; I have been scouting this location for days now. A friend told me about how this valley looks when the sun rises, even seen it myself a few times but didn’t have the photo gear with me. But todays the day, got the gear, hot cup of coffee and there’s a nice thick fog. Fog! WTF! I packed my gear the day before, went to bed early, got up early, drove 1 ½ hours only to find fog so thick you can not see more than a few feet around you. And now you know the joy of the Landscape photographer. Now if it wasn’t fog it could be any number of other disasters, rain, high wind or just a not too interesting sunrise… no clouds. Also know this scenario is not limited to a sunrise over a valley, when you are dealing with nature and humans who knows what calamity awaits you. You get to the location and sometimes the biggest challenge is that there are all these dam people there with cameras and tripods and there all in “my” way. Who the hell do they think they are, they look like a bunch of photographers? Bastards! Get out of my way I’m a photographer. Yeah the plight of the Landscape photographer can be a horrible one at times. Sometimes you want a person in a photo and there is no one to be found, other times there are more people than you can shake a stick at, or throw a stick at for that matter.
So yes if you want an awesome Landscape photo it is not just going to happen. You’ll need lots of luck, that’s right, luck and lots of it. Sure you need to know camera settings and have some good gear. Not too high on the gear for Landscapes just a good tripod, shutter release and maybe a few filters. And you may be asking; so what is an “awesome” landscape photo, what does that mean? Go on www.500px.com and type in sunrise, valley, mountains, sunset and so on… I go to this and many other sites for inspiration all the time. You want to take a good sunset photo, you first need to know “just what does a good sunset photo look like and what does an awesome sunset photo look like. You need to know what your prey is before you can aim at it so to speak.
If you follow my photography you most like know I am not just a “Landscape” photographer. I really consider myself a Lifestyles photographer although I will at times be up at the wee hours of the morning and heading out to parts unknown. And because my catering business keeps me busy in the warmer months most all of my landscape photography is done during the frigid time of year. Like today, sitting at a lake doing long exposure photography. 5 hours along a windy waterfront… yeah I would have rather been shooting a model for sure.