Exploring the World through Landscape Photography
I once read something in a National Geographic magazine while waiting for a flight to depart, and I can’t recall the issue now because I didn’t bought it. But the following words from Terry Pratchett stuck in mind through the complete flight. It was a natural reflection about how we human beings are in constant need of exploration. And reading that, a tiny need for true curiosity started to sprout in my mind: a curiosity for landscape photography.
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
— Terry Pratchett (The Long Earth)
Now I truly believe that travel and photography are a match made in heaven. Travel shouldn’t be defined simply as a mere physical-displacement or something that could be easily defined just as “tourism”. Travel is the result of our craving as human beings for exploration. And photography makes the whole experience extremely enjoyable. Today I want to share with you some reflections that I’ve been jotting down while wandering the world; especially during long journeys, and the silent nights that only true wilderness can give to us.
No Flashes Whatsoever
Travel photography is generous when it comes to culture and beautiful landscapes. And since the world-exploration bug bit me, I’ve fallen in love with natural light. Shooting landscapes has an obvious detachment from the ugly aid artificial light can give a photographer, but portraits (candid or posed) is a different thing. Natural light has a rich nature that I’m still incapable of defining in words. Hence, natural scene photos have something that makes constantly seek the sublime.
Lately I’ve turned more passionate about landscape rather than taking photographs of people, because there is a slow paced relationship not only with nature but also with light as well. On the other hand, tripods are the best friends for anyone interested in creating landscape pictures.
Avoiding Mind Mining
I don’t know if that is actually a term or something, but I’ll try to explain this one for you better now. We live in a moment of human history in which we can virtually explore the world through the comfort of our homes, specifically, from our crispy LCD screens. When travelling it is common to search for photographs of our destination, and at first, I practiced this a lot myself. With each travel I came to the conclusion that these prior expectations created by browsing certain images had a negative effect on me.
This happened a lot because I was creating certain expectations around some places I was traveling to. The risk of becoming frustrated was intensified due to this practice. Don’t get me wrong, I still watch photographers’ galleries and photography websites from people I feel inspired, but I watch those images with different eyes, without creating expectations. Since I started doing this, I’ve been able to enjoy all my travels like anything before.
Less is More in Landscape Photography
This could sound as a heavily used thing, almost like a cliché, but trust me, less is more. And in more than one approach when doing landscape photography indeed. What I can say about the minimalist approach when taking scenic photographs is that the scouting process is fundamental. Landscapes aren’t waiting for us, we need to go out there and wait for them to unravel before our eyes. Scouting enable us photographers to capture things with the desired natural light and more.
The minimalist approach can also be taken in consideration when packing our gear. Less options forces us photographers to find more creative solutions. So instead of packing all my lenses (like I used to do some years ago), carrying just a few pieces of gear makes the whole landscape photography experience a more pleasant thing to do.
The Documentary Approach
There are some moments of the year that certain landscapes have a particular light due to weather and other influences. And I’ve concluded that this approach is not only for photojournalists. It can also be used by us the landscape photographers that love to travel. There is a high chance that a particular landscape has been photographed more than regularly by many tourists and travelers. So there should be a research process involved in which we can get some pretty valuable information about the places we are willing to capture. We all have the ability of being able to express our feelings through photography if we develop the discipline with passion and love.
Every Culture Deserves Respect
While reaching to my destinations, I’ve always been on the need of making a lot of social interactions. Local people have a different perspective about their own landscapes. Until now I’ve always been given the beautiful gift of seeing places that are almost unreachable for regular tourists. Understanding people’s respect for nature has made me into a more sensitive and thoughtful photographer. If you want to capture the uniqueness of beautiful landscapes, then you should definitely work out your social skills.
Photography has been around my life since a long time now, and it has allowed me to get close to things that nobody else could ever explain to me. In my photography portfolio I share with the world the closest I can get to actually explain what travel means to me. I really hope you can enjoy it as much as I did while traveling these places. With the years I’ve turned simply into a landscape photography addict that chases the magic of natural light.
All these ideas that I’ve mentioned above make a lot of sense for lone travelers, but there is a high chance that not every single one of your travels will be done in a solo mode. Remember to share and enjoy with the friends and family that are travelling with you. After all, travelling sometimes isn’t cheap, and these experiences with your close ones should be cherished as well.
Please enjoy your stay.